Student FERPA Rights and Policy

Posted in Student Communications

January 23, 2020

Dear Students,

I write to you today to give you a brief summary of your rights under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the federal law that governs release of and access to student education records.  These rights include:

1. The right to inspect and review your education record within a reasonable time after the University receives a request for access.  If you want to review your record, contact the Office of the Registrar, or the office that maintains the record to make appropriate arrangements.   See the applicable Bulletin for additional information.

2. The right to request an amendment of your education record if you believe it is inaccurate or misleading.  If you feel there is an error in your record, you should submit a statement to the Registrar or the director of the office that maintains the record clearly identifying the part of the record you want changed and why you believe it is inaccurate or misleading.  The various Bulletins outline procedures for the disposition of such requests.

3. The right to consent to disclosure of personally identifiable information contained in your education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.  One exception which permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to school officials with “legitimate educational interests.”  A school official has to fulfill their official responsibilities.  Examples of people who may have access depending on their official duties, and only within the context of those duties, include:  university faculty and staff, agents of the institution, students employed by the institution or who serve on official institutional committees, and representatives of agencies under contract with the University.

4. The right to file a complaint with the US Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the University to comply with the requirements of FERPA.

Georgetown’s policy is not to release student record information without the written consent of the student, however, there are some exceptions. 

For example, directory information includes the following and may be released without the student’s consent:  student name, addresses, including e-mail address, telephone numbers, date and place of birth, parents names, major field of study, dates of attendance, enrollment status, expected date of graduation, degrees and awards received, the most recent previous educational institution attended, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, and weight and height of members of athletic teams. 

Please note that you have the right to withhold the release of directory information.  To do so, you must complete a “Request for Non-Disclosure of Directory Information” form which is available from the Office of the Registrar.  Please note two important details regarding placing a “No Release” or “FERPA Flag” on your record:

  1. The university receives many inquiries for directory information from a variety of sources outside the institution, including friends, parents, relatives, prospective employers, the news media and honor societies.  Having a FERPA Flag on your record will preclude release of such information, even to those people.
  2. A “No Release” flag applies to all elements of directory information on your record.  We do not apply a “No Release” flag differentially to the various directory information data elements.

More details about your rights and the University’s student records policies are available in the various Bulletins which may be accessed through the Registrar’s web site.  Questions concerning FERPA should be referred to the Office of the Registrar. 

Annamarie Bianco
Associate Vice President and University Registrar