The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. "Education records" are "those records, files documents, and other materials which 1) contain information directly related to a student; and 2) are maintained by an educational institution. (20 U.S.C. § 1232g(a)(4)(A); 34 CFR § 99.3). FERPA applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.
Generally speaking, FERPA allows the University to disclose education records or personally identifiable information from education records in the following circumstances: with the written consent of the student, if the disclosure meets one of the statutory exemptions, or if the disclosure is directory information and the student has not placed a hold on release of directory information.
Pursuant to WAC 478-140-024(5), directory information at the University of Washington is defined as:
Date of birth
Dates of attendance
Degrees and awards received
Major and minor field(s) of studies
FERPA allows the University to release a student's directory information to anyone unless the student informs the Office of the Registrar that he or she does not wish directory information to be released.