FERPA: Key Terms



Terms related to FERPA discussions

See also: FERPA Toolkit and FERPA: 20 Tips for Professors

  • Confidential Block/Non-Disclosure - when a student requests (in writing) the blocking of release of all information, including directory information.
  • Directory Information - information available about a student that is not considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed - this is not protected by FERPA and may be disclosed by an institution without consent unless a privacy hold is requested.
  • Education Program - any program principally engaged in the provision of education, including postsecondary education, job training, adult education, and career/technical training.
  • Education Record - virtually any record maintained by an institution that is directly related to a student or students, such as files, documents, or materials regardless of medium.
  • FERPA - Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, a federal law in place to:
    • protect the privacy of education records of students,
    • allow students to view their own educational records, and
    • detail how students can get inaccurate records fixed.
  • Legitimate Educational Interest - any authorized interest or activity undertaken in the name of an institution in relation to education records.
  • Personally Identifiable - information that could be used to identify a student, including things like:
    • student's names (or family members names),
    • personal identifiers,
    • personal characteristics, or
    • anything else that could make it possible to identify a student with relative certainty.
  • School Official - a person employed by the university in an administrative, supervisory, academic/research, or support staff position.
  • Sole Possession - notes made by one person as an individual observation or recollection, and kept in the possession of the maker (not considered an education record).
  • Wiki -a collaborative website where readers can also contribute content.