What is FERPA, Anyway?

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.

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 who the rights have transferred are eligible students. - as taken from the U.S. Department of Education website


At the post-secondary level, FERPA affords the "eligible student" (the person attending classes at the college) certain rights with respect to their education records.  In a nutshell, upon written request, FERPA gives the student:

  1. The right to inspect and review his/her education records within 45 days the college receives a request for access.
  2. The right to an amendment of his/her education records if the student believes the records are misleading.
  3. The right to consent to disclosures of his/her educational records to whomever he/she designates.
  4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning any perceived failures by the college to comply with FERPA standards.

In general, if a student wishes for their parent or guardian to have access to their student records they must complete the Permission to Release Education Record Information form with the Enrollment Services Office.  The college may choose to follow a policy of not disclosing information to the parents of eligible students, but FERPA does not prevent them from doing so in most cases.  The following are examples of information a student may want to share with his/her parents:





Hours Completed
Current academic standing
Advisement records

Financial aid
1098T information
Eligibility status
Award types and amounts

Billing information
Account balance


Certain "directory information" may be disclosed by Southeastern, without the consent of the student, unless the student provides a written request otherwise.  Examples of directory information include, among others:

  • Student's name
  • Student's home address and telephone number
  • Current term hours carried
  • Major field of study
  • Dates of attendance
  • Degrees and honor earned
  • The name of the previous college attended
  • Picture of the student
  • Email address
  • Full-time or part-time status

The college may disclose other, non-directory information on the student to the following parties without written consent from the student under the following conditions, among others:

  • School officials with a legitimate educational interest
  • Other schools to which a student is transferring or has transferred
  • Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes
  • Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student
  • Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school
  • Accrediting agencies
  • To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issue subpoena
  • Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies

You may find the complete description of the FERPA law on file in the Enrollment Services Office of the college or you may click on the link below to be directed to the U.S. Department of Education's website.  If you have questions about your records, you may contact the Enrollment Services Office at 618-252-5400, ext. 4120.