What is FERPA?

The Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA), enacted in 1974, is a federal law designed to safeguard the privacy of student records. Under FERPA, current and former students have the right to:

  1. Inspect and review their education records.
  2. Seek to have their records amended.
  3. Limit disclosure of information from their records.

Educational institutions that receive funds under any program administered by the U.S. Secretary of Education are required by law to comply with FERPA.

FERPA “Danger Zones” for Faculty (not related to posting of grades):

▪ Circulating a printed class list with student name and Student ID number or grades as an
attendance roster.
▪ Discussing the progress of any student with anyone other than the student without the
consent of the student (e.g. parents, employers, other students).
▪ Providing anyone with lists of students enrolled in your classes for any commercial purpose.
▪ Providing anyone with student schedules or assist anyone other than college employees in
finding a student on campus.
▪ Giving out directory information about a student who has requested confidentiality.
▪ Re-disclosing confidential information to a third party without authorization.
▪ Including personally identifiable information about student “A” in student “B’s” record
without student A’s permission.
▪ Including FERPA protected information in a letter of reference without the student’s written
(this includes the student’s GPA or grade in your class).

“Education records” are records that are directly related to a student and that are maintained by an educational agency or institution or a party acting for or on behalf of the agency or institution. These records include but are not limited to grades, transcripts, class lists, student course schedules, student financial information (at the postsecondary level), and student discipline files. The information may be recorded in any way, including, but not limited to, handwriting, print, computer media, videotape, audiotape, film, microfilm, microfiche, and e-mail.

Designated directory information at Bellevue College includes the following:

Student’s name
Major field of study
Enrollment status
Dates of attendance
Participation in recognized sports
Degree or certificate earned
Term degree or certificate awarded

Students who do not wish to authorize the release of directory information can place a FERPA block on their account. To apply a FERPA restriction students can login to their ctcLink account and select Student Homepage–> Profile–> Privacy Restriction–>Select FERPA Block–> Restrict All.

Consequences of restricting Directory Information include restricting degree and enrollment verification to employers. The name and degree received is also restricted, which indicates the students name could not be published in a program or in a press release without the written consent of the student.

FERPA permits an educational agency or institution to disclose, without consent, personally identifiable information from students’ education records only to school officials within the educational agency or institution that the educational agency or institution has determined to have legitimate educational interests in the information. Generally, a school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill their professional responsibility.

No. Parents and spouses of currently (or formerly) enrolled students do NOT have the right to a student’s education record regardless of their involvement in funding the education of the student or the age of the student.

Inform the parent that you cannot release information about grades or student progress without written consent from the student. Although you may release directory information, you are under no obligation to do so. Additionally, please note that if written consent has been received, information protected by FERPA cannot be released over the phone. If they are persistent, the best approach is for the parent to talk directly with the student.

No. FERPA requires written consent from the student in order to release any information from a student’s educational record. Please contact the Dean of Enrollment Management if you have any questions.

FERPA applies to the disclosure of education records and of personally identifiable information (PII) from education records that are maintained by the school. Therefore, FERPA does not prohibit a school official from releasing information about a student that was obtained through the school official’s personal knowledge or observation, rather than from the student’s education records. For example, if a teacher overhears a student making threatening remarks to other students, FERPA does not protect that information from disclosure. Therefore, a school official may disclose what he or she overheard to appropriate authorities, including disclosing the information to local law enforcement officials, school officials, and parents.

Please contact the registrar and Dean of Enrollment Management, Steve Downing by email or call 425-564-3119.