The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a Federal law (https://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html) 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.
FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children’s education records. These rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level.
Students to whom the rights have transferred are “eligible students.”
Directory information, as defined by FERPA, (https://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/brochures/parents.html) is “information contained in a student’s education record that generally would not be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed.” A school can share this information with anyone without consent if the student has not invoked the right of non-disclosure of directory information.
FERPA allows but does not mandate the release of directory information which includes:
- Current address*
- Dates of attendance
- Degree and date received
- Previous education institutions attended
- Eligibility and participation in officially recognized activities and sports
*Current address and phone number are considered restricted directory information. These items are only released if a legitimate educational interest is established.
Restricting directory information can cause problems for new OCC graduates. If a student’s directory information is restricted, OCC cannot verify the student’s degree, certificate or enrollment to potential employers who request information.
Students can update their directory information consent by submitting a Change of Information form to one of the following:
Attn: Records & Registration
College Drive PO Box 2001
Toms River, NJ 08754
Non-directory information is never released without the student’s official authorization. These items include but are not limited to:
- Enrollment verification
- Grade point average (GPA)
- Academic standing
- Grades or transcripts
In a situation where a student is enrolled in both a high school and at OCC via a Dual Credit or Early College High School Program, the two schools may exchange information on that student. If the student is under 18, the parent/guardian still retains the rights under FERPA at the high school and may inspect and review any records sent by OCC to the high school.