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Office of the General Counsel

Student Records

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are student records protected by any law?

    Yes. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law which affords students certain rights in respect to their educational records. The intent of this Act is to protect the privacy of students and their records.

  • What is required under FERPA?
    • Maintaining confidential student educational records in an appropriate manner.
    • Limiting access to student education records to those with a "legitimate educational interest".
    • Annual notification to students via printed material and the web through the Office of the Registrar.
  • What does FERPA mean to me as a student?

    FERPA safeguards your records privacy rights. Most important to you is that FERPA specifies that the University faculty and staff, in most circumstances, may not disclose personally identifiable information about you or release your educational records to third parties without receiving your written and signed consent.

  • What does FERPA mean to me as a University employee?

    As a University employee, you have an obligation and a responsibility to protect our students and the privacy of their information. Even if you have a "legitimate educational interest" to access a student's records, you are not authorized to share that information with a third party without the student's written permission.

  • Who has a legitimate interest?

    A school official that has a need to review the educational record to fulfill his/her job duties.

  • What "educational records" must be kept confidential?

    Any "personally identifiable" information that would make a student's identity easily traceable, including;

    • Social security number
    • Grades and GPA
    • Class schedules
    • Transcripts
  • What is "directory information"?

    Information which the University will make available to the public unless a student has specifically requested its restriction by completing a Non-Disclosure Request. Examples include:

    • The student's name
    • Address
    • Telephone numbers
    • Dates of attendance
    • Admitted College / Majors
    • Degrees Awarded
    • Full or part-time status
    • Classification (freshman, sophomore, etc.)
    • Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
    • Honors
    • Weight / height of athletes
  • How can I restrict access to my directory information?
    Students may "opt out" of having all or part of their Directory Information disclosed without their express permission by completing a Non-Disclosure Request. The Non-Disclosure Request form is available online and in the Registrar's office.
  • When does FERPA not apply to student records?
    • When the record is not an educational record. Examples include: medical records, counseling records, police reports, and employment records when the student is not employed as a result of his or her status as a student. However, these records may be covered by other privacy laws and may be maintained by other University areas.
    • Once a student is deceased, although the University continues to respect the rights of the student. These situations are handled on a case by case basis.
  • May I review the documents contained in my education records?

    Yes. Students may review all of their educational records except:

    • The portions of their educational records mentioning other students
    • The financial records of their parents
    • Letters of recommendation (where they waive access)
  • Can the University disclose my records without my written and signed consent?

    Yes, under the following circumstances:

    • To a school official where there is a "legitimate educational interest"
    • To another institution where you are seeking to be enrolled
    • To the Department of Education or state/local educational authorities (to meet legal requirements)
    • For the receipt of financial aid
    • To state/local officials as specified by law
    • To organizations doing studies on behalf of the University to improve instruction, administer student aid or develop predictive tests
    • To accrediting agencies
    • To parents of dependent students (as defined by the IRS)
    • To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena
    • For a heath or safety emergency
    • To the alleged victim of a crime of violence (information from a disciplinary proceeding)
    • To parents of any student under 21 for violation of substance abuse law or policy
    • Disclosure of "directory information" when the student has not restricted access to this information
  • Where can I learn more about FERPA?

    Go to UNF One Stop Student Services website for Privacy of Students Records and FERPA


    Try the U.S. Department of Education FERPA website