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Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is the federal law that protects the privacy of students' education records. 

his law prohibits Financial Aid, Registrar, Student Account Services, and many other UNCO departments from releasing any specific student education information without the student’s written permission. Parents, guardians, spouses, etc., cannot have access to the student’s education records, including account information unless the student has granted authorization through a FERPA Proxy account in Ursa.

Find the University of Northern Colorado's FERPA annual notification in the University Catalogs.


Grant FERPA Proxy Access

Follow these 5 simple steps to provide FERPA proxy access of your student account to your parents, guardians or a third-party. Each FERPA/Proxy user assigned must have their own unique email address.

  1. Log into your student Ursa account
  2. Under the Student tab, Student Applications, click on Parent or Guardian FERPA Proxy (this will be the users information)
  3. Click on Add New and create an account including proxy information and  a Security Passphrase (used for authentication)
  4. Select the information pages your proxy should be able to access under the Authorization tab
  5. Click Submit to email authorizations to your selected FERPA/Proxy. 

Please Note: You cannot complete a non-disclosure request (Directory Hold) and grant Proxy Access. 

Student Walkthrough

Proxy (Parent or Guardian) Walkthrough

Login for Proxy accounts. 


  • Definitions

    Education Records

    Those records that are:

    • directly related to a student and
    • 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.

    Eligible student 


    A student age 18 or older or enrolled in a post-secondary institution at any age.


    In attendance

    At the University of Northern Colorado (UNC), a student is considered to be "in attendance" on the first day for which a student is registered.


    Directory Information 

    FERPA directory information is information contained in in your education record that generally would not be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. Under current UNC policy, the following information is designated as directory information:

    • 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

    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 in information contained in a student’s education records if the information is necessary for that official to perform a task within the scope of his/her responsibilities that relates to the student or to the management and administration of education at the University of Northern Colorado.  The information is to be used within the context of official University business and not for purposes extraneous to the official’s areas of responsibility or to the University.

    Legitimate educational interests would include teaching, research, public service, and such directly supportive activities as academic advising, general counseling, therapeutic counseling, discipline, vocational counseling and job placement, financial assistance and advisement, medical services, safety, raising endowment in support of student scholarships, and academic programs and academic assistance activities.

  • Exceptions

    Under FERPA, UNC may disclose your records or identifiable information without your consent under the following circumstances. UNC's policy for releasing information under these circumstances is handled on a case-by-case basis.

    • To other school officials, including teachers, within UNC whom UNC has determined to have legitimate educational interests.  This includes contractors, consultants, volunteers, or other parties to whom UNC has outsourced institutional services or functions, provided that the conditions listed in §99.31(a)(1)(i)(B)(1) - (a)(1)(i)(B)(2) are met. (§99.31(a)(1))
    • To officials of another school where you seek or intend to enroll, or where you are already enrolled if the disclosure is for purposes related to your enrollment or transfer, subject to the requirements of §99.34.  (§99.31(a)(2)) 
    • To authorized representatives of the U. S. Comptroller General, the U. S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or State and local educational authorities, such as a State post-secondary authority that is responsible for supervising the university’s State-supported education programs.  Disclosures under this provision may be made, subject to the requirements of §99.35, in connection with an audit or evaluation of Federal- or State-supported education programs, or for the enforcement of or compliance with Federal legal requirements that relate to those programs.  These entities may make further disclosures of PII to outside entities that are designated by them as their authorized representatives to conduct any audit, evaluation, or enforcement or compliance activity on their behalf.  (§§99.31(a)(3) and 99.35)
    • In connection with financial aid for which you have applied or which you have received, if the information is necessary to determine eligibility for the aid, determine the amount of the aid, determine the conditions of the aid, or enforce the terms and conditions of the aid.  (§99.31(a)(4))
      To organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, the school, in order to:  (a) develop, validate, or administer predictive tests; (b) administer student aid programs; or (c) improve instruction.  (§99.31(a)(6))
    • To accrediting organizations to carry out their accrediting functions.  ((§99.31(a)(7))
    • To parents of an eligible student if the student is a dependent for IRS tax purposes.  (§99.31(a)(8))
    • To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena.  (§99.31(a)(9))
    • To appropriate officials in connection with a health or safety emergency, subject to §99.36.  (§99.31(a)(10))
    • Information the school has designated as “directory information” under §99.37.  (§99.31(a)(11))
    • To the student
    • To a victim of an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense, subject to the requirements of §99.39.  The disclosure may only include the final results of the disciplinary proceeding with respect to that alleged crime or offense, regardless of the finding.  (§99.31(a)(13))
      To the general public, the final results of a disciplinary proceeding, subject to the requirements of §99.39, if the school determines the student is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense and the student has committed a violation of the school’s rules or policies with respect to the allegation made against him or her. (§99.31(a)(14))
    • To parents of a student regarding the student’s violation of any Federal, State, or local law, or of any rule or policy of the school, governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance if the school determines the student committed a disciplinary violation and the student is under the age of 21. (§99.31(a)(15))

    Specific legislation may be found at the U.S. Department of Education.

