FERPA resources

FERPA policies on access to student records

Federal law, state law, and regents' policy govern access to student records. The federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the State of Minnesota Data Practices Act form the backdrop for the University's policies on access to student records.

The Board of Regents Policy: Student Education Records governs our directory information and access to student records. Additional relevant University policies include Information Security policy and Managing Student Records.

FERPA applies to student educational records, which is defined broadly. Student educational records include information provided by a student for use in the educational process, such as: 

  • Personal information (name, etc.)
  • Enrollment records
  • Student's exams or papers
  • Grades
  • Schedules

FERPA tutorial and handout

Review this online tutorial to familiarize yourself with FERPA and the importance of protecting students' educational records.

For a one-page overview of FERPA, view ASR's "FERPA: What faculty and staff need to know" handout.

Students' rights

Under FERPA, students have the right to:

  • Inspect and review information in their educational records
  • Request a correction to their record
  • Suppress the release of directory information
  • View a copy of the institutional policy

Students can file complaints with the US Department of Education, Family Policy Compliance Office.

General FERPA guidelines

The following practices will help ensure compliance with the various laws and regulations of FERPA: 

  • Do not look up information about students unless it is part of your job duty.
  • If in doubt, do not give out information. We have 30 days to respond to most legitimate requests.
  • Share information within the University only with those who have a "legitimate educational interest." (Those with a "legitimate educational interest" are University employees who have a need to know in order to carry out their defined job functions.)
  • Do not post grades or return graded materials in such a way that one student can see or ascertain the grade of another. (See detailed information about safe handling of grading information.)
  • Obtain a student's written permission for any material put in a letter of recommendation. (Or give the letter to the student for distribution.)

Directory information (public) 

The following information is public per Board of Regents policy, unless a student has requested non-disclosure (suppression):

  • Name
  • Internet ID
  • Email address
  • Home address
  • Home phone number
  • University affiliation (student, staff)
  • Dates of enrollment (term, year)
  • Enrollment status (full/part time, or not enrolled)
  • Home campus
  • Registration campus
  • Major
  • Advisor
  • College/department
  • Class
  • Academic awards and honors
  • Degree received

Students have options for non-disclosure (suppression):

  1. Suppress ONLY phone numbers.
  2. Suppress ONLY addresses.
  3. Suppress BOTH phone numbers and my addresses.
  4. Suppress phone numbers, address, email (“directory suppression”).
  5. Suppress ALL information about me (“full suppression”).

Check to see if the student has requested no disclosure before giving out any public information.

Non-public (private) information

Information other than directory information is not public and may not be released except under certain, prescribed conditions. Non-releasable information includes:

  • Grades
  • Courses taken
  • Schedule
  • Test scores
  • Advising records
  • Educational services received
  • Disciplinary actions
  • Social security number
  • Student ID number

Information requests

  • Official records (e.g., transcripts) should be sent by the office responsible for the record.
  • Note that spouses, parents/guardians, and employers are not entitled to more information than anyone else. Refer parental requests to One Stop Student Services.
  • Requests for lists of students should be sent to the Office of Institutional Research.
  • Requests for lists of students from a member of the public/someone not affiliated with the University should be referred to the University's Data Request Center.

Support

Stacey Tidball
Director, Continuity & Compliance
tidball@umn.edu