The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (Buckley Amendment) passed in 1974 regulates the procedures for handling student records. According to the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, the Act was designed to ensure that students and parents (in cases where the student is considered a dependent) would have specific educational records made accessible for reasons of inspection and correction and to restrict the release of most records so as not to violate their privacy and confidentiality when student consent is lacking.
According to the Act, the following records are not accessible:
- financial records of a student’s parents;
- confidential letters of recommendation received prior to January 1, 1975;
- confidential letters of recommendation for which the student has signed a waiver of access; and
- records created and maintained by a professional for the sole purpose of treating the student (i.e., records kept by a college physician, psychiatrist, or counselor). The student may choose a qualified professional to review these records.