FERPA for Faculty and Staff
- What is FERPA?
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.
- Who does FERPA apply to?
FERPA applies to the education records of persons who are or have been in attendance in postsecondary institutions, including students in cooperative and correspondence study programs, video conference, satellite, internet or other electronic forms.
FERPA does not apply to records of applicants for admission who are denied acceptance or to deceased students.
- When do FERPA rights begin?
When a student is "in attendance" as defined by the institution.
At UNC, a student is considered to be "in attendance" on the first day of the first term for which a student is registered.
- What are student rights under FERPA?
FERPA gives eligible students the right to:
- Inspect and review their education records maintained by UNC;
- Request that UNC corrects records which the student believes to be inaccurate or misleading. If UNC decides not to amend the record, the student has the right to a formal hearing. After the hearing, if UNC still decides not to amend the record, the student has the right to place a statement with the record setting forth the student’s view about the contested information;
- Have some control over the disclosure of personally identifiable information from their education records;
- File a complaint with the Department of Education.
- What are and are not education records?
Education records are records that are:
- directly related to a student;
- maintained by the institution or by a party acting for the institution are considered education records.
The term "education records" does not include the following:
- Records of instructional, supervisory, administrative, and certain educational information that is in the sole possession of the maker thereof, and are not accessible or revealed to any other individual;
- Records maintained by a law enforcement unit of the educational agency or institution that were created by that law enforcement unit for the purpose of law enforcement;
- Records relating to individuals who are employed by the institution, which are made and maintained in the normal course of business, relate exclusively to the individuals in their capacity as employees, and are not available for use for any other purpose. Records of individuals who are employed as a result of their status as students (for example, work study students) are education records;
- Records related to students which are:
- Created or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional, acting in his/her professional capacity or assisting in a paraprofessional capacity or assisting in a paraprofessional capacity;
- Used solely in connection with the provision of treatment to the student;
- Not disclosed to anyone other than individuals providing such treatment.
- What information can be released?
- Directory Information;
- Information that the student has given written consent to release;
- Information needed by employees who have a legitimate educational interest;
- Information needed by certain State and/or Federal government agencies
- What is directory or public information?
Information that can be released without the student's written consent.
Each institution, to some extent, can determine what information they classify as directory information.
Directory Information at UNC contains:
- Student name
- Student address and phone number (including local mailing and permanent addresses)
- Email address
- Date of birth
- Dates of attendance
- Full or part-time enrollment; registered credits for the current term
- Student classification
- Major field of study
- Degrees pursued or being pursued
- Degree conferred and dates
- Honors, awards and publications
- Most recently attended educational institution
- Participation in officially recognized sports and activities, past and present
- Physical factors of athletes
- Photos and videos taken or maintained by the university
- What is considered written consent?
Students may release their academic records to their parents, a prospective employer, insurance companies, etc., by providing written consent. Students may obtain a written consent form either online or in person at the Office of the Registrar at Bear Central in the Campus Commons.
In lieu of the above form, a notice of written consent must include the following information:
- It must specify the records to be released (i.e., transcripts);
- State the purpose of the disclosure;
- Identify the party or class of parties to whom disclosure may be made;
- Be signed and dated by the student;
- Student signature must be notarized if not signed in the presence of a staff member of the Office of the Registrar
- Who is a school official with a legitimate educational interest?
School Official - A school official is a person employed by the University of Northern Colorado in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person serving on the board of trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee. A school official also may include a volunteer or contractor outside of the University of Northern Colorado who performs an institutional service of function for which the school would otherwise use its own employees and who is under the direct control of the school with respect to the use and maintenance of PII from education records, such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent or a student volunteering to assist another school official in performing his or her tasks.
Legitimate Educational Interest - A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities for the University of Northern Colorado.
- How can a student withhold directory information?
Students may prohibit disclosure of directory information by submitting the Request to Prevent Disclosure of Directory Information Form to the Office of the Registrar.
The student should carefully consider the consequences of any decision to withhold directory information. By choosing to withhold directory information, the student will be marked "confidential" in our database. The student will then be required to conduct all business in person, with identification.
If you receive a phone call regarding this person, even if it is the student, you must reply with "I am unable to find any student record". Please refer the person to the Office of the Registrar for further information.
- Regardless of the effect upon a student, the University assumes no liability that may arise out of its compliance with a request that such information be withheld
- It will be assumed that the failure on the part of the student to request the withholding of Directory Information indicates the student's consent to disclosure.
- What can happen if we fail to follow the law?
Loss of Federal funding
- What if I have a question on what can or cannot be released under FERPA?
When in doubt, don't give it out!
Any questions should be referred to the Office of the Registrar, 970.351.4UNC (4862)
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