Skip to Main Content
Office of Records and Registration

FERPA Definitions

  • Annual Notification

    *Email addresses are not considered directory information

    FERPA requires universities to provide annual notification of their institutional policy regarding the privacy of education records. Universities must include in this notification that students have the right:

    • to inspect and review their academic records
    • to seek amendment to their academic records
    • to consent to disclosure of personally identifiable information contained in their student records (unless an exception outlined in the law applies)
    • to file a complaint with the Family Policy Compliance Office if they feel their FERPA rights have been violated

    In addition, the university must include the procedures for inspection of records, the procedure for amending records, the criteria for defining a school official, and the determination for what constitutes a legitimate educational interest. Each year, UNF notifies students of its FERPA policy in the online catalog, student handbook, and by email.

  • Attendance

    At UNF, students are considered to be "in attendance" or "attending" UNF when they first register for classes.

  • Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)

    The CFR contains the general body of regulatory laws governing practice and procedure before federal administrative agencies. The regulations pertaining to FERPA are found in 34 CFR 99.

  • Confidentiality of Student Records

    The practice of controlling the use and disclosure of personal/academic record information so that only authorized faculty/staff or persons specifically authorized by the student have access to such information.

  • Dependent Student

    Generally refers to a student who receives more than half of his/her support from the taxpayer. For a specific definition, refer to the Internal Revenue Code.

  • Directory Information

    Directory information is the information available about a student that is not considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. While FERPA and state law protect the privacy of education records, directory information is not treated as confidential and may be disclosed by the university without student consent unless the student requests non-disclosure. At UNF, the following has been designated as directory information*:

    • Name
    • Mailing address
    • Telephone number
    • Dates of attendance
    • Admitted college / majors
    • Degrees awarded
    • Status (full or part-time)
    • Classification (freshman, sophomore, etc.)
    • Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
    • Honors
    • Weight / Height of athletes
    • Student images including photographs, videos, or any other media containing a student's image or likeness

    *Email addresses are not considered directory information

  • Disclosure

    To permit access to, release of, transfer of, or communication of personally identifiable information contained in academic records to any party by any means, including oral, written, or electronic.

  • Education Records

    Any academic information directly related to a student that is maintained by an institution, not including sole possession, law enforcement, employment or medical records, or records created after a student has left the university.

  • Family Policy Compliance Office

    The Family Policy Compliance Office within the U.S. Department of Education is responsible for enforcing / administering FERPA at all levels of education.

    400 Maryland Avenue SW

    Washington, D.C. 20202


    (202) 260-9001 FAX


    Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. A federal law designed to protect the privacy of student records and to allow students access to their education records. This law is also known as the Buckley Amendment. The privacy of student records is also governed by state law, in Section 1002.22 of the Florida Statutes.

  • Legitimate Educational Interest

    Legitimate educational interest means a University official has a need to know specific information in a student's record. Legitimate interest refers to any authorized interest or activity undertaken in the name of the University; access to an education record must be necessary or appropriate to the operation of the University or to the proper performance of the educational mission of the University.

  • Non-Disclosure / Confidentiality

    A code on a student's academic record prohibiting the University from releasing directory information to anyone other than the student, except to school officials with a legitimate educational interest and other situations in which consent is not required by law, such as a lawful subpoena.

  • Non-directory Information

    Information that generally cannot be released without the student's consent. For UNF, this includes:

    • Email addresses
    • Birth date
    • Religion
    • Citizenship
    • Disciplinary status
    • Ethnicity
    • Gender
    • GPA (grade point average)
    • Marital status
    • UNF N number or Social Security Number
    • Grades / exam scores
    • Standardized test scores
  • Parent

    A natural parent, a guardian, or an individual acting as a parent in the absence of a parent or a guardian.

  • Personally Identifiable Information

    Any information, directory and non-directory, easily traced to the student. This may include the student's name, name of parents or family members, address, Social Security or UNF N number, a list of personal characteristics, or any other information that clearly distinguishes the student's identity.

  • Post-secondary Educational Institution

    An institution that provides education to students beyond high school.

  • Power of Attorney

    A written legal document that provides an individual with the authority to act for another.

  • Request to Review Academic Record

    Completed by a student who wishes to review and/or amend his or her academic record. This form is available at One-Stop Student Services.

  • School Official

    An agent of the University or State University System of Florida in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research or support staff position; members of university committees, boards, and/or councils; and persons under contract to the university to perform a special task, such as an attorney or auditor.

  • Sole Possession Records

    Records kept in sole possession of the maker are used only as a personal memory aid and are not accessible or revealed to any other person. These are not considered education / academic records.

  • Student

    Any individual 18 years or older or any individual who is attending or has attended a post-secondary educational agency or institution that maintains academic records.

  • Student Information Release Authorization

    To be completed by the student. Allows students to grant one-time access to non-directory information to a third party. The form can be obtained from One-Stop Student Services.

  • Subpoena

    A command issued from a court requiring the person named in the subpoena to appear at a stated time and place to provide testimony and/or documents. There are two main types of subpoenas--those that require an individual to produce documents or papers and those that require an individual to testify in court. When the University intends to release documents in response to a subpoena, the University will send written notice to the student and will wait a specified time before releasing any information.

  • United States Code (USC)

    A compilation of all federal legislation organized into 50 titles. Revised every six years with supplementary volumes issued in intervening years. The legislation related to FERPA is found in 20 U.S.C. 1232g.