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Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

What is FERPA?


The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education. Under FERPA, Villanova University students have certain rights with respect to their education records including the right to inspect, review, and seek amendment of their education records. In general, education records are defined as records maintained by the institution in any form that are directly related to a student.  The drop down menus below provide you with more information on FERPA.

The Disclosure of Student Records policy implements Villanova University’s FERPA obligations and is required reading to better understand FERPA. The policy informs the reader of:

1) The categories of information Villanova deems to be directory information; as such, this information may be disclosed without the student’s prior written consent except that you need to make sure that the student has not “opted out” (in which case such information cannot be released);

2) What is deemed to be personally identifiable information (PII) and, therefore, confidential. PII means that the information may include the name of the student; the address of the student; a personal identifier such as social security number; or a list of personal characteristics or other information that would make the student’s identity easily traceable;

3) In what circumstances FERPA permits the disclosure of education records, or PII contained in the education records, without the prior written consent of the student; and

4) A description of the students’ rights under FERPA and the process to exercise these rights which include the right to request access to review and inspect their education records, and seek amendment if they believe their education record is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of their privacy rights.

Upon review of the policy, if there are any questions or requests for more in-depth training regarding FERPA, please contact one of the Offices listed below. They are available to assist you with your questions and training needs:

Office of the Vice President and General Counsel (Contact: Mark Hewlett, Associate General Counsel,

University Compliance Office (Contact: Leyda Benitez, University Compliance Officer,

Questions may also be submitted anonymously or confidentially through the ethics and compliance hotline, EthicsPoint, available 24/7 at:

  • or
  • toll free-number 1-866-236-1443.


FERPA Basics Education Module I and Case Studies Videos

The University Compliance and the General Counsel offices provide FERPA training on the University's Bridge Leaning Managment System (LMS) which outlines the framework for understanding FERPA rights and obligations. The FERPA Basics Education Module I and Case Studies videos have the following learning objectives:

  1. Obtain or supplement a general understanding of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and related institutional policies.
  2. Gain an understanding of a student’s rights under FERPA.
  3. Learn about effective FERPA consents, directory information, various FERPA exceptions and other circumstances in which student information can be disclosed. 
  4. Gain an understanding of FERPA considerations in contracts/engagements with third party vendors.
The FERPA Basics Education Module I and Case Studies can be accessed on the Bridge LMS website
FERPA 101: Colleges & Universities
Offered by the U. S. Department of Education, this online training is an introduction to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and its requirements relating to the privacy and security of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) in student records.  This course addresses FERPA basics, explores requirements for the protection of student records for colleges, universities, and other postsecondary institutions, addresses who may and may not access student records, when those records may be shared, and discusses several of the applicable exceptions to the FERPA requirement for consent.  Upon completion of the course, you will receive a certificate of completion from the U. S. Department of Education.
For more information, visit the U. S. Department of Education FERPA website

FERPA: Avoid Mistakes & Costly Violations Across Campus Webinar

This is a Paper Clip Communications webinar. In this webinar you will receive education from FERPA expert, Steve McDonald, as he shares insight into FERPA and its complexities. You’ll find practical steps and solutions and ensure you understand the rules and how to implement them correctly. This webinar is of particular interest to faculty and staff who have access to student education records that contain health information whether in an administrative, clinical, or instructional capacity.

The FERPA: Avoid Mistakes & Costly Violations Across Campus webinar has the following learning objectives:

  1. Recognize what is and what isn’t subject to FERPA.
  2. Apply key disclosure exceptions — know when and how to disclose to avoid compliance problems.
  3. Incorporate new ideas and practical steps to adapt and enhance your campus FERPA compliance.
  4. Learn how to apply FERPA in the unique current circumstances of the pandemic.

The FERPA: Avoid Mistakes & Costly Violations Across Campus webinar can be accessed on the Bridge LMS website


Internal Resources


External Resources

U. S. Department of Education Protecting Student Privacy.  Provides general overview and links to specific areas of FERPA compliance.
FERPA and Virtual Learning during COVID-19 (Webinar).  This webinar is intended to provide information on privacy best practices and insight into helpful resources available to the education community during this critical time of national emergency.

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Our Address

University Compliance Office
Villanova University
800 Lancaster Avenue
Picotte Hall, Dundale, 3rd Floor
Villanova, PA  19085-1699
Phone: 610.519.5466
Fax: 610.519.5022