Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) is a federal law which is designed to protect the privacy of and limit access to the educational records of students. In essence, FERPA is civil rights legislation for college students. FERPA identifies four fundamental rights of students:

  • The right to have access to their educational records;
  • The right, through consent, to specify which third parties may access their records;
  • The right to challenge/correct information in their records; and
  • The right to be informed of their privacy rights.

These rights apply to all students, regardless of their age. Parents, guardians, and other individuals associated with a student do not have access to the student’s educational records, including the student’s financial account with the College. All rights and responsibilities associated with a student’s educational records transfer from the parent or guardian to the student when the student begins attendance at a post-secondary institution (such as SUNY Geneseo), even if the parent or guardian is paying for the student’s education. Therefore, according to federal law, we may not discuss specific aspects of a student’s account with a parent or guardian unless written consent is granted by the student. The Office offers a “Student Consent to Release Financial Information” form, which may be completed and submitted by a student to provide consent. Consent forms are available in the Office of Student Accounts, Erwin 103.