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The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) is a federal law that protects the privacy of student educational records. The law applies to all schools that receive federal funding under an applicable program of the US Department of Education.

Intent of FERPA

FERPA provides guidelines for using and releasing student education records. FERPA intends that students' rights be broadly defined and applied. Think of the student as the "owner" of their education record and the college as the "custodian" of the education record.

When Do FERPA Rights Begin and End?

A person's FERPA-related education record begins with either of the following:

  • The person turns 18 years old.
  • The person enrolls in a higher education institution at any age.

FERPA rights (and the right to privacy) end at death, unless state law says otherwise.

Basic Rights of Students

Key Terms

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