Office of the Registrar

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)?

Also known as the "Buckley Amendment," FERPA is a federal law enacted in 1974 which affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. Specifically, it affords students the right to: 1. inspect and review their education records, 2. request the amendment of inaccurate or misleading records, 3. consent to disclosure of personally identifiable information contained in their education record and 4. file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Baruch College to comply with this law. Baruch College strives to fully comply with this law by protecting the privacy of student records and judiciously evaluating requests for release of information from those records. FERPA authorizes the release of "Directory Information" without the student's prior consent under certain conditions which are set forth in the Act. Baruch College has defined its "Directory Information" in accordance with the law.

How does FERPA apply to faculty and staff?

FERPA requires faculty and staff to act in a legally specified manner.

What are education records?

Education records are records that are: 1. directly related to a student and 2. maintained by an educational agency or institution or by a party acting for the agency or institution.

What is personally identifiable information? 

Personally identifiable information includes but is not limited to: the student's name; the name of the student's parent or other family member; the address of the student or student's family; a personal identifier, such as the student's social security number or student number; a list of personal characteristics that would make the student's identity easily traceable; or other information that would make the student's identity easily traceable.

How is compliance monitored?

The Family Policy Compliance Office (FPCO) monitors schools for compliance. Students have the right to file complaints with the FPCO alleging failure by Baruch College to comply with the requirements of the Act. Failure to comply may result in a loss of federal funding for financial aid and educational grants and/or civil litigation.

What is "Directory Information?"

Directory information is information contained in an education record of a student which would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. At Baruch College it includes the student's name, attendance dates (periods of enrollment), address, telephone number, date and place of birth, photograph, e-mail address, full- or part-time status, enrollment status (undergraduate, graduate, etc.), level of education (credits) completed, major field of study, degree enrolled for, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, height and weight of athletic team members, previous schools attended, and degrees, honors, and awards received.

Note: Directory information is information that the college may disclose, but it is not required to do so. It is college policy to refrain from actively disclosing addresses, telephone numbers and dates of birth; however we routinely verify this information. Baruch College does not disclose social security numbers, personal identification numbers, grades, grade point averages, class schedules, academic actions, the number of credits enrolled in or earned unless the student has signed a consent form.

Can students control disclosure of "Directory Information?"

Yes, students are notified of their right to control the disclosure of "Directory Information" in the Annual Notification of Rights Under FERPA which is published in the online bulletin. They are required to complete a Request to Prevent Disclosure of Directory Information and submit the form in person at the Registrar's Office with a photo ID. If a student elects to control disclosure, no information will be disclosed on the student, nor will verification of enrollment be given to any callers.

To whose records does FERPA apply?

FERPA applies to the education records of persons who are or have been in attendance, including students in cooperative and correspondence programs.

To what records does FERPA apply?

FERPA applies to all educational records in whatever medium which are: 1. maintained by Baruch College or by a party acting for Baruch College and 2. directly related to a student.

Is prior consent always necessary before releasing information from a student's education record?

Prior consent is not necessary to release or confirm “Directory Information" from a student's education record unless the student has placed a non disclosure request on his/her records. However, all requests of this nature should be referred to the Registrar’s office staff.

Whom should I contact with questions?

Edward Adams, Senior Registrar Phone: (646) 312 1190, e-mail: edward.adams@baruch.cuny.edu

Important Note: The above information is intended to give general information about FERPA and to acquaint faculty and staff with some of the privacy issues surrounding students' educational records. It is not intended as nor is it a substitute for legal advice on any particular issue.