Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”) is a federal law designed to protect the privacy of a student’s education records, establish a student's right to access and review his or her education records, provide guidelines for the correction of inaccurate and misleading information that may be contained in those education records, and create a right to file complaints about alleged FERPA violations with the Department of Education.

Once a student reaches 18 years of age or attends a postsecondary institution, the rights created by FERPA transfer from the student’s parents to the student. These rights include:

  • The right to have access to and review his or her education records maintained by the postsecondary institution.
  • The right to seek amendment of his or her education records that contain inaccurate and misleading information.
  • The right to limit the disclosure of personally identifiable information in his or her education record.
  • The right to file a complaint about alleged FERPA violations with the Family Policy Compliance Office of the Department of Education.

FERPA protects personally identifiable information in a student’s education records. Education records are defined under FERPA as those records, files, data, video and audio tapes, handwritten notes and other material that contain information that is directly related to a student and maintained by Pace University or a party acting for the University. There are exceptions, however, to the definition of education records. For example, the term education record does not include:

  • Records kept in the sole possession of the maker, used only as a personal memory aid, and are not accessible or revealed to any other person except a temporary substitute for the maker of the records.
  • Records of the Safety and Security Department of the University.
  • Records relating to a student’s employment with the University.
  • Records maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, and other health care professionals in connection with treatment of a student.
  • Records created or received by the University after a student is no longer in attendance and that are not directly related to the student’s attendance at the University.
  • Grades on peer-graded papers before they are collected and recorded by the instructor.

Personally identifiable information includes, but is not limited to:

  • The student’s name.
  • The name of the student’s parents or other family members.
  • The address of the student or the student’s family.
  • The student's social security number or student identification number.
  • Other indirect identifiers, such as the student’s date of birth, place of birth, and mother’s maiden name.
  • Any information that alone, or in combination with other information, is linkable to a specific student that would allow a reasonable person who does not have knowledge of the relevant circumstances to identify the student with reasonable certainty.