Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

Basics for Students

FERPA General Guidance for Students (U.S. Department of Education)

What is FERPA?

FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) is a Federal law that applies to educational agencies and institutions that receive funding under a program administered by the U.S. Department of Education.

What FERPA rights are given to students?

  • The right to inspect and review their education records within 45 days of the day the college receives the request.
  • The right to request an amendment to the student’s education records that the student believes is inaccurate or misleading.
  • The right to consent to disclosure of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
  • Right to file a complaint with the Department of Education concerning an alleged failure by the institution to comply with the Act.

What are education records under FERPA?

Education records are defined as records that are:

  • Directly related to a student
  • Maintained by the College of Southern Idaho or by a party acting on the behalf of the College.

Records that are NOT education records include:

  • Sole possession records
  • Law enforcement unit records
  • Employment records (with the exception of work study)
  • Medical records
  • Post attendance records

When do my FERPA rights begin at CSI?

A studentís FERPA rights begin when the student registers for classes at CSI, regardless of age.

How does technology impact FERPA?

The same principles of confidentiality that apply to paper records also apply to electronic data. Students, faculty, and staff must abide by the CSI Computer Use Policy. It is very important that students protect the confidentiality of their CSI Student ID number, as well as their usernames and passwords.

  • Students must not share their CSI Student ID numbers with other CSI students, friends, family members, etc.
  • Students must not let anyone borrow their CSI Student ID cards.
  • As soon as students first log in, they should change their default login passwords (e-mail/network and Blackboard) to a secret password that they only know, can easily remember, but others cannot guess.
  • Students must notify the Admissions and Records Office immediately if they suspect unauthorized access to their educational records.

To whom, and under what conditions, can colleges disclose personally identifiable information?

  • Non-directory information may be released to anyone if the college has obtained the prior written consent of the student.
  • Schools may disclose, without consent, directory information. Eligible students may request that the school not disclose directory information about them.
    Directory information is defined as the following:
    • Student’s name
    • Student’s address listings
    • Student’s phone number listings
    • Student’s e-mail address
    • Student’s photograph
    • The most recent previous educational agency or institution attended
    • Enrollment status
    • Full-time/part-time status
    • Dates of attendance
    • Major
    • Freshman/sophomore standing
    • Candidacy for degrees/certificates
    • Degrees conferred and dates
    • Awards and honors received
    • Participation records in officially recognized activities and sports
    • Height and weight of members of athletic teams
  • Generally, schools must have written permission from the eligible student in order to release any information from the student's education record. However, FERPA allows schools to disclose those records, without prior written consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions:
    • The student;
    • Parents of a dependent student (as defined by the Internal Revenue Code and only after appropriate proof is provided to the Records and Admissions Office);
    • Parents/legal guardians of non-dependent students when their children (under 21) are charged with violating alcohol/drug law or College policy;
    • School officials with legitimate educational interest;
    • Other schools to which a student is transferring;
    • Appropriate parties in cases of health and safety emergencies;  
    • When releasing directory information;
    • Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student (financial aid for which the student has applied or received, if the information is necessary to determine eligibility for aid, its amount or conditions, and when the information is necessary to enforce the terms and conditions of the aid);
    • Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes;
    • Appropriate agents acting on behalf of the institution (e.g., Clearinghouses, degree/enrollment verifiers);
    • Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school;
    • To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena;
    • State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific State law;
    • Attorney General of the United States or his designee in response to an ex parte order (one filed without notice to the student) in connection with the investigation or prosecution of terrorism crimes;
    • The Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Military recruiters, the Internal Revenue Service, and authorized representatives of the Department of Veterans Affairs;
    • Appropriate parties when the student has taken an adversarial position against the institution and the student has involved a third party;
    • The alleged victim of any crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense the final results of a disciplinary proceeding conducted by the institution against the alleged perpetrator of that crime, regardless of whether the institution concluded a violation was committed;
    • Anyone - not just the victim - the final results of a disciplinary proceeding, if the College determines that the student is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense, and with respect to the allegation made against him or her, the student has committed a violation of the institution’s rules or policies.

School Official

A school official is a person employed by the College in an administrative, supervisory, counseling, faculty, or support staff position; a person or company with whom the College has contracted as its agent to provide a service instead of using College employees or officials (such as an attorney, auditor, external evaluator, medical service provider, law enforcement or security personnel, or collection agent); a person serving on the CSI Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks.

Legitimate Educational Interest

A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to access/review an education record in order to fulfill his or her responsibilities for the College. Any school official who needs information about a student in the course of performing instructional, supervisory, advisory, or administrative duties for the College has a legitimate educational interest. The information must not be used for personal or other purposes extraneous to the official’s areas of responsibility. Having access to education records does not constitute authority to share this information with anyone who does not have legitimate educational interest.

How can I withhold release of my directory information?

Students may submit a written request to the Admissions and Records Office to prevent the release of directory information.

FERPA Forms

Whom do I contact if I have additional questions and concerns?

Questions concerning FERPA should be referred to the CSI Admissions and Records Office (732-6795).

Eligible students have the right to file a complaint under FERPA with the U.S. Department of Education Family Policy Compliance Office concerning alleged failures by the institution to comply with the Act. Complaints must be sent in writing, with all pertinent information, to the following address:

Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202-5920

For more information, please visit U.S. Department of Education website.

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