The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

FERPA is the federal law that governs the rights of students and institutional responsibilities with respect to student records. If you have any questions regarding any of the information contained herein, please contact The Office of Enterprise Risk Management, Ethics and Compliance and University Director of Privacy at 973-972-8093 or or visit their website.


What is FERPA?

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, commonly referred to as FERPA or the Buckley amendment, is a federal law designed to protect the privacy of a student’s educational record. FERPA applies to all educational agencies or institutions that receive federal funding for any program administered by the Secretary of Education. FERPA also applies to private entities that contract to perform services for the University that it would otherwise undertake to perform on its own; in such cases, the private entity must observe the same FERPA protections applicable to the University. FERPA grants adult students (18 and older) the following rights:

  • The right to inspect and review their educational records
  • The right to seek the amendment of their educational records
  • The right to consent to the disclosure of their educational records
  • The right to obtain a copy of their school’s Student Records Policy
  • The right to file a complaint with the FERPA Office in Washington, D.C.

FERPA Basics

  • With only a few exceptions, student educational records are considered confidential and may not be released without the written consent of the student.
  • Faculty or staff members have a responsibility to protect educational records in your possession.
  • Faculty or staff members may only access information that is needed for legitimate completion of your responsibilities as a university employee.