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Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) governs access to and release of information from student academic records. Under the provisions of the Act and College policy, Bergen Community College grants students the right to inspect and review their education records and to request amendment of records that they believe are inaccurate. As a general rule, the contents of students’ educational records will not be released to third parties without the written consent of the student. Once a student reaches 18 years of age or attends a postsecondary institution, he or she becomes an “eligible student” and all rights formerly given to parents under FERPA transfer to the student. The Act specifies a number of exceptions to this rule, the most important of which concerns the concept of “Directory Information.” Although it is not Bergen Community College policy, FERPA allows schools to disclose those records, without consent to the following parties or under the following conditions (34 CFR 99.31):

  • School officials with legitimate educational interest
  • Other schools to which a student is transferring
  • Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes
  • Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student
  • Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school
  • Accrediting organizations
  • To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena
  • Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies
  • State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific state law
  • Schools may disclose, without consent, “directory” information such as a student’s name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors and awards, and dates of attendance. However, schools must tell parents and eligible students about directory information and allow parents and eligible students a reasonable amount of time to request that the school not disclose directory information about them. Schools must notify parents and eligible students annually of their rights under FERPA. The actual means of notification (special letter, inclusion in a student handbook or newspaper article) is left to the discretion of each school

FERPA Waiver Request Form 

For additional information, visit www.ed.gov/ferpa.