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Understanding FERPA in the Context of Digital Accessibility

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The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), enacted in 1974, plays a crucial role in protecting the privacy of student education records. This legislation establishes the rights of students to have control over the disclosure of their educational information and records. FERPA’s implications extend to all educational institutions that receive funding from programs administered by the U.S. Department of Education, underscoring its widespread impact on educational privacy practices.

Key Provisions of FERPA

FERPA grants current and former students certain rights regarding their educational information, emphasizing the need for privacy and control over personal educational records. One of the core tenets of FERPA is the requirement for educational institutions to obtain prior consent from students before disclosing their educational records or any personally identifiable information contained within those records to third parties.

The Importance of Compliance

Compliance with FERPA is not only a legal obligation for educational institutions but also a commitment to safeguarding student privacy. This commitment is particularly relevant in the digital age, where educational records are increasingly stored and shared electronically. Ensuring that digital platforms and educational technologies comply with FERPA regulations is essential for maintaining the trust and confidence of students and their families.

Digital Accessibility and FERPA

As educational institutions continue to embrace digital technologies for teaching, learning, and administration, the intersection of digital accessibility and FERPA compliance becomes increasingly important. Digital accessibility ensures that all students, including those with disabilities, have equal access to educational resources and information. Complying with FERPA in the digital realm involves implementing measures to protect the privacy of student records while also ensuring that digital content is accessible to all students.


The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) sets a foundational standard for the protection of student educational records and personal information. As the educational landscape evolves with the integration of digital technologies, the principles of FERPA remain a guiding light for ensuring that student privacy is respected and protected. Educational institutions must navigate the dual objectives of FERPA compliance and digital accessibility to create an inclusive and secure educational environment for all students.

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