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Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

What is FERPA?

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, set forth requirements regarding the privacy of student records. FERPA governs:

  • Release of these records (known as education records) maintained by an educational institution and,
  • Access to these records.

What are their rights?

  • Right to inspect and review their education records.
  • Right to request to amend their education records.
  • Right to limit disclosure of personally identifiable information contained in education records.

What does this mean to me?

  • As a faculty or staff member you have access to information only for legitimate use in the completion of your responsibilities as a college employee. Need-to know is the basic principle.
  • Do not release any information without the consent of the student!
  • You have a responsibility to protect educational records in your possession.
  • Public posting of grades either by student name, ID number or SS number without the students written permission is a violation of FERPA
  • Returning of papers via an "open" distribution system is a violation of FERPA

Student Rights Relating to Educational Records

Students have a right to expect that information in their educational records (including computerized records) will be kept confidential and disclosed only with their permission or as allowed by law.

Some examples:

  • Grades
  • Enrollment records
  • Schedules
  • Class Lists
  • College ID number
  • SSN
  • Student employment and payroll information

Directory Information

FERPA identifies a category of information as "Directory Information," which institutions may usually release without student permission.

Directory Information is defined as that information which would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed.

At its discretion, Colorado College may provide "Directory Information" in accordance with the provisions of FERPA.

Designated "Directory Information" at Colorado College includes the following:

  • Class/level, major/degree program
  • Academic awards and honors
  • Sport team information
  • Greek affiliation
  • Student activities
  • Parent name, addresses, and phone numbers

Disclosures Without Consent

  • To anyone if the college has obtained the prior written consent of the student.
  • To anyone in response to requests for directory information.
  • To authorized representatives of the following governmental entities if the disclosure is in connection with an audit or evaluation of federal or state supported education programs, or for the enforcement of or compliance with federal legal requirements that relate to those programs:
    • Comptroller General of the United States
    • Secretary of Education
    • S. Attorney General (for law enforcement purposes only)
    • State and local educational authorities
  • To school officials determined by the institution to have a legitimate educational interest.
  • To agents working on behalf of the institution (e.g. clearinghouses, degree/enrollment verifiers).
  • To schools at which the student seeks or intends to enroll.
  • To anyone who is providing financial aid to the student. ("financial aid" does not include any payments made by parents)
  • To organizations conducting studies for or on behalf of educational institutions.
  • To accrediting organizations (for accrediting purposes).
  • To parents of dependent student.
  • To parents/legal guardians when their children (under age 21) are found to have violated the alcohol or drug policy of the institution (Warner Amendment).
  • To comply with a judicial order or subpoena.
  • To anyone if a health or safety emergency exists and the information will assist in resolving the emergency.
  • To the student.
  • To an alleged victim of a crime of violence of the results of a disciplinary hearing regarding the alleged perpetrator or that crime with respect to that crime.
  • To anyone requesting the final results of a disciplinary hearing against an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense (Foley Amendment).
  • To the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) for purposes of the Coordinated Interagency Partnership Regulating International Students.
  • To military recruiters who request "Student Recruiting Information" for recruiting purposes only (Solomon Amendment).
  • To the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for purposes of complying with the Taxpayer Relief Act 1997.
  • To authorized representatives of the Department of Veterans Affairs for students receiving educational assistance from the agency.

Some Guidelines for Faculty and Staff


  • Use randomly assigned numbers or codes to display scores or grades.
  • Keep any personal notes relating to individual students separate from education records.
  • Keep only those individual student records necessary for fulfillment of your responsibilities.
  • Refer information requests to the proper educational record custodian. When in doubt contact the Registrar's Office!

Do Not:

  • Use SSN of a student, or any portion thereof, in a public posting of grades or link the name of a student with that student's SSN in any public manner!
  • Leave graded tests in a stack for students to pick up by sorting through the papers of all students.
  • Discuss the progress of any student with anyone (including parents) other than the student without the consent of the student.
  • Provide anyone outside the college with lists of students enrolled in classes.
  • Provide anyone with student schedules or assist anyone other than College employees in finding a student on campus.

For additional information on FERPA and Colorado College's guidelines, see the Academic Policies in the college catalog or website @:

Report an issue - Last updated: 12/17/2020