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FERPA Overview

What is FERPA? To what information does it apply?

FERPA is short for the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, a federal law that concerns the release of and access to educational records. This law, also known as the Buckley Amendment, applies to all educational institutions that receive funds under an applicable U.S. Department of Education program. To learn more, visit

FERPA applies to personally identifiable information in students’ educational records. This information includes, but is not limited to, items such as the student's name, names of family members, addresses, personal identifiers such as social security numbers, and personal characteristics or other information that make the identity of students easily traceable.

What are student educational records? What is included?

Educational records are official records that directly relate to a student’s postsecondary education and are maintained by an educational institution or agency.

Educational records do not include:

  • Sole possession records – records used only as a personal memory aid, and are only to the maker of or temporary substitute for the maker of the record.
  • Law enforcement unit records.
  • Employment records that are not contingent upon maintaining a student status.
  • Psychological or medical treatment records maintained by professionals or paraprofessionals (the term “treatment” does not include remedial educational activities or other activities that are part of the program of instruction at the agency or institution).
  • Post-attendance records – records created, received, or updated by the educational institution after the individual is no longer in attendance and are not directly related to the individual’s attendance as a student.
  • Grades on peer-graded papers prior to collection and recording by an instructor.

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What rights are covered under FERPA?

FERPA outlines rights specific to parents and eligible students.*

Parents and eligible students have the right to:

  • inspect and review the student's education records;
  • request amendment of educational records that the parent/eligible student believes to be inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student's privacy rights;
  • consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student's education records, excluding exceptions where the institution is authorized to disclosure without consent; and
  • file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the educational agency or institution to comply with FERPA requirements.

*Upon becoming an eligible student, all rights transfer from the parent(s)/guardian(s) to the student.

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Who are considered parents and eligible students?

Parent – a natural parent, guardian, or individual acting as a parent in the absence of a parent/guardian of a student

Eligible student – a student who has reached 18 years of age or is attending an institution of postsecondary education, regardless of age, and is not claimed by their parent(s) as a dependent for tax purposes.

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What is classified as directory information?

Rollins College classifies the following information as “directory information:”

  • Name
  • Address
  • Telephone number
  • E-mail address
  • Date and place of birth
  • Individually identifiable photographs of the student solicited or maintained directly by Rollins as part of the educational record
  • Enrollment status, full-/part-time classification, and class level
  • College/division, dates of attendance, and class schedule
  • Major and minor field(s) of study
  • Expected and actual graduation date
  • Degrees*, awards, and honors received
  • Official athletic participation and athlete height and weight
  • Name and location of most recent previously attended educational institution

*Note: “Degrees” under FERPA directory information means disclosing the degree program that a student is pursuing – i.e. AB, ABH, BA, MA, etc.; this is not a degree verification. For “degree verifications”, please visit: or contact the Office of the Registrar.

This information is permitted to be disclosed without the student’s consent, provided the student has not restricted the release of this his/her directory information.

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Who has access to student educational records?

Non-directory information may not be released without prior written consent from the student, with exception of:

  • School officials with legitimate educational interest;
  • Other schools to which a student seeks or intends to enroll;
  • Specified officials, such as Federal, State, or local educational authorities, for the purposes of audit or evaluation of supported educational programs, or enforcement of compliance with legal requirements relating to those programs;
  • Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student, such as departments involved in scholarship awarding- for example, academic departments, Advancement, Community Engagement, International Programs, and others;
  • Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school;
  • Accrediting organizations;
  • To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena;
  • Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies;
  • State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific State law;
  • Parents of an "eligible student" to his or her parents if the student is a "dependent student," as defined in Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code. Generally, if either parent has claimed the student as a dependent on the parent's most recent income tax statement, the school may non-consensually disclose the student's education records to both parents;
  • A victim of an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense, subject to the requirements of §99.39. The disclosure may only include the final results of the disciplinary proceeding with respect to that alleged crime or offense, regardless of the finding;
  • The general public, the final results of a disciplinary proceeding, subject to the requirements of §99.39, if the school determines the student is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense and the student has committed a violation of the school’s rules or policies with respect to the allegation made against him or her; and
  • Parents of a student regarding the student’s violation of any Federal, State, or local law, or of any rule or policy of the school, governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance if the school determines the student committed a disciplinary violation and the student is under the age of 21.

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What is legitimate educational interest? Who is deemed to have it?

Legitimate educational interest pertains to the performing of duties related to the furtherance of the student, education, institution, or business. Individuals deemed to have legitimate educational interest may gain access to student educational records. Individuals with legitimate educational interest may include, but are not limited to, appropriate College administrators, faculty and staff members, the Board of Trustees.

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Who should I contact with questions or concerns?

Student records:        

Student financial records:

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Click here to access Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding FERPA.