Student Affairs

Enrollment Services

FERPA - Student Rights

FERPA - Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974

All student educational records are maintained according to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) concerning the information, which becomes part of the student's permanent record, and governing the conditions of its disclosure.  Students have the right to see their records and to request an amendment to those records.

FERPA requires Green River College, with certain exceptions, to obtain writen consent prior to the disclosure of personally identifiable information from a student's education record.  However, the College may disclose appropriately designated "directory information" without written consent, unless the student has advised the College to the contrary in accordance with College procedures.


Directory Information

Directory information, which is generally not considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if released, can be disclosed to outside organizations without prior written consent.  In addition, two federal laws require local educational agencies to provide military recruiters, upon official request, with the following information: names, address and telephone numbers.

If you do not want Green River College to disclose any or all of the types of information designated below as directory information from your education record without your prior written consent, you must notify the Enrollment Services Office in writing. 

Directory information for Green River College is defined in WSR 15-15-071, § 132J-164-020 as the following:

  • The student's name
  • Address
  • Telephone number
  • Email address
  • Date and place of birth
  • Major field of study
  • Dates of attendance
  • Degrees and Awards Received
  • Photograph
  • Participation in officially recognized activities or sports
  • Height and weight of athletes
  • Most recent previous educational agency or institution attended
  • Other similar information 

 Directory information does NOT include:

  • Social security number
  • Student identification number
  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Nationality
  • Gender
  • Class schedule

Student's Rights

The Family Educational Rights and Privcay Act (FERPA) affords eligible students* certain rights with respect to their education records.  

  1. The right to review and inspect the student's education records.  Photocopies are not covered by FERPA.
  2. The right to request the amendment of the student's education records that the student believes are inaccurate, misleading or otherwise in violation of the student's privacy rights under FERPA.
  3. The right to insert into their education records a written explanation about the content of such records.
  4. The right to challenge in a hearing the content of their education records, to ensure that they are not inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of their privacy rights.
  5. The right to nondisclosure without prior consent of their education records, or of any information in those records that could reasonably reveal the eligible student's identity.  FERPA allows nonconsensual disclosures of education records under certain limited circumstances.
  6. The right to receive notice before their directory information is made public if the educational institution they attend plans to release that information from their education records.
  7. The right to request nondisclosure of directory information without prior consent.
  8. The right to be notified when an educational institution receives a subpoena or court order requiring disclosure of their education records before the institution complies with the request, except when such disclosure is prohibited by law or the authority issuing the order.
  9. The right to be notified by the educational institution of their rights under FERPA.
  10. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Green River College to comply with the requirements of FERPA.  The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is:              

Family Policy Compliance Office

U.S. Department of Education

400 Maryland Avenue SW

Washington, DC 20202


*An eligible student at Green River is any person enrolled at the College, per WSR 15-15-071, § 132J-164-020.

Educational Records

FERPA broadly defines education records, encompassing any "records, files, documents, and other materials" that:

    a.  contain information directly related to the student; and

    b.  are maintained by a school official*, an educational agency or institution, or by a person acting for such agency or institution.


These items are considered part of the student's education records:

  • Admission records
  • Registration activity
  • Cumulative academic records
  • Transcript
  • Class assignments
  • Records of attendance
  • Grades or Grade Point Average
  • Test scores
  • Financial Aid records
  • Disciplinary records
  • Health and counseling records
  • Documentation of special services students receive
  • other similar information/records


The following are specifically excluded from the definition of education records by FERPA:

  • Records of instructional, supervisory and administrative personnal which are in the sole possession of the maker thereof. (i.e. used only as a personal memory aid; are not accessible or revealed to any other person)
  • Records generated and maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist or other recognized professional paraprofessional acting in his/her capacity.
  • Records maintained by a law enforcement unit of the educational institution that were created for the purpose of law enforcement.
  • Records relating to an individual who is employed by the institution other than as a result of his/her student status.
  • Records created or received by an educational institution after an individual is no longer a student in attendance and that are not directly related to the individual's attendance as a student.
  • Grades on peer-graded papers before they are collected and recorded by a teacher.


Education records can be in the form of, but not limited to:

  • Handwriting
  • Print
  • Magnetic Tapes
  • Film
  • Microfilm
  • Microfiche
  • Computer media
  • Video or audio tape

* "School official" is defined by Green River as any employee of the College acting on behalf of the College with a legitimate educational interest in the student.

