FERPA Definitions

  1. Who Is Protected under FERPA?
  2. What Rights Does FERPA Give Students?
  3. What Is an Educational Record?
  4. What Is Directory Information?
  5. What Is a Sole Possession Note?
  6. What Is Legitimate Educational Interest?

Who Is Protected under FERPA?

FERPA protects currently or formerly enrolled students, regardless of their age or parental-dependency status. However, FERPA does not protect deceased students or students who have applied to Florida State University but have not attended any classes.

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What Rights Does FERPA Give Students?

FERPA grants four specific rights to students who are eighteen or older or who are currently attending a postsecondary institution. Those rights are:

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What Is an Educational Record?

Any record that is maintained by an institution and that can personally identify a student or group of students is an educational record. Since FERPA is technology independent, these records can consist of any number of media, including but not limited to files, documents, tapes, disks, film, microfilm, and microfiche.

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What Is Directory Information?

Items not considered educational records are not protected under FERPA unless the student has a filled out a "Request to Prevent Release or Publication of Directory Information" form, which places a privacy hold on the student's account. Directory information includes:

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What Is a Sole Possession Note?

Sole possession notes are personal observation- or recollection-notes made and kept by individuals. Sharing these notes with other people or placing these notes in a public-view area makes them educational records subject to FERPA. As a rule of thumb, if you don't want it to become an educational record, don't write it down.

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What Is Legitimate Educational Interest?

A school official is a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position. If a school official requires information located in a student's educational record to fulfill University-related responsibilities, that official has legitimate educational interest.

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