The federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), as amended, provides students rights of access to their education records, as well as limited control over the disclosure of personally identifiable information from their education records.  The University’s commitment to safeguard student privacy and comply with the regulations is reflected in Policy AC 04 and Procedure AC 04.


What are a student’s primary rights  under FERPA?
  • The right to inspect and review their education record
  • The right to seek to amend their education record
  • The right to exercise limited control over the disclosure of information contained in their education record
  • The right to report a violation of FERPA to the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Pitt to comply with the requirements of FERPA
Who is considered a student under FERPA?

An individual who is or has been in attendance at the University and for whom the University maintains an education record.  Further, this includes but is not limited to: (a) the period of time during which a student attends or attended the University in person or through remote engagement or (b) the period during which a student is working under a work-study program. A student is considered to begin the period of attendance at the University for purposes of this policy once they are registered for their initial term of enrollment.

What are education records?

Records directly related to a student and maintained by the University or a party acting for the University.  (See policy AC 04 for exceptions to this definition.) 

What are some examples of when FERPA authorizes the disclosure of education records without a student’s written consent?
  • When the disclosure is to other School Officials with Legitimate Educational Interest.
  • When the disclosure is in connection with financial aid that the student has applied for or received if the information is needed to determine the student’s eligibility for the aid, determine the amount of aid, determine the conditions for the receipt of the aid, or enforce the terms and conditions of the aid.
  • When the disclosure is to the parents of a dependent student as defined under section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.
  • When the disclosure is to comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena.
  • When the disclosure is in connection with a health or safety emergency to appropriate parties if knowledge of the information is necessary to protect the health and safety of the student or other individuals.
  • When the disclosure is information that the University has designated as Directory Information, and the student has not restricted disclosure of such information.
What is Directory Information?

Information contained in an education record that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. The University considers the following elements of education records to be directory information:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Telephone Number
  • E-mail Address
  • Dates of Attendance
  • Enrollment Status
  • Level and Classification
  • Field(s) of Study
  • Degree Candidacy and/or Expected Graduation Date
  • Degree(s) Conferred and Credential(s) Awarded, including the Date(s) of such Conferrals or Awards
  • Awards, Scholarships, and Honors
  • Thesis and Dissertation Titles
  • Previous Institution(s) Attended
  • Image or Likeness
  • Past and Present Participation in Officially Recognized University Activities
  • Date of Birth (See Associated Procedure AC-04 Section III. G.)
If I am a parent of a student, do I have the right to access my student’s education records, especially if I pay the bill?

The rights under FERPA transfer from the parents to the student once the student turns 18 years old or enters a postsecondary institution at any age. However, an institution may disclose information from a student’s education records to the parents of a dependent student, without the student's consent, if the student is a dependent for federal income tax purposes.