FERPA deals specifically with the education records of students, affording them certain rights with respect to those records. For purposes of definition, education records are those records which are:
- Directly related to a student and
- Maintained by an institution or a party acting for the institution.
FERPA gives students who reach the age of 18 or who attend a post secondary institution the right to inspect and review their own education records. Furthermore, the right to request amendment of records and to have some control over the disclosure of personally identifiable information from these records, shift from the parent to the students at this time.
FERPA applies to the education records of persons who are or have been in attendance in post secondary institutions, including students in cooperative and correspondence study programs, video conference, satellite, internet or other electronic forms. FERPA does not apply to records of applicants for admission who are denied acceptance or, if accepted, do not attend an institution.
As a student at the University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver), you have certain rights concerning your education records under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). These rights include:
- The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days of the day that the university receives a request for access. Students should submit to the registrar, dean, head of the academic department or other appropriate official, written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The university official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the university official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
- The right to request the amendment of the student's education records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading. Students may ask the university to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. They should write the university official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the university decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the university will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his or her right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
- The right to consent to disclosure of personally identifiable information contained in the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception which permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the university in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the university has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Regents; or a student serving on an official committee, or assisting another school official in interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility. Upon request, the university discloses education records without consent to officials of another school, in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
- The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the University of Colorado Denver to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA is:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-5920
FERPA generally requires the University to obtain your consent prior to disclosing your education records or personally identifiable information contained in your records. One exception, which permits disclosure without your consent, is information about you that the University has designated as “directory information.” The following items are designated "directory information" and may be released at the discretion of the University of Colorado unless a student files a request to prevent their disclosure:
- address, telephone number, and e-mail address
- dates of attendance
- registration status
- class (i.e. freshman, sophomore, junior, senior)
- degrees conferred
Although these items are designated by UC Denver as directory information, only a limited amount of this information is routinely disclosed by UC Denver officials and the University retains the discretion to refuse to disclose directory information if it believes such disclosure would be an infringement of your privacy rights.
Forms to prevent disclosure of directory information can be obtained at the Student Service Center in the North Classroom Building, room 1003, or via the Registrar’s website at www.ucdenver.edu/registrar. Questions regarding your rights under FERPA should be directed to the Registrar's Office:
Those records directly related to a student and maintained by the institution or by a party acting for the institution are considered education records. The term "education records" does not include the following:
- Records of instructional, supervisory, administrative, and certain educational information that is in the sole possession of the maker thereof, and are not accessible or revealed to any other individual except a substitute who performs on a temporary basis (as defined in the institutional personnel policy) the duties of the individual who made the records.
- Records maintained by a law enforcement unit of the educational agency or institution that were created by that law enforcement unit for the purpose of law enforcement.
- Records relating to individuals who are employed by the institution, which are made and maintained in the normal course of business, relate exclusively to individuals in their capacity as employees, and are not available for use for any other purpose. Records of individuals who are employed as a result of their status as students (for example, work study students) are education records.
- Records relating to a student which are:
- Created or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional, acting in his/her professional capacity or assisting in a paraprofessional capacity or assisting in a paraprofessional capacity.
- Used solely in connection with the provision of treatment to the student.
- Not disclosed to anyone other than individuals providing such treatment.
This means the demonstrated need to know by those officials of an institution who act in the student's educational interest, including faculty, administration, student employees, clerical and professional employees, and other persons who manage student records information.
Any school official who needs information about a student in the course of performing instructional, supervisory, advisory, or administrative duties for the University of Colorado Denver has a legitimate educational interest.
This includes contractors, consultants, volunteers and other outside providers used by the University of Colorado Denver, such as the University of Colorado Foundation and the National Student Clearinghouse.
FERPA directory information is information contained in a student’s education record that generally would not be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. Under current CU Anschutz policy, the following information is designated as directory information:
- Student name. If provided, a preferred name will be used when there is not a documented business or legal reason to provide a student’s primary name. Students may also select a diploma name for graduation and commencement materials.
- Hometown (city, state).
- Campus email address. *
- Dates of attendance.
