What does FERPA mean?

FERPA stands for the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99). It is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. Education records are those records, files documents, and other materials which 1) contain information directly related to a student; and 2) are maintained by an educational institution. (20 U.S.C. § 1232g(a)(4)(A); 34 CFR § 99.3). FERPA applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.

What does FERPA mean for me, a student?

Generally speaking, FERPA allows the University to disclose education records or personally identifiable information from education records in the following circumstances: with the written 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. Pursuant to WAC 478-140-024(5), directory information at Oregon State University is defined as:

  • Student's name
  • Current mailing address and telephone number
  • Email address (only the ONID address)
  • Campus office address
  • Class standing
  • Month and day (not year) of birth
  • Major field of study
  • Full time or part-time enrollment status
  • Status as a graduate teaching assistant or graduate research assistant
  • Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
  • Dates of attendance
  • Degrees and awards received
  • Dates(s) of degrees(s)
  • Most recent previous educational institution attended by student (includes high school)

FERPA allows the University to release a student's directory information to anyone unless the student informs the Office of the Registrar that he or she does not wish directory information to be released.

NO to Release of Directory Information

A student may request in writing that all of the above directory information be kept confidential. This option may be exercised by filing a written, dated, and signed request at the Registrar's Office any time. The restriction remains in effect until revoked by the student even if the student leaves the university or graduates.

You should be aware that restricting the release of your directory information has other consequences. For instance, a FERPA restriction makes it difficult or impossible for potential employers to verify your enrollment, or to verify the fact that you have earned a degree from the University. For this reason alone, many students choose to remove their FERPA restriction.

Please refer to the Notice to Students Regarding Privacy of Records.

Notification of Students' Rights Under FERPA

FERPA also affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. These rights include:

  1. The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days of the day the University receives a request for access.
  2. The right to provide written consent before the University discloses personally identifiable information from the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
  3. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the University to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA is:

    Family Policy Compliance Office
    U.S. Department of Education
    400 Maryland Avenue, SW
    Washington, DC 20202-5901

For complete information about student rights with regard to FERPA you may visit the U.S. Department of Education Policy Guidance webpage.

Upon request, the University also discloses education records without consent to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll. This disclosure may be made at any point in time, even after the student has enrolled in the new school, if the disclosure is in connection with the student's enrollment in the new school. The University may also update, correct, or explain information it has disclosed to another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.