What is FERPA?

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.

Essentially, FERPA states that:

  • Students at postsecondary institutions must be permitted to inspect and review their education records.
  • School officials may not disclose personally identifiable information from a student’s education record, without written permission, unless such a disclosure is permitted by one of the FERPA signed-consent exceptions.
  • Institutions are responsible for ensuring that all of its school officials comply with FERPA.

Student Rights Under FERPA

Students have the right to:

  • Inspect and review their educational records maintained by the school.
  • Request that a school correct records which they believe to be inaccurate or misleading.
  • Limit disclosure of their records.  We must have written permission from the eligible student in order to release any information from the student’s educational record that is not directory information (personally identifiable information).
  • File complaints under FERPA with the U.S. Department of Education Family Policy Compliance Office concerning alleged failures by the institution to comply with the Act.


Enrolled Student

  • All enrolled students at College of Western Idaho (CWI) in any program are protected under FERPA.  Rights begin when a student registers for any class, regardless of age.

Education records are defined as records that are:

  • Directly related to a student
  • Maintained by CWI or by a party acting on the behalf of the College.

Records that are NOT education records include:

  • Sole possession records
  • Law enforcement unit records
  • Employment records (with the exception of work study)
  • Medical records
  • Post attendance records


“Directory Information” is information that, if disclosed, is not normally considered a violation of a student's privacy and, therefore, can be released without the student's written permission.

Students may submit the Request for Directory Hold form to One Stop Student Services to prevent the release of directory information.

Information that may be released at CWI without written consent:

  • Student’s name
  • Student’s address listings
  • Student’s phone number listings
  • Student’s e-mail address
  • Student’s photograph
  • The most recent previous educational agency or institution attended
  • Enrollment status
  • Full-time/part-time attendance
  • Dates of attendance
  • Major
  • Freshman/sophomore standing
  • Candidacy for degrees/certificates
  • Degrees conferred and dates
  • Awards and honors received

Information that cannot be released (written consent is required):

  • Social Security Number
  • Student’s date of birth
  • Class schedule
  • Academic standing (probation or suspension)
  • Grade point average/grades
  • Transcript
  • Parent’s address
  • Gender
  • Exact number of enrolled credits
  • Nationality/country
  • Student disability status
  • ANY information which is NOT directory information