Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
What is FERPA?
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, commonly known as FERPA, is a federal law governing the privacy of education records. It grants specific rights to current and former students and sets restrictions on how schools may handle education records. FERPA requires that schools obtain written permission from students before releasing education records. Exceptions to this include emergency situations in which the health and safety of the student is involved, or to provide information to schools to which a Hampshire student is transferring, in certain disciplinary cases, and in other circumstances described in FERPA. In addition, in well-defined circumstances, some information may be released without written permission from the student (please see public information below).
College officials with a legitimate educational interest may also have access to a student's education records without prior consent. The complete policy on privacy of records is contained in the student handbook and a paper copy of the policy is also available upon request.
What is an education record?
The definition of an education record under FERPA is broad. It essentially refers to any record that is directly related to a student and that is kept by the college or someone acting on behalf of the college from which an individual student, or students, can be personally (individually) identified. Records can include: files, documents, and materials in any medium (handwritten, tape, disks, film, microfilm, microfiche, email, etc.)
FERPA gives each student the following rights:
- The right to inspect and review education records the school is keeping on the student.
- The right to seek amendment to those records.
- The right to consent to any disclosure of those records, unless disclosure is permitted under FERPA.
- The right to file a complaint with the FERPA Family Policy Compliance Office in Washington, D.C.
Note: When a student reaches the age of 18 or begins attending a postsecondary institution regardless of age, FERPA rights transfer to the student.
The items below are considered public information and may be released to third parties at the discretion of Hampshire College officials. Currently enrolled students may request that public information be withheld. Since there are important consequences of such a request, students must consult with the director of central records.
- Campus box number and phone
- Campus email address
- ID photo
- Dates of attendance
- Field of concentration
- Name of advisor
- Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
- Dates, titles, and committees of Divisional projects
- Most recent educational institution attended
Release of restricted information
Students complete an annual 'privacy of records' form on TheHub regarding parent or guardian access, which they may change at any time. Ordinarily, students themselves share evaluations and Five College grades with others. In some cases, however, parents, guardians or individuals acting as parents in the absence of a parent or guardian, may request information from advisors, faculty, or staff. Students indicate whether the College may release to these individuals general information on academic progress and financial matters and/or copies of academic contracts, and whether, upon request, the College may send them copies of evaluations. Other third parties may obtain non-public information if the student has granted specific permission to do so.
Privacy rights apply only to currently enrolled students and former students; Hampshire applicants are not covered. These rights pertain to any education records in whatever form maintained by the College.
All faculty and staff are expected to complete a brief (no more than 10-15 minutes) online FERPA training, which includes a 3-minute educational video and short ungraded quiz.
Questions related to FERPA should be directed to the director of central records, 413.559.5421 or firstname.lastname@example.org.