FERPA - Directory Information

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) 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.

WPI’s Policy on FERPA

It is important to note that Worcester Polytechnic Institute gives parents of financially dependent students, as defined in Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code, full access to their dependents' educational records.  Access includes parents' receiving copies of their dependents' grade reports each semester from the Office of the Registrar. Worcester Polytechnic Institute presumes that its undergraduate students are financially dependent on their parents unless a parent or student informs us otherwise.  If the student is financially independent, the student must notify the Registrar of his or her independent financial status by using the financially Independent Student form, which is available in our office for your convenience. 

Also note that FERPA generally permits institutions to disclose certain information on a student designated as “directory information”.  Please be advised at WPI, the following information regarding a student is designated as “Directory Information”: 

  • Full Name
  • Year
  • Major
  • Advisor
  • Home address
  • Local address
  • Campus mailbox 
  • E-mail address
  • Local phone
  • Photograph  
  • Date and place of birth
  • Dates of attendance
  • Degrees and awards received
  • Most recent or previous educational agency or institution

Annual Notification of Rights Under FERPA

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records.  These rights include:

  1. The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days of the day the University receives a request for access.
    1. A student should submit a written request that identifies the record(s) they wish to inspect to the Registrar.  The Registrar will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected within 10 business days.  If the records are not maintained by the University official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
  2. The right to request an amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA.
    1. A student who wishes to ask the University to amend a record should write the University official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it should be changed.  If the University decides not to amend the record as requested, the University will notify the student in writing of the decision and the student’s right to a hearing re­garding the request for amendment.  Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
  3. The right to provide written consent before the University discloses personally identifiable information from the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without con­sent.
    1. The University discloses education records without a student’s prior written consent under the FERPA exception for 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 as its agent to provide a service instead of using University employees or officials (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance com­mittee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks.
    2. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an educa­tion record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities for the University.
  4. 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.  The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA is:

Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC  20202-5901


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