Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

Rights of students under FERPA

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act affords students certain rights with respect to their educational records:

  1. The right to inspect and review the student’s educational records within 45 days of the date the university receives a request for access. Students should submit to the registrar, dean, head of the academic department or other appropriate official written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The university official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the university official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
  2. The right to request the amendment of the education records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading. Students may ask the university to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. They should write the university official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the university decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the university will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of their right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
  3. The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception that permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the university in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the university has contracted (e.g., an attorney, auditor or collection agent); a person serving on the board of visitors; or a student serving on an official committee (e.g., a disciplinary or grievance committee), or assisting another school official in performing their tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill their professional responsibility. Upon request, the university discloses education records without consent to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll; to specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes; to appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student; to accrediting organizations; to comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena; to appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies; and to state and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific state law. Directory information may be released without a student’s prior consent; this information is limited to:
    • Student’s name
    • Date admitted
    • Birthdate
    • Mailing address and telephone number
    • Local address and telephone number
    • University email address
    • Semesters of attendance
    • Major(s)
    • Minor(s)
    • Specialization
    • School
    • Full- or part-time status
    • Classification (freshman, sophomore, etc.)
    • Degree sought
    • Honors and awards
    • Degree(s) and date(s) received
    • Participation in officially recognized intercollegiate sports and weight, height, hometown, parents’ names and previous school(s) attended (for members of athletic teams)
    • Photograph
    • Emergency contact information
    • Student ID (V number)
  4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by VCU to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the office that administers FERPA:

    Family Policy Compliance Office
    S. Department of Education
    400 Maryland Avenue SW
    Washington, D.C. 20202
View text version