Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) Skip Navigation

Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and its implementing regulations, as amended (collectively, FERPA), afford students certain rights with respect to their education records.

These rights are:

1. The right to inspect and review the student's educational records within a reasonable time, not to exceed 45 days, of the day the university receives his/her request for access. Students should submit to the registrar, dean, head of the academic department, or other appropriate official, written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect.

The university official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and the place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the university official to whom the request was submitted, that official should advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.

2. The right to request the amendment of the student's educational records that the student believes to be inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights.  

A student seeking amendment of his/her education record should write the university official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record he/she wants changed, and specify why it is inaccurate, misleading or otherwise in violation of his/her privacy rights.   If the university decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the university will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his/her right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when he/she requests a hearing, or otherwise upon request.   If the hearing results in a final determination not to amend the record, the student is permitted to place a statement with the record commenting on the contested information, stating his/her disagreement with the decision not to amend the record, or both.

Note that this amendment procedure is not available to contest substantive matters accurately reflected in records.  Thus, for example, this procedure may not be used to contest the appropriateness of a grade reflected in a record, but may be used to assert that the grade actually assigned was inaccurately recorded.  

3. The right to consent to disclosure of personally identifiable information contained in the student's educational records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.   Set forth below is information about some of the circumstances in which FERPA authorizes such disclosures.  The university reserves the right to make disclosures of information from education records without a student’s consent in these and other circumstances in which such disclosures are permitted by FERPA. 

One exception which permits disclosures without consent is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the university in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the university has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his/her tasks; or a person volunteering or otherwise performing services for the University.   A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his/her responsibilities to the university.

Another exception permits the University to disclose a student’s education records without consent to officials of another university, college or school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll, or is already enrolled, for purposes of the student’s enrollment or transfer.

Another exception permits the disclosure of “directory information” without a student’s consent
unless the student has followed the steps described below. "Directory information" includes the student's name, class year, address, telephone listing, e-mail address, date and place of birth, enrollment status (e.g., undergraduate or graduate, full-time or part-time), major field of study, identification number, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, photographs or other visual images, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, the most previous educational agency or institution attended by the student, and other information that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed.

A student has the right to withhold the public release of any or all directory information directly pertaining to him/her by giving reasonable advance written notice to the Dean of the College or his/her designee by the end of the second week of classes.

4. The right to file a complaint concerning alleged failures by the university to comply with the requirements of FERPA. 

  • Any questions or concerns pertaining to Colgate's compliance with FERPA should be referred to the Office of the Dean of the College. The Dean of the College or designee will promptly review all such allegations and initiate appropriate actions.
  • In addition, complaints regarding alleged violations by the university of FERPA may be submitted to:

Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Dept. of Education 
400 Maryland Avenue SW
Washington, D.C. 20202-5920 

Please see the Colgate Student Handbook for complete information regarding student rights and responsibilities.