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.
Review this online tutorial to familiarize yourself with FERPA and the importance of protecting students' educational records.
General FERPA guidelines
The following practices will help ensure compliance with the various laws and regulations of FERPA:
- If in doubt, do not give out information. We have 30 days to respond to most legitimate requests.
- Refer requests for information from the educational record to the appropriate education record custodian (e.g., registrar's office).
- 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.
- 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, unless a student has requested non-disclosure (suppress):
- Electronic (email) address
- Telephone number
- Dates of enrollment
- Enrollment status (full/part time, or not enrolled)
- Academic awards and honors
- Degree received
Students have two options for directory information suppression:
- Suppression of address and phone information
- If this option is chosen, address, email, and telephone number information will not be released to third parties, and name will not appear in University directories.
- Suppression of all directory information
- If this option is chosen, no information pertaining to attendance will be released.
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:
- Courses taken
- Test scores
- Advising records
- Educational services received
- Disciplinary actions
- Social security number
- Student ID number
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.