FERPA Compliance | Origin: CM141

FERPA prohibits the disclosure of a student’s “protected information” to a third party. For purposes of FERPA, a “third party” includes any individual or organization other than the student or the student’s parent(s).  If an institutioin provides information to a third party, it must ensure that the third party does not improperly disclose information.

This section discusses disclosures of FERPA information and is generally supplied once a year. It also discusses requirements fo Directory Information and the use of Personally Identifible Information (PII, the release and giudelines.


SENSITIVE vs. NON-SENSITIVE info and the importance of informing and getting the consent of the students and a diligent RECORD KEEPING process is at the core of FERPA.  The 5 'Ws' are a great way to remember the policies and guidelines of FERPA and how to follow them.

I would apply as required by the laws. Most if not all educational institutions have annual training in place that all faculties and employees must take and complete in order to be up to date and in compliant with the FERPA laws. 


Reply to Sheila Heinert's post: I agree with you on this, FERPA can be a complicated subject to have total understanding and it is very easy to forget any single element within FERPA laws, so it's always good to go by the book and review FERPA laws periodically or as trining on FERPA offered or mandated by the institution. 

I learned that there are certain instances when an institution may release information without a student's permission, but for the most part, it is done only with the student's permission. Students also have the right to waive the disclosure of Directory information if they so choose.


This module was interesting. The biggest thing I learned that I thought was directly related to me as an instructor, is that if a student opts out of releasing directory information, the institution would have to have the student authorize the use of his/her name is such things as discussion boards or chats. I inever thought about this before. I have to say that I do remember that when completing my undergraduate degree, our grades were usually posted outside of our faculty's office with our student numbers used instead of our names. I do realize now, that this was technically a FERPA violation. This was a very informative module.


I learned what information is consider directory and non directory and what steps has to be followed to release the student's information.


I found it interesting that a student's SSN is considered non directory information and is not considered a violation if released.  At the same time, a parent has to have a consent of release from their student (child) to receive access to their records.


I was suprised to learn that a student ID must be used with something else to verify a student's ID

It is important to know the rules governing what information can and cannot be released.


I am always careful not to release student grades like was done in the past of posting publicly. 

Written releases are essential prior to releasing student information; sudents may opt out of dean 

s list announcements 


I learned the importance of keeping students records confidential, in addition to understanding to whom one may release the records to.  


There are many guidelines put in place to understand what can and cannot be shared about a students infoormation. 

I learned that each institution may have specific considerations when developing policies and procedures related to FERPA and privacy in general. The delivery method (online, classroom), programs of study (medical, legal), additional requirements (labs, externships), student population (dependent, independent) and other factors may come into play.

Reviewing compliance guidlines regularly is vital for keeping your establishment in compliance, Understanding FERPA and maintaining the highest regard for the regulations is best practice. 


FERPA protects students


Institutions have to be careful about what content they release. If the student did not sign a content release form, the college could get in trouble for violating FERPA.

Have better understood FERPA and best practices.