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Understand How Your Confidentiality Is Protected

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You should become familiar with your right of access to your student educational records and know who can access your educational records and how the institution protects your privacy rights. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), 20 U.S.C. 1232g, 34 C.F.R. § 99.1 et seq. (sometimes referred to as the Buckley Amendment), provides for protection of individual student records. FERPA applies to educational agencies and institutions that receive federal funds (K-12 schools, colleges and universities through graduate school). Congress created three broad categories of rights:

  • Right of access to student's educational records (inspect and review)

  • Right to control disclosure of information from records without prior consent (subject to specific exceptions)

  • Right to challenge and amend inaccurate or misleading information

Only the institution maintaining the records may access them, and the information is available only to those individuals who "need to know." An institution may not release any part of the documentation without the student's informed and written consent. The U. S. Office of Education provides general guidance for students on FERPA at

Excerpted from Virginia's College Guide for Students with Disabilities (2003 Edition).