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The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) is the federal law that governs the rights of students and an institution’s responsibilities with respect to student records. If you have questions regarding the information on this page, please contact us.

What is FERPA?

FERPA applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education. It gives parents certain rights with respect to their children’s education records. When the student reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level, those rights transfer to the student.

What rights does FERPA afford students with respect to their education records?

Under FERPA, students have the right to:

  • Inspect and review their educational records
  • Seek the amendment of their educational records
  • Consent to the disclosure of their educational records
  • Obtain a copy of their school’s Student Records Policy
  • File a complaint with the FERPA Office in Washington, D.C.

What is an Educational Record?

“Educational Records” include any information or data recorded in any medium, including but not limited to, handwriting, print, tapes, film, e-mail, microfilm, and microfiche, that directly relates to a student and is maintained by the University or by a person acting for the University.

Examples of an Educational Record include:

  • Admissions information for students who are accepted and enrolled
  • Biographical information including date and place of birth, gender, nationality, information about race and ethnicity, and identification photographs
  • Grades, test scores, evaluations, courses taken, academic specialization and activities, and official communications regarding a student’s status
  • Course work including papers and exams, class schedules, as well as written, email or recorded communications that are part of the academic process
  • Disciplinary records
  • Students’ financial and financial aid records
  • Internship program records

What is NOT an Educational Record?

  • Law enforcement records, as defined in FERPA
  • Employment records
  • Medical records
  • Post-attendance records
  • Sole possession records (not accessible or revealed to any other person)

When is the student’s written consent not required to disclose information?

  • To University officials (including third parties under contract) with legitimate educational interests
  • To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena
  • To appropriate parties in a health or safety emergency in order to protect the student or others
  • To parents in cases of drug or alcohol violation when the student is under the age of 21
  • To the provider or creator of a record to verify the validity of that record (e.g. in cases of suspected fraud)
  • To organizations conducting research studies on behalf of the University, provided there is written agreement between the University and the research organization
  • To officials at an institution in which the student seeks or intends to enroll or is currently enrolled FERPA allows for disclosure in the above circumstances, but disclosure is not required.

Filing a Complaint

Students have a right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Gallaudet University to comply with the requirements of FERPA.

Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20202-4605

Contact Us

Office of the Registrar

Chapel Hall 101

(202) 250-2446

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