- Previous educational institutions attended.
- School/college or division of enrollment.
- Majors, minors and field of study.
- Classification level (e.g., freshman, sophomore, graduate student).
- University-recognized honors and awards.
- Degree status (e.g. expected graduation date and/or conferral dates/terms).
- Enrollment status.
- Employment related to student status (e.g. teaching assistant, resident assistant or work-study) and dates for positions held.
- Participation in officially recognized activities/sports, including height and weight of athletes.
- Photos and videos taken or maintained by the university.
*Campus email addresses are only disclosed to requestors who agree not to use them for solicitation.
Although these items are designated by CU Anschutz as directory information, only a limited amount of this information is routinely disclosed by CU Anschutz university officials. The university retains the discretion to refuse disclosure of directory information if it believes such disclosure would be an infringement on student privacy rights.
Students may ask the University not to publicly disclose directory information. Be aware, however, if you are seeking employment, the Registrar's Office cannot release your enrollment, degree status or major to anyone unless you come to the Registrar's Office with a photo ID.
Forms to prevent disclosure of directory information can be obtained at the Student Service Center in the North Classroom Building, room 1003, or via the Registrar’s website at www.ucdenver.edu/registrar. Questions regarding your rights under FERPA should be directed to the Registrar's Office:
FERPA allows the institution the right to disclose student records or identifiable information without the student's consent under the following circumstances:
- To authorized representatives for audit of Federal or State supported programs.
- To university employees who are in the process of carrying out their specifically assigned educational or administrative responsibilities acting in the student's educational interest, including contractors, consultants, volunteers and other outside providers used by the University of Colorado Denver, including the University of Colorado Foundation and the National Student Clearinghouse.
- Veteran's Administration officials
- Officials of other institutions in which a student seeks or intends to enroll, after transfer enrollment or admission, disability and other health records may be released in the event of an emergency in the need to protect the health and safety of a student or other persons under FERPA.
- Persons or organizations providing financial aid to students.
- Organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, educational agencies or institutions to develop, validate, and administer predictive tests, to administer student aid programs or to improve instruction, provided that individual identity of students is not made.
- Accrediting organizations carrying out their accrediting functions.
- Parents of a student who have established that student's status as a dependent according to Internal Revenue Code of 1954, Section 152; in connection with a health and safety emergency in connection with § 99.36; or the student is under 21 and has violated a federal, state or local law or a policy of the university related to the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance.
- Persons in compliance with a judicial order or a lawfully issued subpoena, provided that the institution makes a reasonable attempt to notify the student in advance of compliance. NOTE: The institution is not required to notify the student if a federal grand jury subpoena, or any other subpoena issued for a law enforcement purpose, orders the institution not to disclose the existence or contents of the subpoena.
- Persons in an emergency, if the knowledge of information, in fact, is necessary to protect the health or safety of students or other persons.
- An alleged victim of any crime of violence of the results of any institutional disciplinary proceeding against the alleged perpetrator. The information may only be given in respect to the crime committed.
- Schools may disclose personally identifiable information from education records to an outside contractor without prior written student consent if the outside contractor is a "party acting for" the institution and is performing a service which the institution would otherwise have to perform for itself (as in the case of the National Student Loan Clearinghouse for loan verification).
- Representatives of the Department of Homeland Security or Immigration and Customs Enforcement, for purposes of the coordinated interagency partnership regulating the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).
- FERPA has been amended to permit educational agencies and institutions to disclose personally identifiable information from the student's records to the Attorney General of the United States or to his designee in response to an ex parte order in connection with the investigation or prosecution of terrorism crimes, under the US Patriot Act.
- Allows the return of an educational record, or information from an education record, to the party identified as the provider or creator of the record.
- Information regarding a registered sex offender's enrollment or employment status, or any changes of such.
- If the school determines that there is an articulable and significant threat to the health and safety to a student or other individuals, it may disclose information from educational records to appropriate parties.
Provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended by the Higher Education Amendments of 1998, govern access to a student's disciplinary file. The student and/or those university officials who demonstrate a legitimate educational need for disciplinary information may have access to the student's disciplinary file.