* "Legitimate education interest" is defined by Green River as a school official needing to review an educational record in order to fulfill their professional responsibility.

Disclosure of Records

FERPA permits the disclosure of personally identifiable information form a students' education records, without consent from the student, if disclosure meets certain conditions found in § 99.31 of the FERPA regulations. Except of disclosures to school officials, disclosures related to some judicial orders or lawfully issued subpoenas, disclosures of directory information, and disclosures to the student, § 99.32 of FERPA regulations requires the institution to record the disclosure.

Eligible students have a right to inspect and review the record of disclosures.

A post-secondary institution may disclose personally identitifiable information from the education record without prior written consent of the student:

  • To other school officials, including teachers, within Green River College whom the College has determined to have legitimate educational interests.
  • To officials of another school where the student seeks or intends to enroll, or where the student is already enrolled if the disclosure is for purposes related to the student's enrollment or transfer, subject to the requirements of § 99.34.
  • To authorized representitives of the U.S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or State and local education authorities, such as a State post-secondary authority that is responsible for supervising the institution's State-supported education programs.
  • In connection with financial aid for which the student has applied or which the student has recieved, if the information is necessary to determine eligibility for the aid, determine the amount of the aid, determine the conditions of the aid, or enforce the terms and conditions of the aid.
  • To organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, the College, in order to: (a) develop, validate, or administer predictive tests; (b) administer student aid programs; or (c) improve instrtruction.
  • To accrediting organizations to carry out their accrediting functions.
  • To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena.
  • To appropriate officials in connection with a health or safety emergency, subject to § 99.36.
  • Information the school has designated as "directory information" under § 99.37.
  • To a victim of an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense, subject to the requirements of § 99.39.
  • To the general public, the final results of a disciplinary proceeding, subject to the requirements of § 99.39, if the school determines the student is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense and the student has committed a violation of the school's rules or policies with respect to the allegation made against him or her.
  • To parents of a student regarding the student's violation of any Federal, State or local law, or of any rule or policy of the school, governing the use or possesstion of alcohol or a controlled substance if the school determines the student committed a disciplinary violation and the student is under the age of 21.

* "School official" is defined by Green River as any employee of the College acting on behalf of the College with a legitimate educational interest in the student.

* "Legitimate educational interest" is defined by Green River as a school official needing to review an educational record in order to fulfill their professional responsibility.


Below are some frequently asked questions that may not have been previously covered on this page.

Does the parent of a college student have rights under FERPA?

No. Parents lose their FERPA rights when their child turns 18, or starts attending college or any post-secondary institution - whichever happens first. However, a student may give their parent the right to access his/her educational information by filling out a release of confidential information form. These forms must be turned in by the student, with photo ID, to each individual office.

Do eligible student's FERPA rights ever expire?

For the most part, no. As long as the educational institution maintains the student's education records, the eligible student retains the right to review or amend their education records, or consent to the disclosure of personally identifiable information. Although, death does terminate FERPA rights of eligible students.

Is a high school student, who also attends college, an eligible student?

Yes. If a student is attending a post-secondary institution - at any age - the rights under FERPA have transferred to the student. However, in a situation where a student is enrolled in both high school and college at the same time, the two schools may exchange information on that student. If the student is under 18, the parents still retain rights under FERPA at the high school and may inspect and review any records maintained by the high school.

Does an eligible student's spouse have FERPA rights when it comes to the student's education records?

No. A spouse is an unrelated third party as far as FERPA is concerned. For example, if the student wanted the spouse present during an inspection and review of education records, the student would have to execute a written consent to allow spousal review.

Do non-citizen students have FERPA rights?

Yes. FERPA rights apply to citizens and non-citizens alike. However, students studying under a visa may be required to consent to release of certain information to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security - Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Must a document identify a student by name to be an education record?

No. FERPA regulations make it clear that information can be considered "personally identifiable information" even without identification of the student by name.

Can an organization other than an educational institution create an education record?

Yes. FERPA defines education records in terms of maintenance by educational institutions or agencies acting on their behalf. Nowhere in the statute of regulations does FERPA mandate that education records originate at educational institutions or agencies, although most do.

Are the employment records of students in attendance, who are employed by their college, education records?

It depends on the characterization of the student's employment. Records relating to an individual in attendance at the institution, who is employed as a result of his/her status as a student, are education records. Likewise, employment that is not a result of the employee's status as an enrolled student are excepted from the definition of education records under FERPA.