The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.

FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children's education records. These rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level. Students to whom the rights have transferred are "eligible students."

  • Parents or eligible students have the right to inspect and review the student's education records maintained by the school. Schools are not required to provide copies of records unless, for reasons such as great distance, it is impossible for parents or eligible students to review the records. Schools may charge a fee for copies.
  • Parents or eligible students have the right to request that a school correct records which they believe to be inaccurate or misleading. If the school decides not to amend the record, the parent or eligible student then has the right to a formal hearing. After the hearing, if the school still decides not to amend the record, the parent or eligible student has the right to place a statement with the record setting forth his or her view about the contested information.
  • Generally, schools must have written permission from the parent or eligible student in order to release any information from a student's education record. However, FERPA allows schools to disclose those records, without consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions (34 CFR § 99.31):
  1. School officials with legitimate educational interest;
  2. Other schools to which a student is transferring;
  3. Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes;
  4. Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student;
  5. Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school;
  6. Accrediting organizations;
  7. To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena;
  8. Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies; and
  9. State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific State law.

Schools may disclose, without consent, "directory" information such as a student's name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors and awards, and dates of attendance. However, schools must tell parents and eligible students about directory information and allow parents and eligible students a reasonable amount of time to request that the school not disclose directory information about them. Schools must notify parents and eligible students annually of their rights under FERPA. The actual means of notification (special letter, inclusion in a PTA bulletin, student handbook, or newspaper article) is left to the discretion of each school.

For additional information or technical assistance, you may call (202) 260-3887 (voice). Individuals who use TDD may call the Federal Information Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339.

Or you may contact Federal authorities at the following address:

Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202-5920

In order to comply with FERPA regulations Cogswell does not release personal identifying information to outside parties without written student consent*.

Exceptions are:

  • Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student;
  • To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena;
  • Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies; and
  • State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific State law.
No other information may be released concerning a student without the written authorization of that student. This is an especially important issue affecting the request and release of a student’s transcript. The Registrar’s Office, the official repository for student records, cannot prepare or release a transcript except by way of a student's signed request. Telephone requests and requests by other family members or friends cannot be honored. This is not just a College policy but a federal legislative provision enacted under FERPA. Contact the College Registrar at 408.541.0100 x110 or registrar@cogswell.edu for additional information. If a student prefers not to have any information about herself/himself released to anyone as stipulated by FERPA, then that student must fill out a non-disclosure form obtained from the Student Records Office or submit a written request. Once filed, a request for non-disclosure remains in effect until the beginning of the next academic year, or a shorter period, if designated by the student. Because it usually proves to the student's advantage to have information available to the public, very few students take this step. For more information on FERPA, please read the FERPA FAQ (frequently asked questions) or visit US Department of Education website.

*Student Consent:

  • A written and signed waiver must be on file in the Registrar’s Office to release any Academic or Financial information to any parent or guardian.
  • A signed by student Release of Student Information from an outside agency.