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FERPA Training

Welcome to FERPA training. This training information is designed to enhance and reinforce your knowledge regarding the privacy of student information as it relates to FERPA.  As an employee of Austin Peay State University, it is important for you to understand and comply with the law of FERPA.

Once you have reviewed the material below, you are required to complete the FERPA Training Review quiz to indicate you have completed the training.

  • It stands for the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974.
  • It is also known as the Buckley Amendment

“A federal law designed to protect the privacy of education records, to establish the right of students to inspect and review their education records, and to provide guidelines for the correction of inaccurate and misleading data through informal and formal hearings.”

  • It’s the Law.
  • Failure to comply could result in the withholding of Federal Funds, including Student Financial Aid.
  • Lawsuits caused by violations cost time and $$$.

It is the policy of the State Board of Regents and its institutions and schools to comply with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (Buckley Amendment) and, in so doing, to protect the confidentiality of personally identifiable educational records of students and former students. Each faculty and staff member employed by the Board of Regents or its institutions and schools is individually responsible for complying with the Buckley Amendment, and violations may subject the faculty or staff member to disciplinary action.

  • This act is enforced by the Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, DC.
  •  The Family Policy Compliance Office is the office within the Department of Education that administers FERPA and is responsible for providing technical assistance regarding FERPA to educational institutions.

FERPA is applicable to both K-12 and higher education. The Family Compliance Office is responsible for both levels of education.

The main difference in FERPA between these two levels is that the rights ascribed to the “student” at the higher education level are to the parents at the K-12 level. 

FERPA rights are granted to parents until their son/daughter reaches the age of 18 or begins attending an institution of higher education regardless of age. 
FERPA is invoked when a student is considered "in attendance."  A student at APSU is considered "in attendance" on the first day of classes.  FERPA remains invoked, regardless if a student drops out of school, and until the student is deceased.

  • College students must be permitted to inspect their own education records. 

  • School officials may not disclose personally identifiable information about students nor permit inspection of their records without their written permission, unless such action is covered by certain exceptions permitted by the Act.

  • Students who are or have been in attendance at a postsecondary institution are covered under FERPA.

  • Applicants who are denied admission or who never attend are not covered under FERPA.

  • To inspect their education records.

  • To request an amendment to their record and a hearing if the request is for amendment is unsatisfactory.

  • To file a complaint with The U.S. Dept. of Education if they feel their rights are being violated.

  • To expect that their education records are kept confidential except where special provisions are made.

  • To suppress the disclosure of directory information.

  • All records that directly relate to a student and are maintained by an institution.

  • These records can be in any media form: handwritten, print, type, film, electronic, microfiche, etc.

Any personally identifiable piece of information, other than strictly directory information. Items such as those listed below fall into this category.

  • Registration forms

  • Transcripts

  • Student information displayed on a computer screen

  • Grades

  • Student schedules

  • Class assignments

  • Class Rosters

  • Any paper with the student’s SSN/Student ID Number on it

  • Personal Notes – kept by a faculty/staff member if kept in the sole possession of the one who made the record.

    • Personal Notes taken in conjunction with any other person are not sole possession notes.

    • Sharing personal notes with another person or placing them in an area where they can be viewed by others makes them “educational records”.

      • Law Enforcement Unit Records – maintained solely for law enforcement purposes & revealed only to law enforcement agencies.

      • Employment Records – of those whose employment is not contingent upon being a student.

        • Records created as a result of being a student (work study, graduate assistant, etc.) are education records.

      • Medical Records - created by a health care professional used only for the medical/health treatment of the student.

      • Alumni Records - created after student has left the institution.


  • Directory Information.

  • Information that the student has given written consent to release.

  • Information needed by University officials who have a legitimate educational interest.

  • Information needed by certain government agencies.


  • It is information that can be released without the student’s written consent.

  • Each college, to some extent, can determine what information is classified as directory information

Directory Information at APSU includes

  • Name

  • Mailing Address

  • Telephone number

  • Field of study, including majors, minors, certifications, and pre-professional areas of study

  • Classification (e.g. sophomore)

  • Enrollment status (full-time, part-time, or less than part-time)

  • Participation in officially recognized activities and sports, including photographs of athletes

  • Dates of attendance, including matriculation, drop, and withdrawal dates

  • Degrees and certificates received including date awarded

  • Awards received, including deans list, scholastic honors, departmental honors, memberships in national honor societies, athletic letters, and University-funded scholarships (excluding those that are need-based)

  • Previous education institutions attended

  • All non-University contact information provided for purposes of the emergency notification system is not considered directory information. 

