FERPA is short for the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, a federal law enacted in 1974. FERPA protects the privacy of student education records. All educational institutions that receive federal funding, including Cornell, must comply with FERPA. FERPA begins for a Cornell student on the first day of classes/semester or attendance, whichever comes first, and the student continues to be protected by FERPA for their lifetime.

FERPA gives students four basic rights with respect to their education record:

  1. The right to inspect and review their education record.
  2. The right to some control over the disclosure of their education record.
  3. The right to request the amendment of their education record where appropriate.
  4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the University to comply with the requirements of FERPA.

FERPA FAQ provides answers to many FERPA related questions. Any additional questions can be sent to univreg@cornell.edu

Directory information is information contained in a student's education record that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. Cornell University identifies the following as directory information:

  • name
  • local and cell phone numbers
  • email address
  • photograph
  • major field of study and college attended
  • academic level
  • dates of attendance
  • enrollment status
  • university assistantship status (e.g. teaching assistantship, graduate research assistantship, research assistantship, graduate assistantship)
  • participation in officially recognized activities and sports
  • weight and height (of members of athletic teams)
  • any degrees earned and awards received
  • date of birth and local address (for sole purpose of federal census data responses)