Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act - FERPA

  • Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act -Training and Information

    U.S. Department of Education FERPA Online Training

    This online training course was developed by the Privacy Technical Assistance Center of the U.S. Department of Education as an introduction to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and its requirements relating to the privacy and security of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) in student records. This course addresses FERPA basics, explores requirements for the protection of student records for Colleges, Universities and other postsecondary institutions, addresses who may and may not access student records, when those records may be shared, and discusses several of the applicable exceptions to the FERPA requirement for consent.

    Manhattan College is legally and ethically obligated to protect the confidentiality of student records. To be granted access to student records, you must complete this training and share the certificate with your supervisor.

    What should I expect to gain from this tutorial?

    Knowledge of laws and policies governing acceptable use and release of student records.
    An understanding of your responsibilities in complying with these laws and policies.
    An understanding of how to protect a student's right to privacy.
    Begin training for FERPA 101: FOR COLLEGES & UNIVERSITIES


    The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. They are:

    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. Students should submit to the registrar written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The College Registrar will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.
    2. The right to request the amendment of the student's education records that the student believes is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student's privacy rights. Students may ask the College to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the institution decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the College 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 the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
    3. 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. There are several exceptions to releasing information without a student’s written approval. A College official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an educational record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility; other schools to which a student is transferring, specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes; appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student; organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school; accrediting organizations; to comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena; appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies; and state and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific State law. Manhattan College has designated the National Student Clearinghouse as a College official.
    4. The right of nondisclosure of designated directory information. Manhattan College has designated the following items as directory information that may be released to the public without the student's consent: student’s name, address, telephone numbers, e-mail address, current major program, number of credit hours enrolled, grade level, degrees, honors and awards received, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, photographs, participation in clubs and activities, weight and height of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, date and place of birth, degrees and awards received from the institution the most recent previous educational agency or institution attended by the student; and expected graduation date.
    5. The College uses extreme discretion in releasing any student information to an outside source. While MC is legally entitled to release Directory Information, it generally does not disclose more than deemed necessary. The College uses extreme discretion in releasing any student information to an outside source. While MC is legally entitled to release Directory Information, it generally does not disclose more than deemed necessary. The following items are defined as Personally Identifiable Information and can never be disclosed by the College. The student’s name; the name of the student’s parent or other family member; the address of the student or student’s family; a personal identifier, such as the student’s social security number of student ID number; a list of personal characteristics that would make the student’s identity easily traceable; or other information that would make the student’s identity easily traceable.

    You have the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Manhattan College to comply with the requirements of FERPA at: Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education 600 Independence Avenue, S.W. Washington, D.C. 20202-4605.

  • Disclosure of Directory Information

    Manhattan College has defined directory information to include the following: student’s name, address, telephone numbers, e-mail address, current major program, number of credit hours enrolled, grade level, degrees, honors and awards received, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, photographs, participation in clubs and activities, weight and height of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, date and place of birth, degrees and awards received from the institution the most recent previous educational agency or institution attended by the student; and expected graduation date.

    Directory information may be released when a student completes the FERPA Block form on their self-service account located in the lower left side of their Student Profile.

    Students can assign a PROXY to access their student records.  More information is found under the Banner Self-Service Proxy page.

    Students may withhold directory information at any time by completing the Directory Information Withhold/Release Form. Students should be aware that, for those who have requested that directory information be withheld, the College would be unable to verify degree, major or enrollment for purposes such as employment, credit applications, insurance, loans, leases, etc. Therefore, students about to graduate may want to consider releasing their disclosure hold once they leave the College.


    What is FERPA?
    A federal law designed to protect the privacy of education records, to establish the right of students to inspect and review their education records, and to provide guidelines for the correction of inaccurate and misleading data through informal and formal hearings.

    The Basics of FERPA

    • College students must be permitted to inspect their own education records. 
    • School officials may not disclose personally identifiable information about students nor permit inspection of their records without written consent unless such action is covered by certain exceptions permitted by the law.
    • School officials may have access to a student’s education records only if they have legitimate educational interest, i.e., according to what they need to perform their job responsibilities.

    What are a student's rights?

    • To inspect and review their education records.
    • To request to amend their education records.
    • To limit disclosure of directory (public) information.
    • To file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning an alleged failure by the institution to comply with FERPA.

    Who is a student?
    Any individual who is officially registered and has attended a Manhattan College class, regardless of their age or the class location, or who has been officially registered and attended in the past, and about whom the college maintains education records.

    Who is not a student?
    A person who has applied for admission but has never been in attendance at the college.

    How can I block the release of my directory information?
    A current student has a right to block the release of his or her directory information by completing a Directory Information Withhold/Release Form.form. However, doing so can have negative consequences you should be aware of:

    • When inquiries about your enrollment are received, Manhattan College employees will not acknowledge that you’ve ever enrolled at Manhattan College.
    • Enrollment verifications for insurance companies and prospective landlords will be returned without the information they need.
    • Prospective employers attempting to verify your degree, diploma or certificate with the National Student Clearinghouse will be denied that information.
    • Manhattan College cannot assume responsibility to contact you for subsequent permission to release the information and assumes no liability for honoring your request that directory information be restricted.
    • Even though you may have placed a directory block, Manhattan College has the right to share your education records with school officials who have a legitimate educational interest.

    What responsibility do I have to protect my own records?
    Students play an important role in maintaining the privacy and confidentiality of their education records and are encouraged to take the following steps to ensure safety and security:

    • Never share your JasperNet ID number or password.
    • Be careful about sharing private information via wireless technology (cell phones, WiFi, etc.).
    • Take caution in the use of Web sites, electronic communication and social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and don't reveal information that compromises privacy.
    • Learn about safe computing and protecting privacy.

