FERPA Tutorial

What is FERPA?

FERPA stands for Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (sometimes called the Buckley Amendment).    Passed by Congress in 1974, the Act grants four specific rights to the student:

  • the right to see the information that the institution is keeping on the student
  • the right to seek amendment to those records and, in certain cases, append a statement to the record
  • the right to consent to disclosure of his/her records
  • the right to file a complaint with the FERPA Office in Washington

What is a Student Educational Record?

  • just about any information provided by a student to the college for use in the educational process is considered a student educational record:
    • personal information
    • enrollment records
    • grades
    • schedules
  • the storage media in which you find this information does not matter. A student educational record may be:
    • a document in the Office of Admissions, Records, and Registration.
    • a computer printout in your office
    • a class list on your desktop
    • a computer display screen
    • notes you have taken during an advisement session

What are the Basic Rules

  • Student educational records are considered confidential and may not be released without the written consent of the student.
  • As a faculty or staff member you have a responsibility to protect educational records in your possession.
  • Some information is considered public (sometimes called "Directory Information").  This info can be released without the student's written permission, unless the student specifically requests otherwise by submitting written notification to the Office of Admissions, Records, and Registration.   Directory Information is: name, address, phone number, major field of study, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, previous institution(s) attended, participation in officially recognized sports and activities, weight and height of members of athletic teams. Even public or directory information is subject to restriction on an individual basis.
  • You have access to information only for legitimate use in completion of your responsibilities as a college employee.  Need to know is the basic principle.
  • Unless your job involves release of information and you have been trained in that function, any request for disclosure of information shouls be referred to the Office of Admissions, Records and Registration at 215-968-8100 or Email us.  The Office of Admissions, Records and Registration is responsible for student record information. WHEN IN DOUBT, DON'T GIVE IT OUT!

Special "Don'ts" for Faculty

To avoid violations of FERPA rules,  DO NOT:

  • at any time use the entire BCCC Identification Number or Social Security Number of a student in a public posting of grades
  • ever link the name of a student with that student's BCCC Identification Number or Social Security Number in any public manner
  • leave graded tests in a stack for students to pick up by sorting through the papers of all students
  • circulate a printed class list with student name and BCCC Identification Number or Social Security Number or grades as an attendance roster.
  • discuss the progress of any student with anyone other than the student (including parents) without the consent of the student
  • provide anyone with lists of students enrolled in your classes for any commercial purpose
  • provide anyone with student schedules or assist anyone other than college employees in finding a student on campus
  • allow any student to view, read, or record another student's identification number while in your workspace


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