FERPA Tutorial

This tutorial is designed to give you a better understanding of the FERPA Law and how it relates to the University setting.

FERPA is a federal law that protects students. This law gives students five rights.

  • The right to inspect and review education records.
  • The right to seek the amendment of education records.
  • The right to consent to the disclosure of education records.
  • The right to obtain a copy of the school's FERPA policy.
  • The right to file a complaint with the FERPA Office in Washington, D.C.

What are Education Records?

Student education records are official and confidential documents protected by FERPA, includes all records which are related to a student and maintained by UNK.

These records can be in any media: handwritten, print, type, film, electronic, etc.

Education Records DO NOT Include:

  • Personal notes by faculty/staff which are not shared with others (memory joggers)
  • Law enforcement/public safety records maintained solely for law enforcement purposes
  • Employment records where employment is not connected to student status
  • Records related to treatment by a heath care professional used only for medical/health treatment of the student

Disclosure of Education Records

Generally, the university must have written permission from the student before releasing information from the student's record.

One exception is categorized as directory information.

Directory Information

Certain information, known as "Directory Information" may be released without the student's consent. Directory information is defined as:

  • Student Name
  • Major field of study
  • Dates of Attendance
  • Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
  • Degrees and awards received
  • Most recent previous education institution or agency attended
  • Current enrollment status

Take Note!

A student has the option to request that NO directory information be released. In order to maintain directory information as confidential, a student must sign a Directory Restriction Form at the Office of the Registrar at the end of the first week of each semester or summer term for which the restriction is to be in place.

If the student elects to have directory information remain confidential then NO INFORMATION CAN BE RELEASED!

Access to student education records

Under certain circumstances, confidential (non-directory) education records can be released without a student's prior consent.

For example, to comply with a lawfully issued subpoena or to school officials who have a "legitimate education interest" (or a legal "right to know")

What is "Legitimate Educational Interest"?

A Legitimate Educational Interest exists when the school official is:

  • performing a task that is specified in his/her position description or contract;
  • performing a task related to a student's education or to student discipline;
  • providing a service or benefit to the student;
  • maintaining safety and security on campus.

Remember Access to SIS does NOT authorize unrestricted use of student data!

Records should be used only in the context of official business in conjunction with the educational success of the student

Curiosity does not qualify as a legal right to know.

What about PARENTS?

At the post-secondary level, parents have no inherent rights to inspect a student's records.

The right to inspect is limited solely to the student.

At UNK, information from the student's records may be released to parents ONLY with the written consent of the student.

A few important points

Check a student's directory restrictions before you answer any questions.

Information may be released with a signed consent from the student.

Information viewed on a computer screen should be treated with the same confidentiality as paper records.

When in Doubt

When in doubt, DO NOT release information. Consult with the Office of Student Records.

"OOPS" is not acceptable when it comes to disclosure of education records!