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FERPA also permits disclosure of a student's education record without the student's consent under other conditions.

Other Exceptions to Prior Written Consent

As we just said, student education records may be released without prior written consent to University officials having a legitimate educational interest in the records. In addition, Penn State may disclose education records or components thereof without written consent of students under the following circumstances:

Health or Safety Exception

The health/safety exception has always existed in FERPA, but received a great deal of attention following various incidents of campus violence. In December 2008, a change was made to the health and safety exception to provide more leeway to institutions in determining when to invoke the exception. Subsection 99.36 of FERPA states:

"An educational agency or institution may disclose personally identifiable information from an education record to appropriate parties, including parents of an eligible student, in connection with an emergency if knowledge of the information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals."

Previously the conditions under which the exception was invoked had to be "strictly construed." The regulation now specifies that, when an institution determines that an "articulable and significant threat" exists, the institution may release educational records without consent to those determined to be in a position to assist. The new regulation also requires documentation to include a description of the threat, the records that were released and the individuals to whom the release was made.

To assist faculty and staff in dealing with student-related emergencies, or who may be concerned about a student's behavior, Penn State has developed several policies and guidelines, including:

SY03 - Emergencies Involving Students
Managing Disruptive Student Behavior
Referrals to Counseling and Psychological Services