Privacy Law - FERPA
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974, as amended, is a federal law that protects the privacy and confidentiality of personally identifiable information contained within student records. The University of Kentucky complies with FERPA’s confidentiality protections and adheres to procedures dealing with student education records and director information recommended by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers. More information as FERPA relates to parents and guardians can be found here.
What are education records?
Education records are handwriting, print, computer, videotape, audiotape, film, microfilm, microfiche, or email of an institution that contain information directly related to the student and are maintained by an agency or institution or party acting in its behalf.
Education records do not include:
- Records/notes in sole possession of the maker, not accessible or revealed to any other person except a temporary substitute
- Medical records
- Employment records when employment is not contingent on being a student, provided the record is used only in relation to the individual’s employment
- Records created and maintained by a law enforcement unit used only for that purpose, is revealed only to law enforcement agencies of the same jurisdiction, and the enforcement unit does not have access to education records
- Information on a person that was obtained when no longer a student (i.e., alumni records) and does not relate to the person as a student
FERPA permits disclosure of directory information without a student’s consent. This type of information would generally not be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. Every institution is required to define its directory terms. At UK, directory information consists of:
- Telephone listings
- Email addresses
- Major field of study
- Dates of attendance
- Enrollment status
- Degrees and awards received
Notification of Rights Under FERPA For Postsecondary Institutions
Documents That List the Categories of Information Designated by the University of Kentucky as “directory information” are:
- Schedule of classes
- Bulletin/Course Catalog
- Registrar’s website
Directory information may be made available, without student consent, through a variety of ways, including, but not limited to:
- The University’s online directory
- Telephone or written responses to requests from external/third parties, including but not limited to potential employers and/or scholarship agencies
- Announcements released by the Office of University Relations to newspaper, in particular students’ hometown newspapers
- Announcement of official graduations, which occur at the completion of each semester or term
The Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. They are:
- The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days of the day 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 is inaccurate. Students may ask the University to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate. 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. 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 disclosures 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 Trustees; 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 responsibility.
- Upon request, the University discloses education records without consent to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll. [Note: FERPA requires an institution to make a reasonable attempt to notify the student of the records request unless the institution states in its annual notification that it intends to forward records on request. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the University of Kentucky 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, 20202-4605
The University may release information without the student's consent where the information is classified as "Directory Information." The following categories of information have been designated by the University as directory information: name, address, telephone listing, e-mail address, place of birth, major field of study, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, full-time/part-time status and the most recent previous educational institution attended by the student. Students who do not wish such information released without their consent should notify the Student Records Office in writing.
Direct questions concerning this law and the University’s policy concerning release of academic information to the Student Records Office, 859-267-3161.
To download the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, click here.