FERPA FAQs

1. What is FERPA?
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, also know as the Buckley Amendment, helps protect the privacy of student records. The Act provides for the right to inspect and review educational records, to seek to amend those records, and to limit disclosure or information from the records. The Act applies to all institutions that are the recipients of federal funding.

2. Who is protected under FERPA?
Students who are currently enrolled or formerly enrolled regardless of their age or parental dependency status. FERPA does not apply to deceased students or persons who have applied but have not attended.

3. What are educational records?
With certain exceptions, an educational record is:
a. any record from which a student can be personally identified, and
b. maintained by Lebanon Valley College or an authorized party.

Educational records include any records in the possession of an employee that are shared with or accessible to another individual. The records may be handwritten, print, magnetic tape, film, diskette, or some other medium. A student has the right to access these records. FERPA does not require that certain records be kept. This is a matter of institutional policy and/or state regulations.

4. What is not included in an educational record?
a. sole possession records or private notes held by educational personnel which are not accessible or released to other personnel
b. law enforcement or campus security records which are solely for law enforcement purposes
c. records relating to individuals who are employed by the institution (unless employment is contingent upon school attendance)
d. records relating to treatment provided by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional and disclosed only to individuals providing treatment
e. records of an institution that contain only information about an individual obtained after that person is no longer a student at that institution (i.e., alumni records).

5. What is directory information?
Institutions may disclose information on a student without violating FERPA if it has designated the information as “directory information.” At Lebanon Valley College, this includes (as defined by the Student Handbook):

a. student name, address, and telephone number
b. photographs
c. major field of study
d. participation in officially recognized activities
e. dates of attendance, degrees, and awards received
f. most recent previous school attended

Students must be notified annually of what constitutes directory information. Students may, if they desire, request that directory information not be released. Such a request must be submitted in writing to the Registrar Office within the first two weeks of each term. 

6. How does a student authorize the release of an academic transcript?
Students must authorize the release of an academic transcript by written request with signature to the Registrar Office. The request may be submitted via mail, fax, or in person. Request forms are available in the Registrar Office and on the campus Website.

7. Who may have access to student information?
a. the student and any outside party who has the student’s written consent
b. school officials who have a “legitimate educational interest”
c. parents of a dependent student as defined by the Internal Revenue Code. Parents of students termed “dependent’ for income tax purposes may have access to the students’ educational records. A copy to the parents’ most recent Federal Income Tax form, indicating that the parents declared the student as a dependent, must be submitted to the Registrar Office to document dependency.
d. a person in response to a lawfully issued subpoena or court order. A reasonable attempt to notify the student must be made prior to complying with the subpoena or order.

8. What is a school official (as defined by the Student Handbook)?
a. a person employed by Lebanon Valley College in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position (including law enforcement and health staff personnel
b. a person elected to the Board of Trustees
c. a person or company employed by or under contract to Lebanon Valley College to perform a special task, such as an attorney or auditor or collection agency
d. or student serving on an official committee such as a disciplinary or grievance committee or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks.

9. What is “legitimate educational interest (as defined by the Student Handbook)?”
A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official is:

a. performing a task that is specified in his or her position description or by a contract agreement
b. performing a task related to a student’s education
c. performing a task related to the discipline of a student
d. providing a service or benefit relating to the student or student’s family, such as advising, job placement, financial aid, or housing assistance

10. When is the student’s consent not required to disclose information?
The exceptions:

a. to school officials with a legitimate educational interest
b. to officials of another school in which the student seeks to enroll
c. to certain federal, state, and local authorities in connection with an audit or evaluation of state or federally supported educational programs
d. to anyone providing financial aid to the student
e. to agents acting on behalf of Lebanon Valley College (clearinghouses, degree/enrollment verifiers)
f. to organizations conducting studies on behalf of Lebanon Valley College
g. to accrediting organizations
h. to parents of a dependent
i. to parents/legal guardians when their children under age 21 have violated the alcohol or drug policies of Lebanon Valley College
j. to comply with a judicial order or subpoena
k. to appropriate parties in a health or safety emergency
l. to the student
m. results of disciplinary hearings to an alleged victim of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense
n. to the Immigration and Naturalization Service for purposes of the Student Exchange Visitor Information System
o. to military recruiters who request “Student Recruiting Information.” Student recruiting information is defined as name, address, telephone listing, age, level of education, and major.
p. to the Internal Revenue Service in compliance with the Taxpayer Relief Act
q. to the Department of Veterans Affairs