Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)


The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records.  The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.

FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children's education records. These rights transfer to the student when the student reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level. Students to whom the rights have transferred are "eligible students."

An “eligible student”, is defined as anyone attending LeTourneau University, gains these rights on their first day of class attendance, extending until their death.

Education records encompass any identifying records maintained by the institution or its agents, regardless of format (e.g., handwritten, digital, video, audio) and directly related to a student.

FERPA allows the University to disclose education records or personally identifiable information* from education records in the following circumstances:

  • With the written consent of the student
  • If the disclosure is LeTourneau University directory information and the student has not placed a hold on directory information
  • If the disclosure meets the criteria to release student education records without the student’s permission

*Personally identifiable information (PII) is defined as any data of information that makes the student’s identity easily traceable would allow a reasonable person in the community to identify the student with reasonable certainty.

Important Note:  References to parents in the FERPA law typically refer to students who have not yet enrolled in higher education institution or turned 18.  FERPA rights belong to the students at LeTourneau University.

Annual Notification

Students are notified annually of the University’s FERPA policy through the Registration Checklist and the publication of the catalog.

Directory Information

LeTourneau University designates the following items as Directory Information:

  • Student’s name
  • Date and place of birth
  • Home and University address
  • Phone number
  • E-mail address
  • Photograph
  • Major and minor field(s) of studies
  • Dates of attendance at LeTourneau University
  • Grade level
  • Enrollment status
  • Institution(s) previously recently attended.
  • Participation in officially recognized activities and sports.
  • Physical factors (height and/or weight of athletes)
  • Degrees, awards, and honors received

Important note: Recordings of class lecture/discussion in which students are visible are NOT to be shared outside those enrolled in the course.

  • FERPA does not prohibit a professor from making a recording of the lesson available to students enrolled in the course being recorded.

Student Rights Under FERPA

  1. Inspect and Review: students have the right to inspect and review their education records within 45 days of the date the University receives an access request.  Students should submit a written request to the University official that maintains the record that identities the records they wish to inspect.
  2. Request an Amendment: students have the right to request the amendment of student education records that the student believes are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA. This process cannot be used to challenge grades.
  3. Provide Written Consent: Generally, schools must have written permission from the parent or eligible student to release any information from a student's education record. However, FERPA allows schools to disclose those records, without consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions.
    1. School officials* with legitimate educational interest*;
    2. Other schools to which a student is transferring;
    3. Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes;
    4. Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student;
    5. Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school;
    6. Accrediting organizations;
    7. To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena;
    8. Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies; and
    9. State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific State law.
  1. File a Complaint: students have the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the University to comply with the requirements of FERPA.

*School Officials:  persons representing LeTourneau University who act in the student’s educational interest within the limitations of their need to know (legitimate educational interest).

  • Specifically, a school official is a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory academic research or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel, health staff and student staff); any third-party vendor with whom the University has contracted (e.g., National Student Clearinghouse, an attorney, auditor, collection agent); a person serving on the board of trustees; or a student serving on an official committee. A school official may also be a contractor, a consultant, a volunteer or other outside party to whom LeTourneau has outsourced institutional services that it would otherwise use employees to perform.

*Legitimate Educational Interest:  any authorized interest or activity undertaken in the name of the University for which access to an education record is necessary or appropriate to the proper performance of the undertaking.

  • It shall include access by students, instructors, department heads, division heads, deans, the chief academician, research staff, student affairs administrators, legal counsel, financial aid administrators, administrators charged with maintaining education records, the staff and subordinates of the foregoing, and others authorized by the Provost or President, to the extent the foregoing persons are acting within the course and scope of their employment and authority.

school official has a legitimate education interest if the official is:

  1. Performing a task that is specified to his or her position description or by a contractual agreement.
  2. Performing a task related to a student’s education.
  3. Performing a task related to the discipline of a student.
  4. Providing a service or benefit relating to the student or student’s family, such as health care, counseling, job placement, or financial aid.

Release of Records Request

Currently enrolled students can use the FERPA Form on the Registrar website to request release of records.

Student’s Right on Non-disclosure of Directory Information

A student can request in writing, while still enrolled, that LeTourneau University not release directory information about him or her. Requests of non-disclosure will be honored until the student requests its removal in writing. Please see the Registrar Office website for instructions.

Consequences of Restricting Directory Information

Students should understand that restricting the release of their directory information has other consequences. For instance, a FERPA restriction makes it difficult or impossible for potential employers to verify enrollment or degree(s) earned from the University. The University cannot notify hometown newspapers about awards and honors students have received (e.g., Dean’s list). For this reason alone, many students choose to remove their FERPA restriction.


More information about FERPA is available in the "Student Record Information" section of the Academic Catalog and in the "Selected University Policies" section of the Student Handbook.