Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) Highlights
There is more to FERPA than photographs and "directory information," but these two areas in particular present practical considerations for campus communications and public information officers.
While FERPA is federal, the State Board governs directory information provided by each college (State Board Policy Manual, Chapter 5).
"Directory Information" includes:
- Student's name
- Major field of study
- Enrollment status
- Dates of attendance
- Participation in recognized sports
- Degree or certificate earned
- Term degree or certificate awarded
Photos aren't included in "directory information"
Since students are protected by FERPA, any photo in which one can clearly recognize a student should not be used without that student's express permission even if the photo was taken in a public place on campus.
A cafeteria scene, graduation, people at a barbecue, and the like would be generally exempt; unless, of course, you can clearly recognize a face.
Any identifying data may not be freely disclosed unless the college completes a formal procedure to revise what is considered directory information.
Err on the side of caution
- It is suggested practice to use a release form for any identifiable student.
- Model photo/video and testimonial release form
Colleges should also be sure to adhere to regulations and exemptions regarding use of name, voice, signature, photograph, or likeness.
- 63.60.010 Property right—Use of name, voice, signature, photograph, or likeness.
- 63.60.020 Definitions.
- 63.60.030 Transfer, assignment, and license.
- 63.60.040 Right is exclusive for individuals and personalities.
- 63.60.050 Infringement of right—Use without consent—Profit or not for profit.
- 63.60.060 Infringement of right—Superior courts—Injunctions—Liability for damages and profits—Impoundment—Destruction—Attorneys' fees.
- 63.60.070 Exemptions from use restrictions—When chapter does not apply.
- 63.60.080 Community property rights.
Effective Oct. 23, 1998, all colleges and universities are required to comply with the final regulations of the Solomon Amendment. Failure to comply may result in the loss of federal funding including various forms of federal student aid.
The Solomon Amendment supersedes FERPA.
Solomon allows U.S. armed forces entities to physically access institutional facilities to recruit students, and to obtain students' names, addresses, phone numbers, age, class, and degree program once every term.
- The Solomon Amendment only applies to currently enrolled students over age 17.
- Veteran status, academic performance, ethnicity, nationality, and gender are specifically excluded under Solomon.
- Information released is limited to the current quarter or the previous quarter. If the request is received between quarters, the requestor must specify previous quarter or upcoming quarter.
- A student may request their directory information be withheld under FERPA, this protection will be honored under Solomon; the student’s records will not be released.
FERPA Regulations and Resources
- Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Regulations (FERPA), U.S. Department of Education
- Part 99 — Family Educational Rights and Privacy (Electronic Code of Federal Regulations): The Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (e-CFR) is an editorial compilation of CFR material and Federal Register amendments, updated on a daily basis by the Office of the Federal Register. It is not an official legal edition of the CFR.
- Student Privacy 101, US Department of Education
- FERPA for Postsecondary School Officials
Protecting Student Privacy
- Topics include: FERPA, data breach, data governance, data sharing, disclosure avoidance, findings letters, legal references, military recruiter, and more.
- Tools: Guidance and best practices, guidance videos, letters, online training modules,
Last Modified: 5/9/23, 12:50 PM