FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act)

The following is for informational purposes only and does not constitute an offer of a contract. If there are any inconsistencies with the University of Missouri’s policy, the UM System policies apply.

Direct any questions to the Office of the University Registrar at  573-882-7881.


Overview

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 is a federal law designed to protect the privacy of educational records; to establish the rights of students to inspect and review their education records; and to provide guidelines for the correction of inaccurate and misleading data through informal and formal hearings. The law applies to any individual who is or has been in attendance at an institution and regarding whom the institution maintains educational records.

Once students have matriculated to the University of Missouri, i.e. enrolled in course work, FERPA rights transfer to the student, regardless of the student’s age.


 

Primary rights under FERPA

  1. To inspect and review educational records
  2. To seek to amend educational records through informal and formal hearings
  3. To have some control over the release of information about educational records

Educational Records

Educational Records contain information that is directly related to a student and are maintained by an educational agency or
institution, or by a third party acting on the behalf of the agency or institution.

Examples include:

  • Handwritten notes
  • Computer files/generated information
  • Printed information
  • Video or audio tapes
  • Film
  • Microfilm or microfiche
  • Any information maintained in any way about a student

Directory Information

Directory information may be shared, unless restricted. Directory information is information that is generally not considered to be harmful or an invasion of privacy if released.

Examples include but are not limited to: name, address, telephone listings, major and level (year in school). See chapter 180.020 Student Records on the University of Missouri Collected Rules and Regulations.

Students wanting to restrict their directory information from the University of Missouri online directory must change their Privacy Settings in myZou, which restricts your directory information from being released. You can change this in myZou by going to Student Center > Personal Information > Other Personal > Privacy Settings > FERPA-Restrict Release of Personal Information.

If students wish only to restrict publication of telephone number and/or address, students may do so by going to Student Center > Personal Information > Other Personal > Privacy Settings > Outlook Directory Options.

The online directory may be updated at any time via myZou.

Unless covered by an exception, staff may not release:

  • Social Security number
  • Student number
  • Date of Birth
  • Race/ethnicity/nationality
  • Gender
  • Grades
  • Other personally identifiable information without written consent or when covered by an exception.

To release information other than directory information, students must authorize access to non-directory information for third parties, including parents (available on-line or for those who can’t access it, by request from the Office of the University Registrar, 130 Jesse Hall.)

The consent must specify records to be disclosed state the purpose of the disclosure and identify the party or class of parties to whom the disclosure must be made.

View the complete University of Missouri policies related to the sharing of student’s record information.

Exceptions

Although not required, institutions may release information from student records without prior consent:

  • To school officials with legitimate educational interest (as defined by institution within FERPA guidelines)
  • To schools in which the student seeks or intends to enroll
  • To federal, state and local authorities involving an audit or evaluation of compliance with education programs
  • In connection with financial aid
  • To organizations conducting studies of or on behalf of educational institutions (provided the institutions research board has cleared the research)
  • To accrediting agencies
  • To parents of dependent students (as verified by the most recent tax form)
  • To comply with a judicial order or subpoena
  • In health or safety emergencies
  • As directory information
  • To the student
  • Results of disciplinary hearings
  • Results of disciplinary hearing to an alleged victim of a crime of violence
  • Final results of a disciplinary hearing concerning a student who is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence and who is found to have committed a violation of the institution’s rules or policies
  • To parents of students under 21 if the institution determines that the student has committed a violation of its drug or alcohol rules or policies (regardless of the student’s dependent status)
  • For additional information see the Office of the University Registrar FERPA Exceptions

Legitimate Educational Interest

The University discloses education records without a student’s prior written consent under the FERPA exception for disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests.

As of January 1 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 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’s records systems.

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 as its agent to provide a service instead of using University employees or officials (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Curators; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks.

A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities for the University.