The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended (FERPA) is a federal law that gives students certain rights with respect to their education records.

Note: As an institutional policy, Harvard Business School does not offer a FERPA waiver form or parental release form for access to student information.

Education Records

Harvard Business School routinely maintains records for its students that describe and document their work and progress. These education records generally include information such as:

  • Permanent and local addresses
  • Admissions records
  • Enrollment status
  • Course grades
  • Reports and evaluations
  • Completion of requirements and progress toward the degree
  • Records of disciplinary actions
  • Letters of recommendation


All students have access to their own education records and may contribute to them if they feel there is need for clarification. To be useful, students' records must be accurate and complete.

The officials who maintain student records are those in charge of the functions reflected in the records and the offices where the records are kept. These ordinarily include the Registrar's Office of Harvard Business School, and may include other institutional officials.

Students wishing access to their education records should contact the Registrar’s Office ( Ordinarily, students are asked to submit a written request that identifies the specific record or records they wish to inspect. Access will be given within 45 days from the receipt of the request.

Guidelines for Viewing Student Records

  • When a record contains information about more than one student, the student requesting access may inspect and review only the portion of the record relating to him/her/them.
  • Students are also not permitted to view letters and statements of recommendation to which they waived their right of access, or that were placed in their file before January 1, 1975.

Students should direct any questions they have about the accuracy of records to the person in charge of the office where the records are kept. If questions still remain, the matter should be referred to the Registrar's Office ( Should it be necessary, a hearing may be held to resolve challenges concerning the accuracy of records in those cases where informal discussions have not satisfactorily settled the questions raised.

Directory Information

Although ordinarily students must consent to the disclosure of information from their education records, FERPA allows certain types of information, known as "directory information," to be made available to the general public. Harvard Business School regards the following information as "directory information:"

  • Full name
  • Reported date of birth
  • Dates of attendance
  • Class year
  • Digitized image (please note that while Harvard classifies photos and images as directory information, these are rarely released to parties outside the University without a student's permission.)
  • Local or campus address and telephone number
  • University email address
  • Anticipated or actual graduation date
  • Degree candidate status
  • Degree(s) received with field of concentration
  • Academic honors
  • University prizes, fellowships and similar honors awarded
  • Recent educational institutions attended.

Please note that the Registrars of Harvard College and of Harvard's graduate and professional schools have jointly adopted a set of Common FERPA Directory Information Elements. Because Harvard University's definition includes all elements on the Common List, requests for directory information received at the University level rather than by Harvard Business School may result in the disclosure of additional elements.


Students may direct Harvard Business School not to disclose their directory information, usually known as putting in place a "FERPA Block." To do so, a student must inform the Registrar’s Office (, in writing, of that decision. A student who is cross-registered at more than one Harvard school must submit separate FERPA Block requests to each school.

Students should be aware of the possible consequences of putting in place a FERPA Block, such as:

  • Missed mailings, messages, and announcements
  • Non-verification of enrollment or degree status
  • Non-inclusion in the Harvard Commencement booklet.

Students who previously have chosen to put in place a FERPA Block may decide to reverse this decision by informing the Registrar’s Office ( in writing.

Other Disclosures Permitted Under FERPA

In addition to permitting the disclosure of directory information, as set forth above, FERPA permits disclosure of educational records without a student's knowledge or consent under certain circumstances. For example, disclosure is permitted to Harvard officials with a legitimate educational interest in the records, meaning that the person needs the information in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities, including instructional, supervisory, advisory, administrative, academic or research, staff support or other duties.

"Harvard officials" include:

  • Faculty
  • Administrators
  • Clerical employees
  • Professional employees
  • Harvard University Health Services staff members
  • Harvard University Police Department officers
  • Agents of the University, such as independent contractors or vendors performing functions on behalf of Harvard Business School or the University
  • Members of Harvard's governing boards
  • Students serving on an official Harvard Business School or University committee, or assisting another Harvard official in performing their tasks.

A student's education record also may be shared with parties outside the University under certain conditions, including, for example, in situations involving a health and safety emergency. In addition, Harvard Business School will forward a student's education records to other agencies or institutions that have requested the records and in which the student seeks or intends to enroll or is already enrolled so long as the disclosure is for purposes related to the student's enrollment or transfer.

If the Harvard Business School finds that a student has committed a disciplinary violation involving a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense, then it also may, if legally permitted and in the Harvard Business School's judgment appropriate, disclose certain information about the disciplinary case.

The disclosure may include:

  • The student's name
  • The violation committed
  • The sanction imposed.

Student Rights Under FERPA

As set forth above, under both Harvard policy and FERPA, students and former students may inspect and review certain of their education records that are maintained by Harvard. They also have the right to:

  • Exercise limited control over other people's access to their education records
  • Seek to correct their education records if they believe them to be inaccurate, misleading or otherwise in violation of their FERPA rights
  • File a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education if they believe Harvard has not complied with the requirements of FERPA
  • Be fully informed of their rights under FERPA.

Complaints regarding alleged violation of rights of students under FERPA may be submitted in writing within 180 days to the Family Policy Compliance Office, US Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, DC 20202-5920.