FERPA and Student Privacy
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
Student records at the University of Utah are governed by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The following is a description of the rights of students and their parents under these regulations.
The act forbids the university from releasing personal identifiable student educational records or files, or personal information contained in those files, without the student's written consent, except in specified situations.
The act extends to students and former students of the University the "right to inspect and review" their educational records. The University has established procedures for granting a student's request for access to his/her records within a reasonable time (no more than 45 days). Educational records do not include sole possession notes held privately by faculty and other academic staff.
Questions about FERPA?
Disclosure of Information
The University discloses information from a student's educational records only with the student's written consent, except:
- To school officials with a legitimate educational interest in the records. A school official is defined as someone employed by the University of Utah in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research or support staff position; a member of the University's Board of Trustees or the Utah State Board of Regents; or a person employed by or under contract to the University to perform a special task, such as an attorney, auditor or collection agency. The university may forward educational records to other educational institutions when a student seeks to enroll or is enrolled.
- A school official has a legitimate educational interest if that official is performing a task that is specified in his/her position description (or by a contract agreement) or is related to a student's education or to the discipline of a student. The official may also be providing a service or benefit to the student or student's family, such as health care, counseling, job placement or financial aid.
- To officials of another school in which a student seeks enrollment.
- To officials of the U.S. Department of Education, the Comptroller General and state and local educational authorities, in connection with certain state or federally supported education programs.
- In connection with a student's request for financial aid (to determine the student's eligibility or the amount/conditions of aid, or to enforce terms or conditions of the aid).
- If disclosure is required by a state law adopted before FERPA (November 19, 1974), which therefore supersedes FERPA.
- To organizations conducting certain studies on behalf of the University.
- To accrediting organizations to carry out their functions.
- To parents who claim the student as a dependent for income tax purposes.
- To a parent, partner or individual holding Power of Attorney that authorizes access to education records.
- To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena. The University makes a reasonable effort to notify the student of the order or subpoena in advance of compliance.
- To appropriate parties in a health or safety emergency.
As of January 3, 2012, the U.S. Department of Education's FERPA regulations expand the circumstances under which your education records and personally identifiable information (PII) contained in such records — including your Social Security Number, grades, or other private information — may be accessed without your consent. First, the U.S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or state and local education authorities ("Federal and State Authorities") may allow access to your records and PII without your consent to any third party designated by a Federal or State Authority to evaluate a federal- or state-supported education program. The evaluation may relate to any program that is "principally engaged in the provision of education," such as early childhood education and job training, as well as any program that is administered by an education agency or institution. Second, Federal and State Authorities may allow access to your education records and PII without your consent to researchers performing certain types of studies, in certain cases even when we object to or do not request such research. Federal and State Authorities must obtain certain use-restriction and data security promises from the entities that they authorize to receive your PII, but the Authorities need not maintain direct control over such entities. In addition, in connection with Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems, State Authorities may collect, compile, permanently retain, and share without your consent PII from your education records, and they may track your participation in education and other programs by linking such PII to other personal information about you that they obtain from other Federal or State data sources, including workforce development, unemployment insurance, child welfare, juvenile justice, military service, and migrant student records systems.
Consent to Release
Students may allow information be released to specific individuals by completing the online Consent to Release Form located securely within the Campus Information Services. To access the form, log into your CIS account, click on your "student profile" tile on your Student Homepage, and then click on the "FERPA Consent to Release" link.
Directory information is considered to be public information unless you request that it be kept confidential. Directory Information includes:
- Student's name, address, or telephone number
- Student ID number
- Class standing
- Field of study
- Participation in officially recognized activities or sports
- Weight and height of members of athletic teams
- Dates of attendance
- Degrees and awards received
- Most recent previous educational agency or institution attended
- Email address
- Enrollment status
The information listed above is considered public information; however, the university does not release lists of students or name-and-address labels to businesses or agencies outside the university. Likewise, the university does not release information regarding applicants to outside agencies.
A form is available through the Registration Division (Restrict Directory Information (PDF), Remove Directory Information Restriction (PDF)), or may be completed online through Campus Information Services. To access the form, log into your CIS account, click on your "student profile" tile on your Student Homepage, and then click on the "Privacy Restrictions" link. Allow 24 hours once the form is processed by the Registration & Records Division for the directory to be updated.
Requesting Access to Education Records
Under certain conditions, current and former students at the University of Utah possess the right to review or request a copy their education records. To submit a request to access your records, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. The Office of the Registrar can only produce the education records it manages and houses within its office.
Below are students' options to access their education records:
- Reviewing Education Records: Current and former students may request an appointment with the Office of the Registrar to review or inspect their education records housed within its office without retaining a paper copy.
- Requesting a Copy of Education Records: Current and former students may request a physical paper copy of their education records housed within the Office of the Registrar to keep for a fee. Digital copies of education records cannot be produced.
The Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs determines the existence, location and status of the records to which access is sought. If students request education records housed in other university offices, please contact the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs at email@example.com.
You may request a copy of your education records housed within the Office of the Registrar. The cost of each copy is $0.50 per page. There may be occasions when your record may not be copied, if doing so may compromise another student's or faculty member's privacy. The Vice President for Student Affairs, in consultation with the Office of General Council attorneys, determines the appropriateness of copying a record. If students request education records housed in other university offices, please contact the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs.
Once a request is received, arrangements for a student to inspect available education records will be made within a reasonable period of time, but no longer than 45 days after the request was received.
The university may deny access to the following records:
- Parent's financial statements.
- Letters of recommendation if you have waived your right of access.
- Records filed before January 1, 1975.
- Records connected with denied applications to attend the University of Utah.
- Records not included in the FERPA definition of educational records.
GRAMA Public Information Requests
Third-party individuals may request access to public information maintained by the university through the Government Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA). This non-education record request is managed by the Office of General Council and additional information can be found here. The Office of the Registrar does not process GRAMA requests.
Requesting an Amendment to Your Records
You have the right to request an amendment to your records if you believe they are inaccurate, misleading or in violation of your privacy rights.
- Submit a signed, formally written request to the Vice President for Student Affairs. The written request should identify the portion of the record you want amended and reasons why you believe the record is inaccurate, misleading or in violation of your privacy or other rights.
- If your request is denied, the university notifies you of your right to a hearing to challenge the decision.
- The university schedules a hearing and notifies you of the date, place and time.
- You are given full and fair opportunity to present evidence relevant to issues raised in the original amendment request. You may be assisted by one or more individuals, including an attorney.
- The university prepares a written decision that includes a summary of the evidence presented and reasons for the decision.
- If the university decides the information in the record cannot be changed, you are notified that you can place a statement in your record to set forth your reasons for disagreement with the decision.
- If the university decides that the information is inaccurate, misleading or in violation of your right of privacy, the University will amend the record and notify you, in writing, of such action.
Solomon Amendment is a federal law that allows military recruiters to access some address, biographical and academic program information on students age 17 and older. Click here for more information on the Solomon Amendment.
If you believe that your FERPA rights have been violated, you may file a written complaint with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW, Washington, D.C. 20202.