FERPA: Glossary of Terms

Disclosure: To permit access to, release, transfer or allow any other type of communication of personally identifiable information contained in education records to any party by any means; including oral, written or electronic communication.

Education Records: All records which contain information directly related to a student; and are maintained by an educational agency or institution or by a party acting for the agency or institution.


  • Education Records Include
    Education Records Do Not Include
  • Graded Papers

    Sole possession (desk drawer) records

  • Exams

    Peer graded papers

  • Transcripts

    Online forums (D2L chats)

  • Class list on your desktop

    Law enforcement unit records

  • Student's current class schedule

    Employment records (unless employment is based on student status)

  • Computer screen displaying student information


  • Database containing uniquely identifiable student record data (SaS Web Studio)


  • Email containing information about a student


Note: This is not an exhaustive list. When in doubt, contact the Office of the Registrar.

Educational Agency: An entity that administers a school or schools to which it is directly linked.

Educational Institution: A school or other entity that provides educational services and is attended by students.

Eligible Student: A student who has attained the age of 18 or has attended an institution of higher education


Legitimate Educational Interest: School officials are granted access to student information only for “legitimate educational interest” -- completion of job responsibilities. Access for any other reason requires a student’s written consent.

Record: Information maintained in any way—including, but not limited to: Audio Tape, Computer Media, Film, Handwriting, Microfilm, Microfiche, Print, Video Tape

Sole Possession Record: Records which are created and maintained by the person generating education records (not in conjunction with the student). These are essentially personal notes or "memory joggers."

School Official: Defined from institution to institution in its annual notification, a school official may be:

  • an employee of a college (administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position)
  • a person elected to the board of trustees
  • a company or person employed/contracted by a college to perform a special task (i.e., attorney, auditor, or collection agency)
  • a person or student serving on an official committee (i.e., disciplinary/grievance, scholarship) or assisting an official in his/her tasks (i.e., work study students)