Confidentiality of Student Records - FERPA
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Confidentiality of Student Records - FERPA

The following is intended to give an overview of FERPA.  Please contact the Registrar’s Office with any questions or for more detailed information.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 helps protect the privacy of student education records.  Generally, education records are anything where the student can be identified and are maintained by the University.  It does not include private notes held by advisors which are not accessible to other personnel or, for alumni, records obtained after graduation.  The Act provides students the right to inspect and review education records, the right to seek to amend those records, and the right to limit disclosure of information from the records.  The intent of the legislation is to protect the rights of students and to ensure the privacy and accuracy of education records.  The Act applies to all institutions that are recipients of federal aid administered by the Secretary of Education.  All students and alumni are covered by this Act. 

Directory information may be disclosed under FERPA subject to requests for non-disclosure by the student.  Directory information includes: name, address, telephone number, dates of attendance, class standing, previous institutions attended, major field of study, awards, honors, degree(s) conferred (including dates), past and present participation in officially recognized sports and activities, physical factors (such as height and weight of athletes), date and place of birth, e-mail address, photographs or other visual images.  Note that a student’s schedule is not directory information.  If a student has requested non-disclosure of directory information, their information will be marked as CONFIDENTIAL when viewed in the Self Service Center of Banner.  Even in these cases, University employees with a need to know are allowed access to this information. 

There are certain individuals who are entitled to view a student’s academic record under FERPA without written permission of the student.  Any university employee, or student serving on a university committee or assisting a university employee, may view a student’s academic record if there is a legitimate educational interest.  In other words, the information obtained is needed by an employee to perform their appropriate tasks or assigned responsibilities.  This right does not extend to sharing this information with a third party, with some exceptions including a health or safety emergency, subpoena, etc.  Parents of a dependent child may have access to student information without a student’s consent if they supply the university with a certified copy of their most recent federal tax return showing the student’s dependent status.  A release of this type must be recorded and kept with the educational record.  This release record will include what exactly was released, to whom the information was released, and why it was released. 

A student may sign a waiver of their FERPA rights on-line through the Self-Service Center at any time.  This waiver authorizes the release of academic records to the individuals identified by the student.  While a FERPA waiver permits the release of information to parents, it does not compel the release of information.  Advisors may use their discretion as to when the release of information would not be warranted. 

In talking with parents, you are always free to discuss university policies, procedures, and services as long as student-specific information is not released.  Your advisees should be encouraged to have open communication with those who provide the financial support of their education.