The Campus Security Act permits higher education institutions to disclose to alleged victims of any crime of violence (murder, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, motor vehicle theft) the results of the conduct proceedings conducted by the institution against an alleged perpetrator with respect to such crime. The Campus Security Act also requires that both accused and the accuser be informed of campus conduct proceedings involving a sexual assault.
Additionally, the Higher Education Amendments of 1998 permit disclosure of the final results of disciplinary cases in which a student has been found responsible for a violation involving violence or for a sex offense.
Concerns for Student Behavior, Health and Safety in Relation to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) Regulations
Across campuses nationwide, there has been a great deal of discussion related to the privacy of student records in relation to tragedies on college campuses. Most Denver Campus faculty and staff know that FERPA protects student rights to view their educational record, access and amend records, and control what disclosures can be made from these educational records. However, many University employees do not realize that FERPA does allow them to disclose information about students who they perceive to be behaving out of character, perceive the student to have a disturbing change in their normal behavior, or generate concerns about the safety of the student or others. It is important for faculty and staff to understand that FERPA does not prohibit the disclosure of personal observations of students. FERPA allows us all the discretion to release this information under specified circumstances, and through proper channels, to appropriate personnel on campus.
What are the “specified circumstances”?
FERPA allows the disclosure of information from the educational record, without the written consent of the student, under the following: “Persons in an emergency, if the knowledge of information, in fact, is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other persons”. The Department of Education interprets FERPA to permit institutions to disclose information from education records to parents if a health or safety emergency involves their son or daughter. For clarification purposes, the Department of Education recently proposed to amend the language of a “strictly construed” interpretation, and replace it with language that states the institutions have far “greater flexibility and deference” to “bring appropriate resources to bear on a circumstance that threatens the health or safety of individuals”.
Some concerns have been expressed by faculty and staff on campus that they are reluctant to share any information with the appropriate personnel on campus if the student advised them, verbally or in writing, that they were seeing a mental health or other medical professional. Note that anything expressed verbally by a student is not part of the “educational record”, and can be shared. If the student has advised a staff or faculty member of this in writing, it can still be shared with someone with “an educational need to know” as described by FERPA regulations, which would include those listed as the “appropriate personnel on campus” below.
Again, the bottom line to recall: FERPA does not prohibit disclosure of personal observations to appropriate campus personnel about students of concern. You do not have to determine if this is an emergency that will be considered a threat of health or safety. You can consult with other appropriate personnel on campus for additional perspective, suggestions, resources, referral or assistance.
Who are the “appropriate personnel on campus”?
There are a variety of offices and personnel on campus who can be of assistance when you are faced with a student of concern. Some of these resources are listed below:
- Department Chair/Associate Dean/Director – in many cases these individuals are excellent resources and can help you to support the student and/or find additional support and resources on campus.
- CU Denver Student and Community Counseling Center – located in Tivoli 454 and available by phone at 303.556.4372. The Center is open from 10am to 8pm Monday through Thursday for walk-in or phone-in crisis consultation, intakes and counseling.
- The Campus Assessment Response & Evaluation Team (CARE) – is a multidisciplinary team that reviews and evaluates student behavioral concerns and intervenes as appropriate. To contact the CARE Team please visit www.ucdenver.edu/CARE, you can submit a concern online 24 hours a day on their website and learn much more about recognizing and responding to students in crisis.
- Community Standards and Wellness Office – located in Tivoli 259 and available by phone at 303.556.2444. This office responds to student behavior, disruption and violations of the Student Code of Conduct. Staff is available to consult regarding disruptive behavior and concerns.
These offices are available for phone consultation to you or to meet with you if you want to bring a group of staff or faculty together to problem-solve about a particularly complex student situation. Or we can refer you to other appropriate resources.
