Student Privacy (FERPA – Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act)

What is FERPA?

  • FERPA is an acronym for the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (1974), also known as the Buckley Amendment.
  • FERPA is federal legislation that requires institutions of higher education to protect the confidentiality of student records.
  • Applies to all institutions that receive federal aid from the Department of Education (DOE).

Who is protected under FERPA?

  • Students, who are currently or formerly enrolled, regardless of their age or status.
  • Students that have applied to URI, but have not attended do not fall under FERPA guidelines.
  • Deceased students are also excluded.


Information Security discusses several things to avoid with regards to maintaining student confidentiality.

You should never:

  • Discuss, without written consent, the progress of any student with anyone (including parents/guardians) other than the student.
  • Make publicly available any student’s social security number or URI Student ID number.
  • Leave graded materials in a stack for people to sort through.
  • Give anyone student schedules or assist anyone, other than authorized University offices, with finding a student on campus.
  • Provide anyone with class rosters.

Are you writing a letter of recommendation? Enrollment Services’ references and recommendations page is a resource to ensure you are complying with FERPA guidelines.

URI FERPA Resources

FERPA 101 (PDF) — An introduction to FERPA and answers some frequently asked questions.

Introduction to FERPA (PDF) — An introduction to FERPA and shares some do’s and dont’s of FERPA.

Letters of Recommendation/Reference — Provides faculty with information on how to comply with FERPA guidelines when writing an recommendation letter or providing a reference for a student.

Managing eCampus FERPA restrictions — Provides students with a guide on how to modify their eCampus FERPA restrictions.

FERPA Publication of Your Name –Provides students with instructions on how to release FERPA restrictions (i.e. for commencement purposes).

FERPA Publication of Your Name (Dean’s List) — Provides students with instruction on how to release FERPA restrictions if they are on the Dean’s List (i.e. for commencement purposes).

Understanding FERPA at URI (PDF) — Provides a presentation that details how FERPA applies at URI.

University of Rhode Island Student Handbook — This link will automatically direct you to the sections related to FERPA in the URI Student Handbook.

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