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FERPA stands for the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act* (also known as the Buckley Amendment). Passed by Congress in 1974, FERPA is a federal law designed to protect the privacy of educational records, to establish the right of students to inspect and review their educational records, and to provide guidelines for the protection of inaccurate and misleading data through informal and formal hearings. FERPA regulations govern student educational records from the moment they become active students and register for classes at DigiPen and continues even after their graduation or withdrawal from the Institute. The act grants specific rights to the student:

  • The right to inspect and review their education record.

  • The right to seek amendment to those records and in certain cases, append a statement to the record.

  • The right to limit disclosure of personally identifiable information contained in their record.

  • The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education

What Does this Mean?

Such things as progress in a course, deficiencies in a subject area, scores and grades on papers, exams, and similar items are all examples of personally identifiable information that make up part of the student’s educational record.

This information is protected under FERPA and parents may not have access unless the student has provided written authorization that specifically identifies what information may be released to the parent(s) or other third parties. Payment of a student’s tuition by a parent or guardian does not, by itself, give the parent or guardian right of access to a student’s educational records.

A specific subset of FERPA guidelines called Directory Information includes items like name, DigiPen email, dates of attendance, major program of study, and degrees awarded. Within FERPA guidelines, Directory Information may be shared with DigiPen faculty and staff as well as third parties for the purpose of completing daily duties.

Requesting a FERPA Block

A student may, at any time, request for a full FERPA Block. Having a FERPA Block will stop sharing or acknowledgement of any information related to that student to all individuals. This block will remain in place until the student removes it.

It’s important to know the ramifications of a student requesting and receiving a FERPA Block. A few examples include:

  • Not being able to walk at Commencement
  • Not having the student’s name listed within their class
  • Not appearing in any type of video
  • Not appearing in any publication, whether in text or photo
  • Not allowing DigiPen to acknowledge the student’s attendance
  • Not being able to have questions regarding data requests answered
  • Not being able to receive student specific financial help and guidance

Granting Access to a Student’s Information

At the post-secondary level, parents have no inherent right to access or inspect their child’s educational records. This right is limited solely to the student. At DigiPen, records may be released to parents or other individuals only if they have been given Proxy within Colleague Self-Service or in compliance with a parental affidavit. Students may use the Proxy module to allow the sharing of their educational records or to fully block the sharing of their records.

*The full text of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act is available at the U.S. Government Publishing Office’s website.