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 formally restricts the release of all information, including directory information, except to school officials for legitimate educational interests.
- Directory Information - educational record information defined by the institution that may be released to third parties without prior consent, unless a student has opted to restrict such release.
- 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 (PII) - information that could be used to identify a student, including things like:
- student names (or family member names),
- date of birth
- student identification number (W#)
- 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).
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