FERPA - Rights and Privacy Act

FERPA stands for the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. This law protects the privacy of student education records from kindergarten through graduate school. FERPA applies to all schools that receive funds through an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education, and thus most postsecondary schools are covered by FERPA.

Once enrolled at LMU, ownership of the record passes from the parents and/or guardians directly to the student.
  • The security of student records is a concern for the entire LMU Community. Please take the time to acquaint yourself with the role all of us have in understanding the need for and protecting the right of the student to confidentiality of records.
  • FERPA requires that education records be kept confidential. Records may be disclosed with the consent of the student, if the disclosure meets one of the statutory exemptions, or if the disclosure is directory information and the student has not placed a hold on release of directory information. Students have a right of access to their records (but not necessarily the right to a copy of the record) and a right to request the correction of records that are inaccurate or misleading. If the school denies this request for correction of a record, the student may request a hearing. Institutions must give students annual notice of their rights under this law, and most institutions accomplish this by having a published student record policy.
The statute defines the phrase "education record" broadly as "those records, files documents, and other materials which:
  • Contain information directly related to a student
  • Are maintained by an educational institution. Digital records are covered by FERPA.

The following are links to the Department of Education FERPA website. Under all conditions, the official text of FERPA shall prevail.

US Department of Education Student Privacy Website

FERPA Basics


Students and Parents

General Guidance for Students

General Guidance for Parents


  • Under all conditions, the official text of the Act shall prevail.

    The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) protects the privacy of students by limiting third party access to student education records. When a student reaches the age of 18 or begins attending a postsecondary institution, regardless of age, FERPA rights transfer from the parent to the student. Students have a right to know about the purpose, content, and location of information kept as a part of their educational records. They also have a right to expect that information in their educational records will be kept confidential unless they give permission to the school to disclose such information. Therefore, it is important to understand how educational records are defined under FERPA.

    Accordingly, FERPA gives students the following rights regarding their education records:

    • The right to access education records kept by the school
    • The right to amend education records
    • The right to request that education records be disclosed only with student consent (this means that the student "owns" the LMU record in that no one at the University may access or discuss the content of the file with parents, guardians, or third-party providers WITHOUT THE EXPRESS WRITTEN CONSENT of the student)
    • The right to file complaints for unauthorized disclosure of education records

    Download The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act - Guidance for Eligible Students - February 2011 from the Department of Education.

    The right to access education records maintained by the University
    The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days of the date the University receives a request for access. Students should submit to the registrar, dean, head of the academic department, or other appropriate school official, written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The University official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the record(s) may be inspected. If the record(s) are not maintained by the University official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.

    The right to amend education records
    The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes is inaccurate or misleading. Students may ask the University to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. The student should write the University official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record he or she requests to be amended, and specify why the student believes that record is inaccurate or misleading. If the University decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the University will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his or her right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the hearing.

    The right to request education records be disclosed only with student consent
    The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception, which permits disclosure without consent, is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests.

    A school official is a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the University has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities.

    According to FERPA, under what conditions is prior consent not required to disclose information? Information may be released to the following people under the following circumstances:

    • school officials with legitimate educational interest
    • school officials at an institution where the student seeks to enroll
    • parents of students who claim student as dependent for tax purposes
    • health or safety emergencies that require protection of the student or others
    • a court order or subpoena, after reasonable effort has been made to notify the student
    • the Secretary of the Department of Education
    • the Office of the Comptroller General
    • the Attorney General’s Office of the United States
    • state and local education authorities as part of an audit or program review
    • research firms working for the educational institution

    Students may grant permission to the University to release academic, financial aid and student financial account information to parents, guardians, or third parties by submitting a signed and dated Authorization to Release Student Records.

    FERPA also permits disclosure of directory information without consent unless the student has filed a Non-disclosure of Directory Info.

    Directory information at LMU includes:

    • Name
    • Address(es)
    • Telephone numbers
    • E-mail address(es)
    • Date and place of birth
    • Major field of study
    • Enrollment status (Enrolled/Not Enrolled)
    • Participation in officially recognized activities
    • Dates of attendance
    • Anticipated degree and degree date
    • Degrees, honors, and awards received
    • Most recent educational institutions attended
    • Weight and height of members of athletic teams
    • Photograph
    • A student’s personal identifier used by the student for purposes of accessing or communicating in electronic systems

    The following items are not considered educational records under FERPA:

    • Employment records if employment is not contingent on student status
    • Records maintained by Public Safety
    • Records maintained by the Health Center
    • Alumni records
    • Faculty notes, data compilation, and administrative records kept exclusively by the maker of the records that are not accessible or revealed to anyone else

    The right to file complaints for unauthorized disclosure of education records
    A student has right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by LMU to comply with the requirements of FERPA.

    Such complaints may be addressed to:

    Family Policy Compliance Office
    U.S. Department of Education
    400 Maryland Avenue SW
    Washington, DC 20202-4605