Finally, in an urgent situation, never hesitate to call Police and Security 303.556.3271, or for emergency calls, 911. (On the UC Denver campus this would be 303.556.5000 for Auraria Campus Police)
For more information about CU student mental health resources, you can check out these websites:
Some faculty think they should not reveal the name of the student and keep the consultation anonymous. However, this is key information for the consulting party as that professional may already have some information about the student of concern that should be added into the information for the best way to proceed. Some of these professionals may already have had contact with the individual and you may be providing key information which the professional would need to know to be effective. Licensed mental health professionals have strict confidentiality laws to follow which restricts their ability to inform you. FERPA allows you great discretion in informing the mental health professional of your own professional observations, as well as allows you to share information about a student with a person who has an “educational need to know”.
In conclusion, it is important for all of us to understand that FERPA does not prevent you from contacting others on the Denver Campus if you have concerns about the behaviors about a student on this campus. However, only those who are identified as the “appropriate personnel on campus” should be contacting the parents or other relatives of students. These trained individuals are most knowledgeable in human behavior, and can best determine if further concern is warranted.
Brief Description: Establishes procedures for making and responding to requests for access to and amendment of education records, consistent with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA).
- I. MAKING AND RESPONDING TO REQUESTS FOR ACCESS TO EDUCATION RECORD
- A. Access Request and Review Procedure
- 1) A student should submit a request to review his or her education records in writing to the registrar, dean, chairperson of an academic department, or other official who maintains the records he or she wishes to inspect. The request should identify, to the extent possible, the specific records the student desires to review by type, topic, date or other criteria.
- 2) The university official who has custody of the records will assemble the requested records and review them to determine whether they are eligible for access.
- a) If an education record includes information about more than one student, the student may review only his or her own information in that record. In this situation, the record custodian must redact the record before allowing the student to review it.
- b) Any questions about whether a record is eligible for review or how to properly redact an education record should be addressed with the Office of the Registrar.
- c) Before denying a student access to an education record, record custodians must consult with the Registrar, and should document in writing the reason for the denial.
- 3) The record custodian must respond to a request for access to education records within a reasonable period of time, but in no case more than forty-five (45) days after the request has been submitted to the appropriate custodian. If the records are not maintained by the record custodian to whom the request was submitted, the custodian should assist the student in identifying the custodian to whom the request should be addressed. For information about where certain student education records may be located, consult the Office of the Registrar:
- 4) The record custodian will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.
- 5) If not personally known to the record custodian, the record custodian must verify the student’s identity by inspection of photo identification or other appropriate documentation.
- II. MAKING AND RESPONDING TO REQUESTS FOR AMENDMENT OF EDUCATION RECORDS
- A. Procedure for Amendment of Education Records
- If a student believes information contained in his or her record(s) is inaccurate, misleading or violates privacy rights, a student may ask the university to amend the record(s). If the problem stems from a clerical or other error in processing, the student should contact the record custodian and follow the established process to effect the necessary corrections. Similarly, a student should pursue the grievance and/or appeal process if he or she has a concern about the appropriateness of a grade awarded or other academic determination. This procedure does not apply to students who desire to challenge a grade. Students who wish to challenge a grade should follow the academic grievance policy in their school or college. If the desired correction of processing errors is not accomplished through normal channels, or the requested amendment is not to correct processing errors or address substantive academic decisions, the student should follow the following procedure:
- 2) The record custodian will review the amendment request and any related documentation submitted by the student. The record custodian may request additional information from the student if deemed necessary to make a determination.
- 3) Within a reasonable time after receipt of the written request, the record custodian will decide whether to amend the record as requested.
- 4) If the record custodian grants the student's request, the custodian shall amend the education record and inform the student in writing of the action taken.
- 5) If the record custodian denies the student's request, the custodian shall inform the student in writing of the decision and of his or her right to a hearing on the matter. Additional information about the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
- B. Right to Hearing and Related Procedures
- 1) Within ninety (90) days of the date of the denial of his or her request by the record custodian, a student may request a hearing.
- 2) The Registrar may serve as the hearing officer, or may appoint another individual to serve as hearing officer. The appointed hearing officer shall not have a direct interest in the outcome of the hearing. The hearing officer shall not review any matter regarding the appropriateness of official grades or other such academic determinations.