  • Cell phone numbers, unless provided as a residence hall, current, or primary/permanent telephone number, are not considered directory information. 

  • APSU does not consider campus email directory information.  This is our official means of communication with student

This form is used for students to grant permission to person(s) (other than self) who are authorized to receive or request non-directory information.

If this form has been completed by the student, it allows the University to disclose non-directory information to those authorized to receive or request information for the student who is enrolled at APSU.


  • Students have the right under the law of FERPA to request that their directory information not be released.

  • Confidentiality Flags also prevent all academic/graduation information from being released to the National Student Clearinghouse for potential employers.

  • To institute a Confidentiality flag, the student must submit a request, in writing, to the Office of the Registrar indicating their directory information not be released.

  • Prevents the University from releasing any information about a student.

  • The University cannot even acknowledge that the person is a student at APSU.

  • Strongly recommend against students obtaining a Confidentiality hold, unless it is absolutely necessary.


University faculty, staff, and other designated officials, who, to carry out their responsibilities, have a legitimate educational interest. 

Designated University official is a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff). Also considered University officials are members of the Tennessee Board of Regents, a person or company with whom the University has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent), temporary employees, student workers, and graduate assistants employed by the University.

  • Perform an administrative task outlined in persons official job duties.

  • Perform a supervisory or instructional task directly related to the student’s education.

  • Perform a service or benefit for the student such as health care, job placement, financial aid, etc.

  • Reviewing a student’s record out of curiosity is not permissible.


  • The individual student

  • Whomever the student authorizes by providing the institution with a written release (release must be written, signed and dated and must specify the records to be disclosed and the identity of the recipient)

  • Any party requesting directory information (unless the student has a Confidentiality hold)

  • University officials of APSU who have a legitimate educational interest

  • Officials of other schools in which a student seeks or intends to enroll or is enrolled

  • Parents if parents claim the student as a dependent for tax purposes. The University will exercise this option only on the condition that evidence of such dependency is furnished to the Office of the Registrar and all requests for disclosures are referred to that office

  • Persons in connection with a health or safety emergency

  • An alleged victim of an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense in connection with a Disciplinary Proceeding

  • Parents regarding alcohol and drug violations of a student under 21 years of age

  • As otherwise provided in 20 U.S.C. 1232g(b) and 34 CFR Sec. 99.31

  • Deceased students are not covered under FERPA


  • Parents may obtain directory information.

  • Parents may obtain non-directory information by obtaining a signed FERPA consent form (discussed earlier) from their child.

  • Access to student information via  computer software does not authorize unrestricted use of that information.

  • Curiosity is not a valid reason to view student information.

  • Records should only be accessed in the context of official business.

  • When in doubt – don’t give it out.

  • Refer requests for student academic information to the Office of the Registrar.

  • Information about a student can be released with a signed FERPA consent form from the student.

  • Information on a computer should be treated with the same confidentiality as a paper copy.

  • Do not leave confidential information displayed on an unattended computer.

  • Cover or put away papers that contain confidential information if you are going to step away from your desk.

Records containing Social Security Numbers or grades should be shredded, not just thrown in the garbage or placed in an unsecured recycling bin.  Records may be disposed of in a secure recycle bin that contents will be destroyed by fire.

  • Post grades by code number known only to the instructor and the student.

  • List grades randomly, not in alphabetical order.

  • If non-directory information is included in a letter of recommendation, you must have a signed consent from the student.

  • The signed consent should include the following:

    • Who has permission to write the letter

    • Where the letter should be sent to

    • What non-directory information should be included


APSU Employee Name



RE:  Letter of Recommendation for Student Name, A Number


I give permission for Dr. Randall Smith to write a letter of recommendation to:

Home Depot

111 Home Depot Street

Springfield, MO  65804


Dr. Smith has my permission to include my grades, GPA, and class rank in this letter.

I waive/do not waive my right to review a copy of this letter at any time in the future.



Student Name (typed)

Student’s Signature

To Avoid FERPA Violations–Please Do Not:

  • Use the SSN/Student ID number to post grades.
  • Leave graded tests in a stack for students to sort through.
  • Circulate a printed class roster with the Student Name and SSN or Student ID (A number).
  • Provide anyone with student schedules.
  • Provide anyone with lists of students enrolled in your classes.
  • Include confidential information (i.e., grades, GPA, number of credit hours) in a recommendation letter without the written consent of the student.

Contact the Office of the Registrar at 931-221-7150 or regisrar@apsu.edu

You are required to complete the FERPA Training Review quiz to indicate you have completed the training. You will be asked to retake the quiz if you score below a 70%.