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Office of Community and Ethical Standards | Division of Student Affairs | Clemson University


What is FERPA?

FERPA is an acronym for the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (20 U.S.C. 1232g, 34 CFR 99). Congress enacted FERPA, also referred to as the "Buckley Amendment," in 1974. FERPA mandates that schools, including colleges and universities, maintain students' records in a certain way. Students must be allowed to inspect and review their education records and request the amendment of records that are inaccurate or misleading. Schools are also restricted from disclosing student records except in limited circumstances which will be described later.

Who is Protected Under FERPA?

The rights under FERPA apply to eligible students. An eligible student is an individual who is, or has been, in attendance at Clemson University. FERPA rights begin on the first day of class in the academic term for which the student is accepted. Applicants who are denied admission or who never attend are not covered under FERPA.

What are Education Records?

Education records are records directly related to a student and maintained by an educational agency or institution or by a party acting for the agency or institution.

Note: The storage medium in which you find the record does not matter. Printed documents, handwritten notes, e-mails, electronic documents and web pages can all contain education records covered by FERPA. Education records may include but are not limited to:

What is Directory Information?

FERPA permits institutions to specifically define some education record information as "directory information" not confidential under FERPA. This is information that is generally not considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. Clemson University defines "directory information" in the Undergraduate and Graduate Catalogs.

Directory Information Includes:

Students have the ability to opt out of the releasing of Directory Information. For assistance with anything related to FERPA please contact the Office of the Registrar at (864) 656-2171. You can also find information on their website at: https://www.clemson.edu/administration/ogc/policies.html.

Consent to Disclosure

The student can provide a written release to the institution giving specific consent to the disclosure of the student's education records. The release needs to be dated and signed and should describe the records, the purpose for the release, list to whom the records can be given and indicate the length of time for which the release is effective. A faculty member should have a student sign a release before providing a job reference or a reference for the student for certain academic purposes, such as scholarships or awards.

Parent/Spouses and FERPA

When a student reaches the age of 18 or begins attending a postsecondary institution regardless of age, FERPA rights transfer from the parent to the student. Parents/spouses may obtain directory information at the discretion of the institution. Parents may obtain non-directory information (grades, GPA, etc.) if:

Disclosure of Student Conduct Records

The Office of Community and Ethical Standards does not provide information concerning a student's conduct record if the student is over the age of 18, unless it is due to one of the conditions sighted in the Parent/Spouses section, or our office has a signed Release of Information document from the student listing the parent as the appropriate individual. If you would like to know the details of any student conduct case, please have your student stop by our office in 912 University Union. Students reserve the right to cancel a Release of Information at any time.