The Military College of South Carolina
give online buttongive online button apply now buttonapply now button

The Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA)

What Faculty & Staff Members Need to Know

FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act), also known as the Buckley Amendment, gives specific rights to a post-secondary student:

1. to see the education records that the institution is keeping on the student

2. to seek amendment of those records

3. to have some control over the disclosure of information from his/her records

4. to file a complaint with the FERPA Office in Washington, DC, for failure of the college to comply with the law

The Law

FERPA applies to educational agencies and institutions that receive funds under programs administered by the Secretary of Education. (Most financial aid is administered by the Secretary of Education.)

The policies and procedures for confidentiality of student records and student privacy rights can be found on The Citadel's website at

What Types of Student Records Are Covered: Student educational records are all records that contain information that is directly related to a student and maintained by an educational institution or someone acting for the institution, such as:

1. grades 2. enrollment records
3. exams or papers 4. transcripts
5. financial aid records 6. records kept in a student's file
7 library records NOT USED

Student education records may be stored in any media such as:

1. computer printout in your office
2. class list on your desktop
3. notes taken during an advising session
4. electronic database
5. computer display screen
Not Used

Student educational records do not include records such as:

1. records created by faculty or staff which are not shared with others and are only for the personal use of the creator of the record (i.e. personal grade book) 2. records created and maintained by The Citadel Campus Public Safety Office for law enforcement purposes
3. employment records when employment is not related to student status A(i.e. student worker. 4. medical records made and used for treating the student (which may be disclosed only to those providing treatment to the student

Directory Information is information contained in an education record of a student which would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. Directory information is considered public and can be released without the student's written permission. However, the student may opt to keep this information confidential. Selected Directory Information: (a complete list of directory information is available on The Citadel's website)

1. name

2. class level / cadet rank

3. major and minor fields of study 4. program of study
5. dates of enrollment 6. degrees & certificates received
7. height & weight of athletic team members 8. awards received and honors

If a student has opted to keep directory information confidential, you may not release any information about that student. It is recommended that you say: "I do not have information about that person."

Directory Information can NEVER include:

1. Social Security Number

2. student identification number

3. race 4. nationality
5. ethnicity 6. gender
7. GPA 8. religion

Faculty & Staff Responsibilities: As a faculty or staff member, you have a legal obligation under FERPA to protect the confidentiality of student education records in your possession:

1. Your may have access to student information only for legitimate use in the completion of your duties as a Citadel employee. Need-to-know is the basic principle to follow. 2. Student education records (other than directory information, unless the student has asked for directory information to be confidential) are considered confidential and may not be released without the student's written consent
3. Student information stored in electronic format must be secure and available only to those entitled to access that information. 4. Your may not release lists or files with student information to any third party.


1. Inform students regarding their tests, exams, or papers by asking students to either provide a stamped, self-addressed envelope or by placing papers in individual sealed envelopes with students' names and leaving the envelopes with the department secretary. 2. Contact the Office of the General Counsel if you have any questions or concerns about how to handle a situation regarding student education records.


1. Publicly post grades in any way. Instead, post grades to PANCHO, which makes grades available to students immediately 2. Leave graded tests, papers, or other student materials for students to pick up in a stack that allows students or the public access to the papers of other students.
3. Access a student's records for any reason unless it is necessary to perform your job duties. 4. Record attendance by sending around class rosters which contain student's Social Security or student identification numbers.
5. Use the telephone or send e-mail to students to inform them of their grades, unless you have received their uncoerced, signed, dated, written consent to do so. The telephone and e-mails are not secure means of communicating grades. 6. Discuss the progress of any student with anyone other than the student without the signed, dated, written consent of the student.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Which Citadel officials may have access to education records: Certain school officials are designated each year as having access to education records, without a student's consent, including members of the Board of Visitors, the Faculty, and personnel in the Offices of the President, the Provost, the Vice President for Finance and business Affairs, and the Commandant of Cadets. Also, certain students who assist the above individuals have limited access to education records, including academic officers, certain members of the cadet chain of command,a and Honor Committee members. Access of all college officials, however, is limited by the extent of their educational interest in those records.

What must a student's consent contain? A student's consent to disclosure of education records must:

1. list the precise records to be disclosed 2. state the purpose of the disclosure
3. identify the person(s) to whom the disclosure may be made 4. be signed and dated by the student

What do I do if someone contacts me about an emergency: If someone needs to contact a student in the case of an emergency, DO NOT give the student's class schedule to the caller. Take down the caller's contact information and contact public Safety. The Public Safety Office will locate the student and provide him/her with the information.

Can student directory information always be released? NO!!! Before releasing any information about a student, check with the Registrar's Office to see whether the student has requested that the directory information be with held. If the student has made such a request, no information can be released. If the student has not requested that information be withheld, directory information may be released. Note that FERPA does not require that directory information be released.

Do parents and spouses have any rights under FERPA? FERPA provides that parents of students who qualify as dependents, as defined in internal Revenue Service (IRS) standards, may receive certain information from their student's records. At The Citadel, parents of dependent students may receive academic information, unless the student has executed a form, available through and maintained by the Registrar, restricting that information. Prior to accessing records, the parent must verify the student's dependent status. A spouse is not allowed access to a student's records unless the student in question has granted written permission.

Are there any exceptions to FERPA? There are certain limited exceptions to FERPA? There are certain limited exceptions to FERPA that allow the college to disclose student education records without a student's consent. These exceptions include disclosure to certain state and federal officials, and release in compliance with a court order or subpoena. Recipients of education records, pursuant to any exceptions, usually may not disclose the information to anyone else. The General Counsel is responsible for evaluating requests pursuant to these exception.

What must I do if I receive a subpoena concerning student education records? Immediately forward the subpoena to the Office of the General Counsel. The Office of the General Counsel will respond to the subpoena on behalf of the college.

For more information, contact:

Office of the General Counsel
Mark Brandenburg, General Counsel (843-953-5252)
Paralegal (843-953-0067)
The Citadel's policy, "Security and Confidentiality of Student Records," is available at:

Back to Top