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Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

Aug. 1, 2012

The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (LINK) (also known as the "Buckley Amendment") was passed in 1974. FERPA's primary purpose is to protect the privacy of students' education records and to provide students several important rights with respect to those records. While FERPA is only one of several federal privacy laws which apply to Baylor University, there is no doubt that FERPA's breadth makes it the most extensive privacy law applicable to Baylor.

Basically, any educational record maintained by Baylor which pertains to a specific Baylor student is covered by FERPA. Accordingly, class schedules, disciplinary files, transcripts and even email maintained by faculty members relating to a student are covered under FERPA. As a general rule, student education records may not be disclosed by Baylor University without a signed written consent from the student. Exceptions to this general rule exist, and permit the University to make disclosures from the records to provide directory information, respond to an emergency, or when legally obligated to do so.

In addition to a student's right to consent to a disclosure of their education records, FERPA provides students with several other rights in their education records. They include: (1) the right to inspect and review their education records; (2) the right to request an amendment to their education records; and (3) the right to file a complaint with the US Department of Education if the student believes their FERPA rights have been violated.