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Guide to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

NCJ Number
Date Published
Michael Medaris
This Fact Sheet explains the provisions and implementation of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which restricts disclosure of information contained in a student’s education records.
Enacted in 1974 and amended seven times since then, FERPA protects the privacy interests of parents and students by restricting the unwarranted disclosure of personally identifiable information from education records. Noncompliance can result in the loss of Federal education funds. FERPA broadly defines an education record as including all records, files, documents, and other materials, such as films, tapes, or photographs that contain information directly related to a student. School officials should consider any personal student information to be an education record unless a statutory exception applies. State law can guide the disclosure of school student records provided that State law specifically authorizes the disclosure; the disclosure is to a State or local juvenile justice system agency; the disclosure is related to the juvenile justice system’s ability to provide preadjudication services to a student; and State or local officials certify in writing that the institution or individual receiving the information has agreed not to disclose it to a third party other than another juvenile justice system agency.
Date Created: July 30, 2014