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FERPA Clear and Simple: The College Professional's Guide to Compliance

ISBN: 978-0-470-53858-6
332 pages
August 2009, Jossey-Bass
FERPA Clear and Simple: The College Professional


This vital resource offers higher education administrators—and anyone responsible for education records and the management of student information—a timely guide that will aid in the establishment of policies, procedures, and practices compliant with the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). In addition, the book contains information on the myriad changes to the FERPA rules that were enacted in 2008 including responding to the Patriot Act, conforming to the Campus Sex Crimes Prevention Act, regulations pertaining to online students, and more.

Clifford A. Ramirez, a noted expert on FERPA, explains definitions and language, presents guidelines for the application of FERPA, and demonstrates how to develop FERPA deci sion-making abilities. Written for both new and seasoned administrators, this important book presents an oppor tunity for renewed understanding of FERPA, continued professional development, and individual self-audit for compliance. The book contains information on:

  • FERPA and the regulatory universe of privacy
  • Understanding FERPA basics
  • Understanding the privacy rights under FERPA
  • FERPA exceptions for parents and safety
  • Other exceptions and FERPA concerns

Presented in a concise yet comprehensive format, FERPA Clear and Simple can facilitate any institution's local assessment of regulatory compliance.

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Table of Contents

Preface: A New Approach and Perspective on FERPA.


About the Author.

Chapter One: FERPA and the Regulatory Universe of Privacy.

1. Toward the Codification of Privacy Rights.

2. The Adoption of Fair Information Practices.

3. The U.S. Code of Fair Information Practices.

4. The Privacy Act of 1974.

5. Sector Approach to Privacy.

6. Regulations for Student Records Privacy.

7. Enforcement of FERPA.

8. Applicability of FERPA and Penalties for Noncompliance.

Chapter Two: Understanding FERPA Basics.

1. Student and Eligible Student.

2. Records and Education Records.

3. Directory and Non-Directory Information.

4. Prior Written Consent.

5. Education Officials and Legitimate Educational Interest.

Chapter Three: Understanding the Privacy Rights under FERPA.

1. Annual Notification: Rights under FERPA.

2. Right to Inspect and Review.

3. Right to Seek to Amend.

4. Right of Control over Disclosure.

5. Right to File a Complaint.

Chapter Four: FERPA Exceptions for Parents and Safety.

1. Legal Age and In Loco Parentis.

2. Parents and the Parents of Dependent Students.

3. Notification of Drug and Alcohol Violations.

4. Threats to Health and Safety.

5. Safe Campus.

6. Campus Sex Crimes Prevention Act.


Chapter Five: Other Exceptions and FERPA Concerns.

1. Disclosures to Other Educational Agencies and Institutions.

2. Subpoenas and Ex Parte Orders.

3. Redisclosures and Service Providers.

4. Studies and Research.

5. Recordation Requirements for Disclosures.

6. Military Recruiters and the Solomon Amendment.

Chapter Six: Strategies for FERPA Compliance.

1. The Annual Notification.

2. Policy and Procedure.

3. Training Materials.

4. Reports and Other Documentation.

5. Maintaining FERPA Compliance.

Afterthoughts: On the Rights of Postsecondary Students.

Appendix One: FERPA: 34 CFR §99.

Appendix Two: FERPA: 20 USC §1232g.

Bibliography and Resources.


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Author Information

CLIFFORD A. RAMIREZ is the principal of Cliff Ramirez & Associates, a training and consulting firm founded to support, advance, and facilitate the effectiveness of higher education and other service industry professionals. With 20 years experience in higher education, Cliff has served as president of the Pacific Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (PACRAO), is part of Registrar and Enrollment

Services Consulting for Colleges and Universities (RESCCU), is the FERPA expert for College Parents of America, and founded three professional development institutes. He has authored other FERPA books, including Managing the Privacy of Student Records, which was based upon his critically acclaimed workshop, and he coedited The FERPA Answer Book published by Jossey-Bass.

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