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EIU Office of General Counsel

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) became effective on November 19, 1974. This Act is also known as the Buckley Amendment (20 U.S.C. 1232g). This Act allows students the right to inspect and review their education records. It also allows parents of a dependent student to inspect and review their children's education records. However, the Act prohibits the student from viewing the financial records of his/her parents. All requests to view education records must be completed within 45 days of the initial request. "Directory information" is the only personally identifiable information that the institution may release without the student's permission.

"Student" includes any person with respect to whom an educational agency or institution maintains education records or personally identifiable information, but does not include a person who has not been in attendance at such agency or institution.

A student must provide a signed and dated written consent before an educational agency or institution may disclose any student's education records.

An educational agency or institution must annually notify students in attendance of their rights under FERPA. This notification may be done by including same in student's registration packet, in student handbooks, school newspaper or catalog, or local newspaper.

The educational agency or institution may impose a fee for copies of education records, except to the extent imposing a fee prevents a student from his or her right to inspect and review his/her records.

The Student Right to Know and Campus Security Act amended FERPA by adding a subsection (6) to 20 USC Sec. 1232g(b). Under the subsection, an educational agency or institution does not violate FERPA if it discloses the result of a disciplinary proceeding against the alleged perpetrator to the alleged victim if a "crime of violence" (as defined by 18 USC Sec. 16) is involved. Thus, for a crime of violence generally, disclosure to the victim is permissive but not mandatory. If the crime is a sexual offense, this is governed under the Campus Sexual Assault Victim Bill of Rights Act and the educational agency or institution must provide a clear statement that "both the accuser and the accused shall be informed of the outcome of any campus disciplinary proceeding."

Student Directory Information

Student Directory Information includes name, local and home telephone numbers, local and home addresses, EIU e-mail address, dates of attendance, honors and awards received, degrees earned, majors, minors, concentrations, options, E number and photographs for internal University use, including the University Police Department.

Students who obtain a personal electronic mail account through the University should be aware that their name, student status, and email "address" cannot be withheld from internet access.

Employee Directory Information

Employee Directory Information includes name, department or office, campus address, home address, EIU e-mail address, office telephone number, and home telephone number (unless unlisted).

Right of Refusal

A student has the right to refuse to let the institution designate any or all of the information as directory information. At Eastern a student is required to make a request to withhold directory information each year.

Any educational agency or institution is allowed to publicize directory information with respect to each student attending the institution or agency.

Education Records

The term "education records" means those records, files, documents and other materials which contain information directly related to a student and are maintained by an educational agency or institution or by a person acting for such agency or institution.

FERPA prohibits using any part of the Social Security Number to post grades without the student's voluntary consent

According to the Director of the Family Policy Compliance Office, Federal Department of Education, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) prohibits posting grades by Social Security number or any portion of that number, by student identification number, or by name without the voluntary consent of the student. These types of information are personally identifiable or easily traceable to the student.

In order to have a valid voluntary consent of the student, the student must be given the option of choosing not to have the grade posted, to have the grade posted by a specific identification number known only by the student and the instructor, or to obtain the grade directly from the instructor.

The Director specifically found the use of the last four digits of the Social Security number to be unacceptable. However, FERPA does not preclude the assigning of individual numbers to students for the purpose of posting grades so long as the numbers are known only by the student and the official who assigned them.

Related Pages

Contact Information

General Counsel/FOIA Officer
Austin Hill

Eastern Illinois University
Blair Hall - Room 2102
600 Lincoln Avenue Charleston, IL 61920
(217) 581-7264

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