    Who does FERPA allow access to records without written consent?
    FERPA allows the people from the following list to access student records without written consent:

    • Manhattan College school officials (e.g., faculty and staff) with a legitimate educational interest.
    • Those requesting directory information that has not been restricted by student request.
    • Officials at another college where the student intends to enroll or is already enrolled so long as it is for purposes related to the student’s enrollment or transfer.
    • Entities performing duties on behalf of the college. 
    • Representatives of agencies or organizations from which the student has received financial aid.
    • Other schools to which the student is transferring or has enrolled.
    • Federal and state officials, and accrediting organizations, including military recruiters under the Solomon Amendment.
    • Requests when there is an articulable and significant threat to the health and safety of the student or other individuals.
    • Requests in accordance with a lawfully issued subpoena or court order.

    What role do I play in the rights of other students?
    Manhattan College expects that students will respect the rights of faculty and other students who participate in the educational process. These guidelines will help ensure the privacy of other students:

    • When emailing groups of students, always put their email addresses in the bcc: (blind copy) area, NOT in the To: area, so their addresses are not shown in the email when it’s received.
    • Don't post personal information about other students on Web sites or share personal information about them via email.
    • FERPA requires that students not reveal any information about classmates, course work content, or its authors to anyone outside of the class.

    What does the Solomon Amendment require?
    Per the Solomon Amendment, institutions of higher education are required to provide "student recruiting information" for all students who are at least seventeen (17) years of age and enrolled for at least one credit hour at their institution to military recruiters. Please note that the Solomon Amendment supersedes FERPA and even if a college has a policy of not releasing directory information it must comply with requests for student recruiting information.

    • Student recruiting information includes: name, address, telephone number, date of birth, program of study, class level, degrees awarded.
    • Information released is limited to the current semester or previous semester. Any student who has placed a FERPA block on their record will be excluded.

    Who is a school official?
    Manhattan College defines school officials as the following:

    • A person employed by the college.
    • A person or company employed by or under contract to the College to perform a special task on its behalf such as an attorney, auditor or collection agency.
    • A member of the Manhattan College Board of Trustees.
    • A member of an accreditation committee.
    • An employee at a high school where a Manhattan College student is dual enrolled.
    • An employee of a state or federal approving agency.

    What are a parent’s rights under FERPA?
    We recognize that parents provide a great deal of financial and emotional support to their children while they are students at Manhattan College. However, we must balance this recognition with the fact that students have legal rights that must be fully respected. Once your son or daughter attends a college class, you no longer have an automatic right to access his or her education records, no matter the student's age. Instead, the access rights transfer to your son or daughter. We cannot discuss your student's information without the written consent of the student.

    Can I get my son or daughter’s education records since I’m paying the bill?
    FERPA requires the student’s written consent before we can release education records to parents. Your student can log in to Self-Service to complete the FERPA form under the Student Profile.

    Can I call college officials to find out how my son or daughter is doing?
    Your son or daughter has primary responsibility for keeping you informed about his or her progress at Manhattan College. FERPA only allows Manhattan College to relay policy information and general observations that are not part of the recorded education record.

    How can my son or daughter give me permission to speak with Manhattan College about his or her education records?
    The student can complete the FERPA form on their self-service account under the Student Profile.

    What if my son or daughter is a minor?
    The college’s policy regarding communication with parents applies equally to students who are minors. When a student attends a Manhattan College class, regardless of the student’s age or the class location, rights under FERPA transfer to the student.

    As a parent, will I receive the grades for my son or daughter?
    Grades are not sent to parents. Your son or daughter can show you their grades by logging in to Self-Service.

    How can I find out about my son or daughter's academic progress, account balance, class schedule or academic record?
    The college recommends that you ask your son or daughter about his or her academic progress.

    Where can I obtain an enrollment verification for my insurance company?
    Students can log in to Self-Service for an Enrollment Verification through the Clearinghouse Enrollment Services link. Please be aware that if the student has requested a Directory Information Release Block, the verification cannot be fulfilled.

    What are education records?
    With certain exceptions, education records are all records relating to a student that are maintained by the college. Education records include any record, file, document, email or other material (handwritten, digital, photographic, etc.) which contains information directly related to a student such as a student's academic progress, financial information, medical condition, personal interest item or student worker information.

    What is personally identifiable information?
    Information that would directly identify the student or make the student's identity easily traceable, including, but not limited to:

    • The name of the student, the student's parent or other family members.
    • The student's contact information (address, phone number, email address).
    • A personal identifier such as JasperNet ID number or Social Security Number.
    • Any other personal characteristics that make the student identifiable.

    What is directory information?
    Directory information is data that is generally not considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if released. It may be disclosed to outside organizations without a student's prior written consent unless a student has informed the college that he or she wishes to restrict the release of information. Manhattan College has designated the following items as "Directory Information":

    • Student's name.
    • Degrees, diplomas, certificates earned and awards (e.g., Dean's list).
    • Dates of attendance (e.g., Fall 2010, Fall 2010-Spring 2012).
    • Enrollment status (full-time, part-time, not enrolled).
    • Participation in officially recognized activities.
    • Participation in officially recognized sports.
    • Height and weight of members of athletic teams.
    • Major and hometown (for commencement program only).

    What is legitimate educational interest?
    When a school official is performing a task that is specified in their position description or contract, or when there is a demonstrated "need to know" by those school officials who act in the student's educational interest.