What rights do students have under FERPA?
- The right to inspect and review their education records within 45 days of their request
- The right to request an amendment to their education records
- The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in their education records
- The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures to comply with FERPA
What is directory information?
“Directory Information” is information about students that may be disclosed by the Anchorage School District to identify enrollment, publicize student accomplishments and activities, and to assist approved education-related vendors, colleges, and military recruiters. The Release of Student Directory Information form is collected during enrollment each year and provides families the opportunity to grant or deny release of directory information.
The District has identified the following information as directory information. (See School Board Policy 5125.1 for more details)
- Student’s Name
- Grade Level
- Degrees, Honors and Awards
- Telephone Number
- Scholarship Eligibility
- E-mail Address
- Enrollment Status
- Year of Birth
- Name of school most recently attended
- Enrollment Status
- Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
- Dates of Attendance
- Height and weight of members of athletic team members
What is a restricted directory and what does it mean?
On the annual form, families have the right to deny release of directory information without the written consent of the student.
Restricted records cannot be released without the written permission of the student. This permission must be signed and dated by the parent/guardian/eligible student, specify the records to be disclosed, state the purpose of the disclosure, and identify the party or parties to whom the disclosure may be made.
There are exceptions to the consent to disclosure requirement in federal law.
What is personally identifiable information?
Personally identifiable information includes, but is not limited to:
- student name
- name of student's parent or other family member
- address of the student or the student's family
- a personal identifier (SID, SSN)
- biometric record
- other indirect indicators (birth date, place of birth, mother's maiden name)
- other information alone or in combination that would make the student's identity easily traceable
What is FERPA?
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is designed to protect the privacy of students' education records and personally identifiable information. This federal law spells out the rights of students and the responsibilities of educational institutions.
What are education records?
An education record is any record that is directly related to a student and maintained by the District specifically for that student. Education records include any records in whatever medium (handwritten, email, print, magnetic tape, film, diskette, etc.) that is in the possession of any school official.
What aren't education records?
- sole possession records or private notes held by school officials that are not accessible or released to other personnel,
- law enforcement records that are solely for law enforcement purposes and maintained solely by the law enforcement unit,
- records relating solely to an individual's employment by the institution that are not available for any other purpose,
- records relating to treatment provided by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist or other recognized professional or paraprofessional and disclosed only to individuals providing treatment,
- records of an institution that contain only information about an individual obtained after that person is no longer a student, i.e., alumni records,
- grades on peer-graded papers that have not been collected and recorded.
Letters of Recommendation
Statements made by a person making a recommendation that are made from that person's own observation or knowledge do not require a written release from the student who is the subject of the recommendation. However, if personally identifiable information obtained from a student's education record is included in a letter of recommendation (grades, GPA, etc.), the writer is required to obtain a signed release from the parent/guardian/eligible student which:
- specifies the records that may be disclosed,
- states the purpose of the disclosure, and
- identifies the party or class of parties to whom the disclosure can be made.
What happens if non-compliance occurs?
The student has the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C.
This complaint may result in the loss of federal funding for financial aid and educational grants for ASD and the filing of civil litigation.
Action to terminate funding is generally taken only if compliance cannot be secured by voluntary means.