Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) also known as the Buckley amendment, passed by Congress in 1974, grants four specific rights to students:

  • The right to inspect and review their educational records.
  • The right to request the amendment of inaccurate or otherwise inappropriate records.
  • The right to consent to disclosure of his or her public records.
  • The right to file a complaint concerning alleged failure by Montclair State University to comply with the requirements of FERPA with the Family Compliance Office in the United States' Department of Education.

FERPA applies to students attending any educational program at Montclair State University. Students are granted rights under FERPA if they are currently attending or have been in attendance, regardless whether in a credit, no-credit, degree or non-degree credit program. FERPA does not apply to applicants of a school or college at Montclair State University who have been admitted but who have not actually been in attendance.

Education Records

An education record is any information recorded in any form that is directly related to a student and maintained by a college or university and by agents acting directly for the college or university. Records are treated the same no matter what medium is used to store the information. Education records include:

  • Personal information
  • Employment records (where student status is not a prerequisite of employment)
  • Grades
  • Class schedules
  • Printed class lists
  • Graded test papers with personally identifiable information related to the individual student.

Individuals responsible for maintaining records are required to keep a record of all requests for release and disclosure of personally identifiable information from the educational record of the student.  Exception to this regulation includes the request for and disclosure of directory information.

University employees are responsible for protecting the student information in their possession. These are guidelines to follow when acting as a University Official:

Individual directory information may be released without written consent, except when the student has made a request to withhold student information through the Dean of Students Office. It provides only that the information may be released. MSU is not obligated by this law to release directory information to any party other than the student. Directory information includes:

  • Name, Addresses, and Telephone numbers
  • Hometown, state and country
  • E-mail address
  • Major field(s) of study
  • School or College(s) enrolled in
  • Dates of attendance, (including current classification or year)
  • Full-time/part-time status
  • Class year
  • Photographs
  • Degrees and awards received (type of degree and date granted)
  • Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
  • Height and weight of members of athletic teams

Students are entitled to restrict the release of directory information. Requests must be made, in writing, no later than the end of the 2nd week of the semester to the Dean of Students Office, Student Center-Room 400.  A request to restrict directory information will remain in effect until revoked by the student in writing.

University Officials (e.g., Dean of Students, Registrar, and Provost) may release non-directory information to a third party in the case of an emergency or when knowledge of information is necessary to protect the health or safety of students or other persons.

Information cannot be released to third parties outside of the University, including parents of students, without the student's written consent. See the section titled "Parental Rights" for more information.
University Officials may release information without a student's prior written consent to the following groups:

  • Montclair State University faculty and staff with legitimate educational interest.
  • Representatives of agencies or organizations from which the student has received financial aid, including banks and other lending agencies.
  • Officials from other educational institutions in which a student intends to enroll.
  • Individuals or groups specifically exempted from the prior consent requirement.
  • Federal and state officials, organizations conducting studies on behalf of Montclair State University and accrediting organizations.

Adopt the rule "When in Doubt, Don't Give it Out!" If you are unsure who is entitled to access certain student information, or other records questions please contact the Office of the Registrar (973) 655-4376 or the Office of Student Development and Campus Life (973) 655-4311. See:  SDCL FERPA

Approval Processes

Identify the people or person in your department who authorize(s) key advising decisions. Functions such as major change/program change, course permissions, transfer credit analysis, etc., might require departmental signatory authority in order to execute them. Knowing who serves in these decision making roles for your department will allow you to provide the best advising experiences for advisees.