Texas Community Colleges

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, commonly referred to as the acronym FERPA, protects educational records of eligible students from public disclosure without written permission of the student. (An “eligible student” under FERPA is a student who is 18 years of age or older or who attends a postsecondary institution at any age.) Although exceptions to the Act exist, the exceptions are very limited. The Department of Education enforces this Act.

Directory information

The Texas Public Information Act requires disclosure of information by a public body – unless the law specifically protects the information. Most information kept by a public body is public under the Act. The State Attorney General enforces this Act.

Directory information is considered public record under the Texas Public Information Act. The release of information to the public without student consent will be limited to the following directory information:

  • Name, address, telephone number
  • Major field of study
  • WTC email address
  • Participation in officially recognized activities
  • Dates of attendance
  • Degrees, certificates, and awards
  • Name of previous educational institutions attended
  • Student classification and enrollment status

To comply with FERPA, WTC must release directory information unless you request your directory information be withheld.

To withhold your information, submit the Request to Restrict Directory Information form to the Registrar within the first 10 days of the semester. Your request remains in effect until revoked by you in writing.

Your rights under FERPA 

Generally, the college must have written permission from you in order to release any information, beside directory information, from your student record. However, FERPA allows the college to disclose those records, without consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions:

  • School officials with legitimate educational interest
  • Other schools to which a student is transferring
  • 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 organizations
  • To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena
  • Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies
  • State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific state law

Parent rights under FERPA

FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children’s student 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.