FERPA - Educational Privacy Act

FERPA Defined

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) provides current and former students with the right to inspect and review educational records, the right to seek to amend those records, the right to limit disclosure of information from the records and the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education. Applicants or students may also waive their rights to inspect confidential letters or statements of recommendation.

Directory Information

College officials may not disclose personally identifiable information about a student nor permit inspection of their records without the student's written permission unless such action is covered by certain exceptions permitted by FERPA. Under the provisions of the Act, a college may disclose information about a student if it has designated that the information is "Directory Information." SUNY Potsdam has designated the following as Directory Information:

  • student's name  
  • date and place of birth  
  • address  
  • telephone number  
  • email address  
  • previous institution(s) attended  
  • dates of attendance  
  • enrollment status (full/part time)  
  • expected date of graduation  
  • class standing  
  • major field of study  
  • academic honors or awards received  
  • past and present participation in officially recognized sports or activities  
  • physical factors (height, weight of athletes)  
  • degrees conferred (including dates)  

College Official

In accordance with FERPA, the student's consent is not required when a college official has a legitimate educational interest in the student's educational record; that is, if the official needs to review this information in order to fulfill his/her professional responsibility. However, this does not constitute authorization to share that information with a third party without the student's written consent. A "college official" is: a person employed by the College in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including Campus Police and Student Health); a person or company with whom the College has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor or accrediting agent); a person serving on the College Council; or a student serving on an official committee, or assisting another college official in performing his or her tasks.