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Student Records (FERPA)

Privacy and Disclosure of Student Records (FERPA)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (also known as FERPA) is a federal law that affords students at institutions of higher education the right to have access to their education records, the right to seek to have the records amended, and the right to have some control over the disclosure of personally identifiable information from the education records.

Does a student have the right to inspect and review records maintained by the University that directly relate to him or her?

Yes, subject to certain narrow exceptions, each student has the right to inspect and review all of his or her education records.

  • Generally, a student who would like to inspect or review his or her education records is able to do so by making an informal request directly to the Univeristy office or official who maintains the records.
  • A student who would like to make a request pursuant to his or her rights under FERPA to inspect or review his or her education records should do so through the online request form or by directly contacting the University's Compliance Officer.

What records are covered by a student's right to inspect and review?

Subject to very limited exceptions and exclusions, a student has the right to inspect and review all records that are directly related to the student and maintained by the University or by someone acting for the University.

  • The University is not required to permit a student to inspect and review records such as the student's parents' financial records, certain letters of recommendation, or law enforcement records. But the general rule is that the student is permitted to inspect and review all records that meet the general definition.
  • If a University official believes that a student should not be permitted to review certain records that the student has requested, the University official should contact the Office of General Counsel as soon as possible.

Is there any way for a student to request that the University fix errors or mistakes in the student's records?

Yes, it is possible for a student to request that the University amend the student's records.

  • If a student believes the education records relating to the student contain information that is inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the student's rights of privacy, he or she may ask the University to amend the record.
  • Requests should be submitted to the University official who serves as the record holder of the official copy. If the student is not satisfied with the decision of the record holder, the student may appeal through the online request for hearing form or by directly contacting the University's Compliance Officer.

When may the University disclose personally identifiable information about a student?

Except as permitted by University policy and FERPA, the University will not disclose personally identifiable information from a student's education records unless the student has provided a signed and dated written consent prior to the disclosure.

  • The University may disclose student records and personally identifiable information to other University officials, including professors and instructors, whom the University has determinated have a legitimate educational interest.
  • The University generally may disclose 'directory information' about a student.
  • The University may disclose de-identified records and information, where the information that would identify a student has been removed.
  • The University may disclose student records and personally identifiable information in other, very limited, circumstances that are specified in law and University policy.

What is 'directory information,' which generally can be disclosed?

'Directory information' means information contained in an education record of a student that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed.

  • Directory information includes, but is not limited to, the student's name, address, telephone listing, electronic mail address, photograph, date and place of birth, major field of study, grade level, enrollment status, dates of attendance, 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 University may disclose directory information without a student's consent, unless the student has exercised his or her right to opt out. A student may exercise his or her right to opt out by contacting the Office of the Registrar.

Where can the University's FERPA policies be found?

University policies are housed in a central location overseen by the Office of General Counsel.

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