Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that gives students in higher education various rights with respect to their education records. 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. Rights afforded to you under FERPA include the right to inspect and review your education records, the right to request amendment of records you believe are inaccurate or misleading, the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning FERPA violations, the right to restrict the disclosure of directory information, and the right to prevent the disclosure of personally identifiable information from your education records without your prior consent, subject to some specific exceptions.

AIMS Education observes, and is guided by all laws and regulations regarding disclosures of information about students by an institution of higher learning. Nothing in this policy shall be construed to supersede any provision of federal and/or state laws governing such disclosures.

Consent to Disclose Education Records

If a student chooses to disclose any of his/her education records to parents, family members, or other third parties, written consent for disclosure of education records must be signed and dated, specify the records that may be disclosed, state the purpose of the disclosure, and identify the party or class of parties to whom the records will be disclosed.

Disclosure of Education Records to Relevant Authorities

Relevant information from a student’s education records which includes but is not limited to the student’s name, major field of study, grades, attendance, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, and attendance period can be forwarded from the school’s education records to relevant authorities including but not limited to the following:

  • Authorized school officials
  • Parties connected to financial aid
  • Accrediting agencies
  • Federal, state, and local authorities
  • Appropriate officials in case of health and safety emergencies
  • Other transferring schools
  • Auditing agencies

Parental/guardian/spousal access to the student’s records may be allowed, even without prior authorization from the student, in cases of health and safety emergencies.

Directory Information

FERPA permits disclosure of "directory information" without a student's prior consent, for any purpose, unless the student specifically requests that it be kept confidential. Directory information is defined as information contained in the education records of a student that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. AIMS Education considers the following to be directory information: student's name, address, phone number, email address, student ID number, major field of study, dates of attendance, enrollment status (full-time or part-time), degrees and awards received, and photographs.

*AIMS may disclose directory information without consent unless the student requests it to be kept confidential.

All students have the right to restrict the disclosure of directory information. If a student does not want the school to share directory information with third parties, he/she must submit a student request form to the academic department requesting that all directory information from his/her education record be kept confidential. Once the request is received, it typically takes 3 to 5 business days before disclosure of the information is restricted.

Inspection and Review of Education Records

Students wishing to exercise their rights to inspect and review their education records should submit a student request form to the Academic Department stating the records they wish to review. A school official will make arrangements for access and then notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected within 10 business days of the written request.

If the student wishes for any amendment of information which he/she believes is inaccurate or misleading, the student will need to write a formal request asking the school to correct the inaccurate information. If the school decides not to amend the records, the school will inform the student about its decision and the student, if still not convinced, may submit an appeal.

Additional Exceptions

FERPA permits the disclosure of personally identifiable information from students’ education records, without consent of the student, if the disclosure meets certain conditions found in FERPA regulations. Except for disclosures to school officials, disclosures related to some judicial orders or lawfully issued subpoenas, disclosures of directory information, and disclosures to the student, FERPA regulations require the institution to record the disclosure. Eligible students have a right to inspect and review the record of disclosures. A postsecondary institution may disclose personally identifiable information from the education records without obtaining prior written consent of the student in the following cases:

  • To other school officials, including teachers, within AIMS whom the school has determined to have legitimate educational interests. This includes contractors, consultants, volunteers, or other parties to whom the school has outsourced institutional services or functions.
  • 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.
  • To authorized representatives of the U. S. Comptroller General, the U. S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or State and local educational authorities, such as a State postsecondary authority that is responsible for supervising the university’s State-supported education programs. Disclosures under this provision may be made in connection with an audit or evaluation of Federal or State supported education programs, or for the enforcement of or compliance with Federal legal requirements that relate to those programs. These entities may make further disclosures of personally identifiable information to outside entities that are designated by them as their authorized representatives to conduct any audit, evaluation, or enforcement or compliance activity on their behalf.
  • In connection with financial aid for which the student has applied or which the student has received, 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 school, in order to: (a) develop, validate, or administer predictive tests; (b) administer student aid programs; or (c) improve instruction.
  • 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.
  • Information the school has designated as “directory information.”
  • To a victim of an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense. The disclosure may only include the final results of the disciplinary proceeding with respect to that alleged crime or offense, regardless of the finding.
  • To the general public, the final results of a disciplinary proceeding, 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 possession 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.

*For further information regarding FERPA, please contact the U.S. Department of Education's Student Privacy Policy Office.

Student Privacy Policy Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Ave. S.W.
Washington, DC 20202-5920
1-800-USA-LEARN (1-800-872-5327)