- 3) The hearing shall be conducted according to the following procedures:
- a) The hearing officer shall give notice to all concerned parties of the date, place and time of a hearing reasonably in advance. The hearing should be scheduled within a reasonable period of time following receipt of the petition.
- b) The hearing officer shall give the student an opportunity to present evidence relevant to the contested part of the education record. The student may have a representative present at the hearing, but that person cannot participate in the hearing.
- c) The hearing officer may receive any evidence and testimony, orally or in writing, relevant to the student’s challenge to the record content. The hearing officer shall not be bound by the rules of evidence applicable in courts of law, but may permit the introduction and receipt of evidence he or she determines is relevant.
- d) Within a reasonable period of time, the hearing officer shall issue a written decision based solely upon the evidence presented at the hearing. A copy of the decision, which must include a summary of the pertinent evidence, shall be provided to the student, to the record custodian, and to the Registrar. The decision of the hearing officer shall be the university’s final decision.
- e) If the Registrar acting as hearing officer or an individual appointed by the Registrar to act as hearing officer determines that the information is inaccurate, misleading or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights, the Registrar should require the record custodian to make necessary amendments. The record custodian shall inform the student in writing when the amendment has been made.
- f) If the hearing officer determines that the information is not inaccurate, misleading or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights, he or she shall inform the student in writing of the right to place a statement in the record commenting on the contested information in the record and/or stating why he or she disagrees with the decision. The university must maintain the statement with the contested part of the record for as long as the record is maintained, and must disclose the statement whenever it discloses the portion of the record to which the statement relates.
- C. CONTACTS
- 1) Questions about this procedure should be directed to Office of the Registrar:
At the post secondary level, parents have no inherent rights to inspect a student's education records. The right to inspect is limited solely to the student. Records may be released to the parents only under the following circumstances:
- Through the written consent of the student
- In compliance with a subpoena
- By submission of evidence that the parents declare the student as a dependent on their most recent Federal Income Tax form (IRS Code of 1954, Section 152).
- May disclose education records to a parent under the alcohol and controlled substance exception or in connection with a health and safety emergency under the circumstances set forth in § 99.36 (if the students is under 21 years of age).
The public posting of grades either by the student's name, institutional student identification number, or any portion of a social security number is a violation of FERPA, whether done via paper source or via electronic means (including the World Wide Web).
Instructors and others who post grades should use a system that ensures FERPA requirements are met. This can be done by using code words or randomly assigned numbers that only the instructor and individual students know.
Students who have ceased attendance or have graduated from an institution of higher education have basically the same FERPA rights as students currently attending the University of Colorado Denver, including the right to:
- Inspect their education records
- Have a hearing to amend an education record, and
- Have their education privacy protected by the institution.
- Have the institution honor the previously established opt-out request.
Once students leave the university they do not have the right to request a privacy code (non-disclosure) be placed on their records.
FERPA's prohibition on disclosure of personally identifiable information from an education record of a student applies to any kind of nondirectory information (e.g., performance in class, grades, attitude, motivation, abilities, background) conveyed in writing, in person, or over the telephone to third parties.
Although such information is usually conveyed by faculty members at the informal request of the student and is usually positive, the better practice would be to request a written consent form, meeting the FERPA requirements, before providing the information.
Students may release their academic records to their parents, a prospective employer, insurance companies, etc., by providing written consent. The notice of written consent must include the following information:
- It must specify the records to be released (transcripts, etc.)
- State the purpose of the disclosure
- Identify the party or class of parties to whom disclosure may be made, and
- Be signed and dated by the student
Information about individuals should be retained according to state or University records retention schedule. Those responsible for academic information have an obligation to destroy information when conditions under which it was collected no longer prevail.
Any document containing personally identifiable information must be disposed of properly through some means of confidential disposal. If you need information on confidential disposal, you can contact the Office of the Registrar:
Denver Campus: Phone: 303.315.2600 • Fax: 303.315.2550 • Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Anschutz Medical Campus: Phone: 303.724.8059 • Fax: 303.724.8060 • Email: email@example.com