ERIC Number: EJ792078
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Apr-18
Reference Count: N/A
The Family Rights and Privacy Act: 7 Myths--and the Truth
McDonald, Steven J.
Chronicle of Higher Education, v54 n32 pA53 Apr 2008
An extraordinary amount of the national discussion since the shootings at Virginia Tech a year ago has focused on the role that the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or Ferpa, the federal statute governing the privacy of student records, played in that tragedy. What that discussion has revealed most notably is that, although colleges have been subject to Ferpa for more than 30 years, and although few if any statutes have such wide-reaching, everyday application on the campuses, most of the people still don't know much about it. In a way, Ferpa is the Rodney Dangerfield of statutes: While there is a great deal to it, it just doesn't get much respect. In an effort to bring about greater clarity, the Family Policy Compliance Office, the office within the Education Department that oversees and enforces Ferpa, recently proposed the first major amendments to the regulations since 2000. For the most part, those amendments would simply codify and reinforce existing guidance. In a few circumstances, they would actually expand the already considerable discretion to disclose student records and information. But even those amendments will do no good unless educators begin to pay attention to Ferpa and dispel a number of all-too-common myths about it that continue to get in the way of their doing the right thing for their students. In this article, the author presents those myths.
Descriptors: Student Records, Privacy, Civil Rights, Federal Legislation, Misconceptions, Higher Education
Chronicle of Higher Education. 1255 23rd Street NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 800-728-2803; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://chronicle.com/
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act 1974