Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

Rights and Responsibilities

The right to privacy is a major concern for students, faculty and staff. Prospective students at any college or university should be aware of their rights and responsibilities under the FERPA regulation available at

  1. What is FERPA?
    • The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) states what information can and cannot be released to the public by postsecondary education institutions.
  2. Who is covered under FERPA?
    • Under FERPA all "Eligible Students" who are attending a postsecondary education institution are covered. An "Eligible Student" is defined as a student who has reached the age of 18 or is attending an institution of postsecondary education. This would include high school students under the age of 18 who are enrolled in a college-level credit class.
  3. What type of information can be released under FERPA?
    • FERPA authorizes the release of "Directory Information" as defined by the postsecondary institution. PHSC defines "Directory Information" in District Board of Trustees, Rule 6-11(9)(a) as: "the name, major field of study, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, time status (e.g. full time, part time, 3/4 time status), degrees and awards received, and the most recent educational institution attended by the student. In the absence of written notice by a student to withhold any or all information included in the definition of "Directory Information," the College reserves the right to release any of this information as it may consider desirable."
  4. Can nondirectory information be released to a student's parent(s)?
    • Under FERPA, nondirectory information can only be released to "Eligible Students." If "Eligible Students" choose to have information released to their parents or another third party, students must provide written authorizations to the Admissions and Student Records office. Students must specify exactly what information can be released and the name of the person to whom it can be released. A blanket release authorization is not permitted unless it is in the form of a special or general power of attorney. Each time parents or third parties request information, students are required to provide a separate authorization for that release. Students wishing to provide grade history can submit an electronic transcript request to be sent to parents or any third party online via WISE. Students wishing to provide a certification of their enrollment status, etc. can submit an electronic verification request via WISE.