FERPA Training

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

FERPA Training Title Screen


The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law passed in 1974.  It applies to nearly all institutions of higher education (public and private) and to public K-12 schools.  FERPA generally prohibits schools from releasing student “education records” without the consent of the student or parent/guardian.

“The security and privacy training materials that TeachPrivacy offers institutions like TLU are invaluable because not only do they augment existing awareness initiatives, they also provide a consistent summary of legal and ethical requirements that face higher-ed today. The extensive library of short and to-the-point video topics gives a campus security/privacy officer the ability to pick and choose what they need at their site. The format has been well received by both students and staff.”

–William R. Senter, Director of Information Technology, Texas Lutheran University

Why Is FERPA Training Needed?

FERPA training is very important for all school personnel who have contact with education records.  This includes most administrators, faculty, and staff — as well as student employees in many contexts.

stack of booksFERPA training is also relevant for any company that provides services to schools that involve the company’s use, storage, or handling of education records.  A company that violates FERPA can be banned from contracting with a school for 5 years.

Many FERPA violations are due to lack of knowledge of the basic rules of FERPA. The definition of “education records” is complicated, as are the many rules and exceptions regarding when education records may be disclosed.  At many schools, personnel at the registrar’s office may be quite familiar with FERPA, but FERPA issues often arise outside of the registrar’s office.  Thus, others on campus must understand the basics of FERPA as well.

A general understanding of FERPA is important not just to protect the confidentiality of student data but also to ensure that information is shared when it should be shared.  For example, at Virginia Tech in 2007, a troubled student shot and killed 32 students and faculty.  In the aftermath of the shooting, a report commissioned by the governor found that several university personnel knew about student’s mental instability but failed to share the information because they incorrectly thought that FERPA prohibited it.

This is why FERPA training is essential.  All school personnel with access to student data should know when to share data and when not to do so.

FERPA training for faculty does not need to be long, boring, or onerous.  Our course is designed to cover the basics without unnecessary details.

Our Online FERPA Training Course

Our course (~15 minutes) provides a basic introduction to FERPA. It is designed for administrators, faculty, and staff.

The course provides a clear overview of FERPA and practical guidance about how to comply. The course is taught by Professor Daniel Solove, who has taught in higher education for almost 20 years. Professor Solove teaches in a highly engaging way that is ideally suited for the higher education context and to teach FERPA training for faculty members.  The course is visually stimulating, interactive, and filled with concrete examples.

The course module is SCORM-compliant and works on most learning management systems.

The course contains several video segments (~9 minutes) interspersed with 14 interactive quiz questions (~6 minutes).

Learning Objectives

  • Understand FERPA’s scope, including what types of data are covered
  • Become familiar with the rights provided under FERPA
  • Learn about how FERPA is enforced
  • Understand how confidentiality and disclosure issues are handled under FERPA

FERPA Training Course Outline

Higher Education FERPA Training vs. K-12 FERPA Training

There are differences in how FERPA applies in higher education and how it applies for K-12 schools.  One main difference is that in the K-12 context, FERPA rights typically belong to the parents whereas in higher education, FERPA rights belong to the students. There are several other differences.  We thus have a separate version of this program for K-12 schools.

Related Privacy + Security Training Topics for Education

In addition to FERPA training, we have short training on:

graduation cap and diploma• cloud computing
• cyberbullying
• online gossip and self-exposure
• data security awareness
• phishing
• social engineering
• encryption
• portable electronic devices
• PCI payment card data
• FTC Red Flags Rule
• research involving health data

Click here for our catalog.

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About TeachPrivacy and Our Training Philosophy

Daniel Solove Privacy Awareness Training TeachPrivacy was founded by Professor Daniel J. Solove, the leading expert on privacy and data security law. He is deeply involved in the creation of all training programs because he believes that training works best when made by subject-matter experts and by people with extensive teaching experience.

According to Professor Solove: “Great training isn’t about slickness or tricks. It is about teaching. The goal is to make people understand, care, and remember. Great training is made with genuine passion – to make people love training, it must be made with love. Excellent substance is essential. The material must be explained clearly, understandably, and concretely. The content must be short and to the point – and it must be engaging. Slickness and gimmicks can’t compensate for lackluster substance.”

TeachPrivacy provides privacy awareness training, information security awareness training, phishing training, HIPAA training, FERPA training, PCI training, as well as training on many other privacy and security topics.

Professor Solove is a law professor at George Washington University Law School. He has taught privacy law every year since 2000, has published 10 books and more than 50 articles, including the leading textbook on information privacy law and a short guidebook on the subject. His LinkedIn blog has more than 1 million followers. Click here for more information about Professor Solove.