Student Privacy & FERPA

Student Privacy and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA)

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville manages how student information is protected and provided under the guidance of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, commonly referred to as FERPA. FERPA, a federal law protecting the privacy of student education records, provides parents certain rights to their child’s educational records. Per this law, without consent of the student or parent, an academic institution can publish “directory” information including a student’s name, phone number, address, date or place of birth, dates of attendance, and honors or awards. Schools must inform parents and eligible students about directory information and also allow parents and eligible students the opportunity to request that the school not disclose directory information about them. 

These rights are automatically provided to the student: 

  • When he or she is 18 years of age
  • Enrolls in and attends an academic institution after graduating high school 

Student rights under FERPA include: 

  • The right to review or request to modify personal education records
  • The right to limit disclosure of personally identifiable information such as what is listed in the UT Directory 
  • The right to inform the Department of Education regarding an academic institution’s failure to adhere to FERPA regulations 

Parental rights under FERPA may include: 

  • The right to review or request to modify personal education records
  • The right to a formal hearing due to the institution deciding not to change or update the records 

Generally, an institution must receive permission in writing from the parent or eligible student to release information from a student’s record. Due to FERPA, schools can provide student records without consent from the parent or student under the following conditions (34 CFR § 99.31):

  • Another institution a student is transferring to needs the records
  • An auditor is requiring the records for an evaluation
  • The Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships needs the records
  • A judicial order or subpoena is requiring the records by law 
  • An organization is conducting research on behalf of or for the institution

FERPA’s Effect on Billing & Payments

Due to regulations set forth by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), once a student has registered for their first semester at UT, One Stop becomes limited in what they can discuss with those that are not the student or an authorized user.

An Authorized User is someone designated by the student as a person that One Stop can talk to about topics related to financial aid, billing statements, payments, verification, academic records, and more.