The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), as amended, is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all educational agencies and institutions that receive funds under any program administered by the Department of Education. Additional information can be found by visiting the U.S. Department of Education Family Policy Compliance Office website.
When Do FERPA Rights Begin?
When a student reaches 18 years of age or attends a postsecondary institution, they become an “eligible student,” and all rights under FERPA transfer from the student’s parents/guardians to the student. FERPA regulations define “student” as any individual who is or has been in attendance at an educational agency or institution and regarding whom the agency or institution maintains education records. Attendance begins on the first day of class.
What Rights Do Students Have Under FERPA?
In accordance with regulations issued under FERPA, Coker University provides an Annual Notification of FERPA rights to our enrolled students of their rights under FERPA; as well as an explanation of the exceptions under FERPA that allow the University to disclose information from the student’s education record without consent. Students have the right to:
- Inspect and review their education record within 45 days of the day the University receives a request for access to those records request an amendment to their education record
- Provide written consent before the University discloses personally identifiable information (PII) from the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without student consent
- File a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education Family Policy Compliance Office
What is Directory Information?
The University may disclose directory information without the consent of a student. The primary purpose of disclosing directory information is to allow Coker to include student information in certain publications such as commencement programs, recognition of awards, and athletic associated content. Information that is not specifically stated as directory information is protected. Coker University designates the following information as directory information:
- Student’s name
- Hometown, state, and/or country
- Coker email address
- Major or minor fields of study
- Classification (year of study)
- Eligibility for honor societies
- Date of admission
- Dates of attendance
- Athletic and student organization participation
- Athletic statistics and description, including weight, height, and position
- Enrollment status
- Degrees, awards, and honors received
- Photographic, video graphic, and electronic images
- Student employment (internship and work-study status)
- Relationship to University alumni
Can a Student Restrict the Release of Directory Information?
Students who do not wish to disclose directory information from their education records without prior written consent must submit a request to the Office of the Registrar to have this information withheld. To withhold directory information use the following form:
Students should consider very carefully the effect of a decision to withhold directory information. If that decision is made, any requests for such information will be refused (subject to the exceptions), even for celebratory purposes. Upon receipt, your request to withhold directory information will remain in effect until it is revoked in writing.
How Can a Student Release Non-Directory Information?
Disclosure of a student’s confidential education records requires prior written consent of the student (unless disclosure is permitted under certain exceptions to FERPA set forth in Section 99.31 of the FERPA Regulations). A student’s written consent may be obtained by using the Authorization and Consent to Release Education Records form.
FERPA and Parents/Guardians
When a student reaches 18 years of age or attends a postsecondary institution, they become an “eligible student,” and all rights under FERPA transfer from the student’s parents/guardians to the student. This means that all academic information regarding the student goes directly to the student unless the student has provided written permission to release the information to a specified party.
For additional information please review our full policy.