The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) helps protect the privacy of student education records. The act provides for the right to inspect and review education records, the right to seek to amend those records, and the right to limit disclosure of information from the records. The intent of the legislation is to protect the rights of students and to ensure the privacy and accuracy of education records.
Rights Afforded to Students by FERPA with Respect to their Educational Records
- The right to inspect and review their education records within 45 days of the day that Andover Newton receives a request for access. Students may request to see their records at any time after enrollment by going to the Registrar’s Office and filling out a request form. They will then be given an appointment to inspect the records.
- The right to request an amendment to the student’s education records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading. A student who wishes to challenge or amend the contents of his or her educational record may do so as long as the request does not entail questioning substantive judgments, such as grades, that are correctly recorded. Students who wish to request a change to their records should do so in writing to the registrar. Under federal regulation, Andover Newton has the right to approve or deny challenge requests. If Andover Newton agrees with the student’s request, the appropriate records will be amended. If Andover Newton denies the request, the student has the right to a formal hearing on the matter. If such a hearing results in further denial of the request, the student has the right to place with the educational record a statement that comments on the information in the record or that sets forth any reason for disagreeing with the decision of the hearing.
- The right to block disclosure of directory information, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. See FAQ for a listing of items that Andover Newton defines as directory information, and for instructions for invoking a FERPA block.
- The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures of Andover Newton to comply with the requirements of FERPA.
Complaints regarding alleged violation of rights of students under FERPA may be submitted in writing within 180 days to the Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, DC 20202-4605.
Legitimate Educational Interest
It is important to note that FERPA allows for the release of both directory and non-directory student information to school officials who have a legitimate educational interest in the information, without obtaining the student’s consent.
A school official is a person employed by Andover Newton in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position; a person or company with whom Andover Newton has contracted; or a student serving on an official committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. The determination of whether an official has a legitimate educational interest will focus on whether disclosure of the information is appropriate for the effective functioning of the person’s office, their position or the school.