What is FERPA?
Many schools are now offering virtual classes with students and teachers in different locations, all accessing education records from multiple locations. The education institution remains responsible for ensuring an individual’s data remains protected. This includes ensuring that any vendors utilized (e.g., online education programs, enrollment systems, teleconferencing tools) have the proper security practices in place to protect the education records.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law under the Department of Education that affords parents the right to have access to their children’s education records, the right to seek to have the records amended, and the right to have some control over the disclosure of personally identifiable information from the education records. When a student turns 18 years old, or enters a postsecondary institution at any age, the rights under FERPA transfer from the parents to the student (“eligible student”). FERPA applies to any public or private elementary, secondary, or post-secondary school and any state or local education agency that receives funds under an applicable program of the US Department of Education. Education records are any records that directly relate to the student as maintained by the institution or any third party acting on behalf of the institution. Example of education records include class schedules, health or financial records, transcripts, etc.