Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 as Amended

What is FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974), as Amended?

  • FERPA is a Federal Law
  • Also known as the Buckley Amendment
  • Protects the privacy of a student's educational records
  • Applies to all educational agencies or institutions that receive funds under any program administered by the Secretary of Education

All employees requesting access to systems containing student records (i.e. MyRecords, Banner) are required to have training in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as Amended (FERPA). 

What are and are not education records?

  • Records: handwriting, print, computer, videotape, audiotape, film, microfilm, microfiche or e-mail of an institution that contain information directly related to the student and are maintained by an agency or institution or party acting in its behalf.
  • Educational Records include, but are not limited to:
    • Academic
    • Housing
    • Financial Aid
    • Student Account
    • Disciplinary Files (that are not law enforcement records)

Education records do not include

  • Records/notes in sole possession of maker not accessible or revealed to any other person except a temporary substitute
  • Medical and Counseling records
  • Employment records when employment is not contingent on being a student, provided the record is used only in relation to the individual's employment
  • Records created and maintained by a law enforcement unit used only for that purpose, is revealed only to law enforcement agencies of the same jurisdiction, and the enforcement unit does not have access to education records
  • Information on a person that was obtained when no longer a student (i.e., alumni records) and does not relate to the person as a student

What is directory or public information?

". . . information contained in an education record of a student which would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed." (1988 Final Regulations)

Directory Information can NEVER include:

  • Social security number or student identification number
  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Nationality
  • Gender

See Concordia University Directory Information for those items that can be released. Before releasing any information, check with the Office of the Registrar for those with directory holds. 

Can directory information be released to anyone who requests it?

  • NO - If the student has requested that directory information be withheld, no information can be released outside of CUI except as provided by law, OR to anyone within CUI who does NOT have a need to know.
  • YES - If the student has NOT requested that directory information be withheld.

What is directory information at CUI?

Concordia University Irvine considers the following to be Directory Information:

  • Student's full name
  • Local Address
  • Email Address
  • Permanent Address
  • Telephone listings: Local & Permanent
  • Date and place of birth
  • Major field of study
  • Degrees and awards received
  • Dates of attendance
  • Most recent previous school attended
  • Classification, including status (Full-time, Part-time, etc.)
  • Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
  • Weight and height of members of athletic teams

Please note that class schedule is not open directory information and cannot be released to anyone at Concordia University that does not have a "need to know" or to anyone outside of the University except as provided by law.

What are parental rights under FERPA?

  • FERPA gives certain rights to parents regarding their children's educational records.
  • Rights transfer to the student upon reaching 18 years of age OR attending any school beyond the secondary level.

When may a parent access a student's educational records?

  • Concordia University does not request parental tax forms and therefore does not release non-directory information to parents. Please have your son or daughter request the information you seek.

How can a parent access student information for their student?

How can a student withhold directory information?

How can a student request that their information be withheld?

  • The student must request that information be withheld on or before census day for regular terms, the 2nd class day of the January mini-mester, or prior to the beginning of the summer terms by completing a Request to Prevent Disclosure of Directory Information form to prevent release of directory information.
  • A directory hold will be put on the academic record whenever the student requests it during the semester; however, we cannot be responsible for any information released after the above dates but prior to receipt of form in the Registrar's Office.
  • The directory hold remains in effect until the student requests in writing that it be removed.

All screens in Banner should display "CONFIDENTIAL" if a directory hold has been placed.

What documents does a student not have a right to see?

  • Financial information submitted by parents
  • Confidential letters and recommendations placed in student's file before 1/1/75
  • Confidential letters, etc., associated with admissions, employment, job placement or honors to which a student has waived rights of inspection and review
  • Educational records containing information about other students such as grades, test scores, etc.

What information can we release without student consent?

The law allows disclosure without consent to:

  • School employees who have a legitimate educational interest
  • Other schools, upon request, in which a student is seeking or intending to enroll
  • Accrediting organizations
  • Organizations doing certain studies for or on behalf of the University
  • Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student to determine eligibility, amount or conditions of financial aid, or to enforce the terms and conditions of aid
  • Parents when a student over 18 is still a dependent (see additional information under parental rights)
  • Certain government officials of the U. S. Department of Education, the Comptroller General, and state and local educational authorities, in connection with an audit, authorized representatives of the U. S. Attorney General for law enforcement purposes or state or federally supported education programs
  • Individuals who have obtained a judicial order or subpoena
  • School officials who have a need to know concerning disciplinary action taken against a student
  • Appropriate parties who need to know in cases of health and safety emergencies when necessary to protect the health and safety of the student and/or others
  • State and local authorities, within the juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific state law
  • Alleged victim of a crime of violence that results of a disciplinary proceeding with respect to that crime
  • Parent or legal guardian of a student under the age of 21, information regarding any violation of university policy or state, federal or local law, governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance
  • Those requesting directory information on a student provided the student has not requested his or her information be withheld

What are 2 basic steps to comply with the law?

1. Notify current students annually in writing of their rights under FERPA.

  • Right to seek amendment or correction of educational records
  • Right to have some control over the disclosure of information from education records except when release is permitted by law
  • Right to file complaints with the Family Policy Compliance Office, United States Department of Education, within 180 days of alleged violation
  • Since CUI has a policy of disclosing personally identifiable information to school officials:
    • The criteria for determining school officials
    • A description of what constitutes legitimate educational interest

Student rights are published in the Catalog each year under "Public Information Policy and Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act."

2. Grant access by students or parents, if applicable, to education records.

  • Students and former students have the right to inspect and review their education records through established procedures.
  • Within a maximum of 45 days after written request is received.
  • Institution or agency is not required to provide a copy of the education record unless failure to do so would deny access.
  • Records cannot be destroyed if request is pending.
  • Fee can be charged unless cost prohibits access.
  • Students and former students have the right to review records of requests for disclosure of their personally identifiable information.
  • Institution needs to maintain records of requests and make them available to students.

What are institutional policy and notification requirements?

As of December 31, 1996, an institution is no longer required to have a written institutional policy.

The benefit of having a policy is that we have guidelines to follow.

  • CUI has a written policy in the CUI UNIVERSITY HANDBOOK, Policy No. 481.2
  • CUI notifies students of their rights under FERPA during fall and spring registration, and in the CUI catalog

What can happen if we fail to follow the law?

  • Lawsuit
  • Loss of federal funding
  • Conviction of a misdemeanor under the Public Information Act
  • Confinement in the county jail not to exceed 6 months or fine not to exceed $1,000 or both
  • Dismissal/loss of employment

What if I have a question on what can or cannot be released under FERPA?

Remember . . .When in doubt, don't give it out!

  • You may not log in under other users account or share your MyRecords Account information with anyone else.
  • Instructors! Only you as the instructor of record may access your class information. At no time may a work study, aide or anyone else not affiliated with the course access student data through MyRecords.
    • Instructional Aid be may added to your Blackboard as a grading assistant; however, at no time should you share your ID and PIN for MyRecords.
  • If you have any questions on what you can or cannot release, call the Registrar's Office (x3081).

 

For more information on FERPA, visit the website of the Family Policy Compliance Office

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