Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

What Does Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Mean?

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a law passed in 1974 which governs the educational records of students. Specifically, it allows parents the right to see their children’s records, and the potential to have those records amended or not disclosed. Students themselves gain those same rights upon turning 18 years old.


FERPA is also known as the Buckley Amendment.

Techopedia Explains Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

FERPA relates to the disclosure of information about some high school or college students. It governs the release of information from that person’s academic record, giving parents an opportunity to appeal aspects of an academic record and limiting how that information can be released to the public.

Aspects of FERPA regulate how and when school officials can release information; for instance, bulletin boards that show grade work may be affected by the law.

FERPA has been relevant in lawsuits; for example, undergraduates might sue a school or institution for releasing information in a way that would harm the student’s future career interests.

In many ways, FERPA relates to education as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) relates to medical data.

Both acts laws restrict the way that people and IT systems can use and distribute information. IT systems in schools and academic institutions must be compliant with FERPA, and to that end, developers and others pay attention to the relevant regulations when designing systems that store or transmit grade information or other academic data.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.