Student Handbook and FERPA

A Quick Reference Guide to Understanding and Applying FERPA

What is FERPA?

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is designed to protect the privacy of students' education records and personally identifiable information. This federal law spells out the rights of students and the responsibilities of educational institutions.The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) prohibits an educational institution from releasing confidential, non-directory information about a student without the student's consent. A student can authorize access for parents, guardians, or other family members by completing the Notice of Educational Records and Directory Information Disclosure (PDF) and submitting it to the Office of Academic Records. The authorization remains in effect until the student revokes the authorization in writing. A student has the ability to grant access to specific types of information. There are four types of educational information that students can grant access to: Academic Information, Financial Aid Information, Student Accounts Information, and Disciplinary Information.

What rights do students have under FERPA?

  • The right to inspect and review their education records within 45 days of their request
  • The right to request an amendment to their education records
  • The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in their education records
  • The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures to comply with FERPA
  • What is directory information?

The College may disclose the following information on a student without violating FERPA if the student has not completed the Directory Information Disclosure form.

  • Student Name
  • Address (local & home)
  • Telephone number
  • Electronic mail address
  • Photograph
  • Date and place of birth
  • Major field of study
  • Grade Level
  • Enrollment status (e.g. undergraduate, graduate, full-time, part-time)
  • Dates of attendance
  • Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
  • Position, weight, and height of athletes
  • Degrees, honors, and awards received
  • Most resent educational agency or institution attended
  • What is the purpose of directory information disclosure and what does it mean?

Students have the right to restrict disclosure of directory information with personally identifiable information. Restricted records cannot be released without the written permission of the student. This permission must be signed and dated, specify the records to be disclosed, state the purpose of the disclosure, and identify the party or parties to whom the disclosure may be made.

There are exceptions to the consent to disclosure requirement.

What are educational records?

An educational record is any record that is directly related to a student and maintained by the college. A student has the right of access to these records.

Educational records include any records in whatever medium (handwritten, email, print, magnetic tape, film, diskette, etc.) that is in the possession of any college official.

Letters of Recommendation

Statements made by a person making a recommendation that are made from that person's own observation or knowledge do not require a written release from the student who is the subject of the recommendation. However, if personally identifiable information obtained from a student's education record is included in a letter of recommendation (grades, GPA, etc.), the writer is required to obtain a signed release from the student which:

  • specifies the records that may be disclosed
  • states the purpose of the disclosure
  • identifies the party or class of parties to whom the disclosure can be made

Since the letter of recommendation would be part of the student's education record, the student has the right to read it – unless he/she has waived that right of access. If the student sends a formal request form, the form is accepted as expressed consent.

Annual Notification

Current Student are notified of thier FERPA right by the Office of Academic Records the third week of September by email and the publication of the student handbook.

What happens if non-compliance occurs?

  • The student has the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C.
  • This complaint may result in the loss of federal funding for financial aid and educational grants for Coker College and the filing of civil litigation.
  • Action to terminate funding is generally taken only if compliance cannot be secured by voluntary means.

Family Policy Compliance Office

U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202

Additional Sources for FERPA

  • Call 843-857-4299 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for FERPA assistance.

FERPA Regulations 2015-16

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Contact Information

Office of Admissions (Graduate)

Ben Beetch
Manager of Graduate Enrollment & Marketing Strategies
Phone: 843.857.4226
Phone (Toll Free): 1.800.950.1908

Office of Financial Aid
Phone: 843.383.8055
Phone (Toll Free): 1.800.950.1908
Fax: 843.383.8056

Financial Aid Staff

Coker College
300 East College Ave.
Hartsville, SC 29550