P.O. BOX 2120



January 16, 2003



Division Superintendents



Jo Lynne DeMary

Superintendent of Public Instruction



Recent Changes Affecting FERPA Requirements (Access to High School Students and Information on Students by Military Recruiters)


The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law, 34 CFR Part 99, that applies to educational agencies and institutions that receive federal funds from any program administered by the Secretary of Education. Generally, FERPA prohibits the funding of an educational agency or institution that has a policy or practice of disclosing a students education record without the consent of the parent or eligible student. FERPA defines an education record as one that is: (1) directly related to a student; and (2) maintained by an educational agency or institution or by a party acting for the agency or institution.


FERPA allows schools to designate and disclose without consent certain items of information as directory information. Generally, directory information may be disclosed to any party, provided the school has followed requirements of FERPA. FERPA defines directory information as information contained in an education record of a student that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. It includes, but is not limited to, the students name, address, telephone listing, electronic mail address, photograph, date and place of birth, major field of study, dates of attendance, grade level, enrollment status, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, degrees, honors and awards received, and the most recent educational agency or institution attended. The Modified Standard Diploma or other certificate that is awarded only to students with disabilities may not be listed as directory information.


The following is a general explanation of recent changes that may affect a schools policy and procedures regarding the management of students education records. Congress passed two major pieces of legislation that generally require local educational agencies (LEAs) receiving assistance under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) to give military recruiters the same access to secondary school students as they provide to postsecondary institutions or to prospective employers. LEAs are also generally required to provide students names, addresses, and telephone listings to military recruiters, upon their request, unless a parent has opted out of providing such information. Schools that previously did not disclose directory information are now required to provide a notice that it discloses information to military recruiters and provide parents a reasonable time to opt out. Students directory information will be used specifically for armed services recruiting purposes and for informing young people of scholarship opportunities.


The new federal requirements take precedent over 22.1-288

of the Code of Virginia which states that the principal of any public school may furnish the names and addresses of students presently enrolled or who have terminated their enrollment to any recruiting official of the military forces of the commonwealth and the United States.


The U. S. Department of Education and Department of Defense have provided guidelines for compliance with these new laws. The guidelines, Access to High School Students and Information on Students by Military Recruiters are attached. A model directory information notification for use by LEAs incorporating the changes under 9528 of the ESEA and 10 U.S.C. 503 is attached. The model notification may also be obtained on the FPCOs website at If you have questions or need additional information about the requirements, you may contact Sandra E. Ruffin, (, director, Office of Federal Program Monitoring, at (804) 225-2768, or Sylinda Gilchrist (, specialist for school counseling, at (804) 786-9377, or Michelle Parker (, specialist for policy, at (804) 225-2543.