Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

FERPA deals specifically with the education records of students, affording them certain rights with respect to those records. For purposes of definition, what qualifies as education records is specifically defined. 

  1. Records directly related to a student 
  2. Maintained by an institution or a party acting for the institution.

FERPA gives students who reach the age of 18 or who attend a postsecondary 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 postsecondary 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.​

Know What Educational Records Are 

With certain exceptions, an education record is any student record that meets two specific standards. Education records contain information that is personally identifiable to a student and are maintained by the university. They can be in any medium, including handwritten, print, email, magnetic tape, film, diskette, etc. that are in the possession of any school official, including academic advisors, professors, financial aid staff, etc.

Certain types of records are exceptions and not part of an education record.

  • Law enforcement or campus security records that are solely for law enforcement purposes and maintained solely by the law enforcement unit
  • Records relating to individuals who are employed by the institution,  unless contingent upon attendance
  • Records related to treatment provided by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, etc.
  • Alumni records

Directory Information and Disclosures

Under FERPA, directory information is defined as information contained in the education records of a student that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. A school may disclose directory information to third parties without consent if it has given public notice of the types of information which it has designated as directory information, the parent's or eligible student's right to restrict the disclosure of such information, and the period of time within which a parent or eligible student has to notify the school in writing that he or she does not want any or all of those types of information designated as directory information.

Students may ask the university not to publicly disclose their directory information. Be aware, however, that if you’re seeking employment, the Registrar’s Office cannot release your enrollment, degree status nor major to anyone unless you come to the Registrar’s Office with a photo ID. Email for details.

Examples of Directory and Non-Directory Information

Directory Information Can be Released

  • Student name
  • 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 — freshman, sophomore, graduate student, etc.
  • University-recognized honors and awards
  • Degree status — expected graduation date and/or conferral dates/terms
  • Enrollment status
  • Employment related to student status
  • Participation in officially recognized activities/sports
  • 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-Denver as directory information, only a limited amount of this information is routinely disclosed by CU-Denver 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.

Non-Directory Information Cannot be Released

  • GPA
  • CU student ID number
  • Class schedule
  • Birth date
  • Place of birth
  • Addresses
  • Social Security number






FERPA and Virtual Learning (COVID-19 Scenarios)

FERPA Resources

The AACRAO 2012 FERPA guide

LeRoy Rooker- Tina Falkner- American Associated of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers – 2012 FERPA and Virtual Learning During COVID-19, March 30, 2020.

U.S Department of Education- Family Educational Right and Privacy Act (FERPA)

Student Privacy 101: FERPA for Parents and Students

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