Education Records

Education records are files, documents and materials that are:
  • Directly related to a student
  • "Personally identifiable" to the student
  • "Maintained" in any capacity by the institution

"Personally identifiable" information includes:


"Maintained" can include, but is not limited to:
  • Personal identifiers (Social Security Numbers, Banner IDs, biometric records)
  • Indirect identifiers (Birth date and place, mother's maiden name)
  • Information alone or in combination that is linked or linkable to a specific student that would allow a reasonable person to identify the student
  • Physical files, such as those stored in a filing cabinet
  • Data stored on software systems like Banner
  • Emails between faculty/staff and students
Education records do not exist as a single file
  • Records can be created by any W&M department or employee, and maintained in physical files, on software systems and by other means of maintenance/storage.
Examples of education records include, but are not limited to:
  • Graded materials
  • Class rosters
  • Individual students' class schedules
  • Financial aid records
  • Archived transcripts stored on microfilm
  • Conduct hearing notes
  • Correspondence between faculty and students

Click on the case study to learn more about education records.

Case Study: Admissions Records

Tyler applied as an undergraduate to W&M and was denied acceptance. She demands to see her admissions file, including all of her reference letters. Does Tyler have a right to access this information under FERPA?

The education records of students who have applied to, but have not attended, an institution are not subject to FERPA. The records, however, may be accessible by the student under Virginia's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). All departments should ensure they comply with the Library of Virginia's Retention Schedules for records. Contact the University Archivist for more information about records retention.

Continue to the next section: Exceptions to Education Records


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