  • Non-Disclosure Request

    At any time, you may ask the University to not publicly disclose your directory information. Please contact the Office of the Registrar at 970-351-4862 for details and the request form.

    You should carefully consider the consequence of any decision to withhold directory 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.

    If you choose to have your directory information withheld, you will be required to come to the Office of the Registrar and show valid identification in order to transact business. We will not be able to assist you over the phone or via a non-UNC email address.

    Please Note: You cannot complete a non-disclosure request (Directory Hold) and grant Proxy Access. 

  • Parents

    When a student reaches 18 years of age or attends a post-secondary institution, he or she becomes an "eligible student," and all rights under FERPA transfer from the parent to the student.

    Therefore, at the post-secondary level, parents have no inherent rights to inspect a student's education record and the right to inspect is limited solely to the student. Records may be released to the parent only under the following circumstances:

    • Through the written consent of the student;
    • In compliance with a subpoena;
    • By submission of evidence that the parents declare the student as a dependent on their most recent Federal Income Tax return (IRS Code of 1954, Section 152) or
    • Under the Alcohol and controlled substance exception or in connection with a health and safety emergency under the circumstances set forth in § 99.36 (if the student is under 21 years of age).
  • Student Workers

    As a student employee at the University of Northern Colorado, your job may allow you access to student records or other forms of student personally identifiable information (PII). This information includes, but is not limited to, transcripts, grades, class schedules, applications and personal information and is protected under the Family Educational Records and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). This information may be in any format including written or electronic materials or personal conversations.

    As a student employee, you have the same responsibility of protecting student information as any faculty/staff would have. It is important that you understand FERPA and adhere to the regulations. You may begin by viewing FERPA for Student Workers.

    You will also be required to complete the Student Worker - Statement of FERPA Understanding and this form will be kept on file in the office where you work.

    The key aspect of FERPA that is important for student employees to understand and remember is that FERPA prohibits the release of information from a student's education record to anyone other than the student without a student's written permission.

    There are two main exceptions to this rule:

    Legitimate Educational Interest - FERPA does allow the release of personally identifiable information from a student's education record to school officials with a legitimate educational interest

    • A school official has a legitimate educational interest in information contained in a student’s education records if the information is necessary for that official to perform a task within the scope of his/her responsibilities that relates to the student or to the management and administration of education at the University of Northern Colorado.  The information is to be used within the context of official University business and not for purposes extraneous to the official’s areas of responsibility or to the University.
    • Legitimate educational interests would include teaching, research, public service, and such directly supportive activities as academic advising, general counseling, therapeutic counseling, discipline, vocational counseling and job placement, financial assistance and advisement, medical services, safety, raising endowment in support of student scholarships, and academic programs and academic assistance activities.
    • Simply the fact that you are a university employee does not constitute legitimate educational interest. Your need to know must be related to your job responsibilities in support of the university's educational mission. In other words, curiosity is not a legitimate educational interest. Just because you have access and are able to view the record of another person, it does not mean that you have a legitimate educational interest in their grades, GPA, class schedule or any other FERPA protected information.

    Directory Information - FERPA does allow the University to disclose "directory information" without a student's permission unless the student has contacted the Office of the Registrar to request that their information remain confidential.  Directory information is information that is generally considered not to be harmful or a violation of privacy if disclosed. 

    At UNC, Directory information is identified as:

    • 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

    The best practice for a student employee is to never discuss information learned through a work assignment with anyone, or to disclose any information unless you have permission from your supervisor to do so.

    Disclosure of personally identifiable information is not only unprofessional and unethical, but it violates UNC’s policy and federal law.  Disclosure could result in termination of employment with the University, loss of federal funding for UNC and criminal and civil penalties.

    Several other laws, such as HIPAA, govern the release of information for campus offices such as the Student Health Center and University Counseling Services.  Be sure that you understand the requirements and standards for confidentiality for the office in which you work before you begin work.

    For more information on ways to keep UNC data protected, please visit:

    Cyber Security Basics

    Sensitive Information Handling

  • Training

    FERPA Training

    The purpose of the FERPA Canvas Tutorial is to provide basic FERPA training to UNC faculty and staff. The university is legally and ethically obligated to protect the confidentially of student educational records. 

    To be granted access to student educational records via our Student Information System (Banner), you must review this tutorial and complete a brief quiz. IM&T and university data stewards require this tutorial be completed annually to maintain access to Banner.

    What should I gain from this Tutorial?

    • Knowledge of Federal laws and UNC policies pertaining to acceptable use, access and release of student educational records. 
    • An understanding of faculty/staff's responsibilities in complying with these laws and policies.
    • An understanding of how best to protect a student's right to privacy.

    How do I access training?