The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) refers to a law that protects the privacy of a student's education records. FERPA is a federal law that applies to any school that receives funds from the United States Department of Education.
Institutions of higher education, as well as companies, oftentimes request copies of official transcripts as part of their application screening or verification processes. This transcript will include a list of the classes taken by the student as well as the grade received in each subject. It will also contain a GPA, which is an average of these grades weighted by the number of credit hours assigned to each course.
Also known as FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 provides parents with certain rights to their child's education records. When the student reaches the age of 18, or attends a school beyond high school, those rights transfer to the student; at that point the student is referred to as an "eligible student." Under FERPA, parents or eligible students have the right to:
FERPA also protects the privacy of a student's academic records by requiring written permission from a parent or the eligible student before releasing this information. However, FERPA does allow schools to disclose this information, without written permission, under the following conditions:
Schools are also permitted to disclose, without consent, directory information; such as:
Schools must inform parents and eligible students about directory information they possess, and allow parents and students a reasonable amount of time to request this information not be disclosed.