The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law designed to protect the privacy of, and limit access to, student educational records. Please visit the following link to learn more: www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco
Educational records are all records that are directly related to a student and that are maintained by an educational institution (or its agents). A record means any information recorded in any way. Examples may include, but are not limited to, handwriting, print, tape, film, e-mail, microfilm, microfiche, and digital images.
Educational records do not include the following:
FERPA provides for each institution to identify certain information as directory information, which may be disclosed without the student's permission. The university has designated the following information as directory information:
A student’s consent is required for the disclosure or publication of any information that is a) personally identifiable and b) a part of the educational record. However, certain exceptions to this general rule, both in types of information that can be disclosed and in access to that information, are allowed by the regulations of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Rice may allow access to personally identifiable information without a student’s prior consent to its faculty or staff who legitimately require this information to perform their instructional, supervisory, advisory, or administrative duties.
Under FERPA, all student medical and mental health records maintained by Rice University are either “Treatment Records” or “Education Records.” The majority of records maintained by Student Health Services (SHS) or Rice Counseling Center (RCC) are considered “Treatment Records” under FERPA. “Treatment records” are those made or maintained by a health care professional, are used only for a student's medical or psychological treatment, and maintained only in connection with providing the student treatment. Treatment records from SHS or RCC are always subject to state law protections. And if a treatment record becomes an education record it is also subject to protection and rights under FERPA. (HIPAA does not apply to either Rice treatment records or education records.)
Additional resources covering FERPA are available here:
Rice provides a FERPA tutorial available here. Successful completion of the training is required before access to student records is given.
For a list of frequently asked FERPA questions for students, click here.
For a list of frequently asked FERPA questions for faculty & staff, click here.