Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
Student records at Utah State University are governed by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The following is a description of the rights of students under these regulations.
A student is defined as any individual who is attending or has attended Utah State University.
An educational record is any record maintained by Utah State University which is directly related to the student. An educational record does not include: (1) a personal record kept by a staff member, if it is kept in the sole possession of the maker of the record and is not accessible to or revealed to any other person, except a temporary substitute for the maker of the record; (2) records created and maintained by the Utah State University Police Department for law enforcement purposes; (3) an employment record of an individual whose employment is not contingent on the fact that he or she is a student, provided the record is used only in relation to the individual's employment; (4) records made or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional, if the records are used only for treatment of a student and made available only to those persons providing the treatment; or (5) alumni records which contain information about a student after he or she is no longer in attendance at the University and which do not relate to the person as a student.
Student Rights under FERPA
FERPA affords students certain rights with respect to their educational records. These rights include: (1) the right to inspect and review information contained in their educational records; (2) the right to request to amend their educational records; (3) the right to consent to disclosure, with certain exceptions specified in the Act, of personally identifiable information from educational records; and (4) the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the University to comply with the requirements of FERPA.
1. The right to inspect and review information contained in their educational records.
This right should be granted within 45 days of the day the University receives a request for access.
Students requesting access to their records must present proper identification and a signed, formal written request to the registrar, dean, head of the academic department, or other appropriate official. The request should identify the record(s) the student wishes 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.
Students may request of copy of their educational records. Students requesting copies will pay the current rate associated with an official transcript and $.50 per page for other records.
There may be occasions when a record may not be copied, especially if doing so may compromise another student's or faculty member's privacy. The University may deny access to the following records: (a) parents' financial statements; (b) letters of recommendation, if the student has waived his or her right of access; (c) records filed before January 1, 1975; (d) records connected with denied applications to attend Utah State University; or (e) records not included in the FERPA definition of educational records.
Utah State University reserves the right to deny copies of records, including transcripts, in any of the following situations: (a) the student has an unpaid financial obligation to the University; (b) there is an unresolved disciplinary action against the student; or (c) the educational record requested is an exam or set of standardized test questions.
2. The right to request the amendment of their educational records.
Students may exercise this right when they believe their records are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student's privacy rights under FERPA.
A student desiring to ask the University to amend a record should write to the University official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record the student wants changed, and specify why it should be changed. If the University decides not to amend the record as requested, the University will notify the student in writing of the decision and of the student's right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when he or she is notified of the right to a hearing.
3. The right to consent to disclosure, with certain exceptions specified in the Act, of personally identifiable information from educational records.
Permission to Release Student Information
With the exception of directory information, Utah State University must receive electronic consent from students before disclosing any personally identifiable information from their educational records. Students may give the University their consent to disclose information to parents or other individuals by going to http://id.usu.edu and setting up a Securityphrase or a Delegate. More information is available on this website.
Utah State University may release personally identifiable information from a student's educational record without first obtaining the student's written permission when the disclosure is to:
- University officials who have a legitimate educational interest in the records.
A University official is:
- a person employed by the University in an administrative, academic, research, or support staff position, whether full- or part-time.
- a person appointed by the Utah State Board of Regents or the USU Board of Trustees.
- a person employed by, under contract to, or assigned to the University to perform a special task for the benefit of the University, such as an attorney or auditor.
- a person who is employed by the Utah State University Police Department.
- a person serving on an official disciplinary, grievance, or appeals committee.
A University Official has a legitimate educational interest if the official is:
- performing a task that is specified in his or her position description or performing a task that is related to his or her contract agreement or appointment.
- performing a task related to a student's education.
- performing a task related to the discipline of or grievance by a student.
- providing a service or benefit relating to the student or student's family, such as health care, counseling, job placement, or financial aid.
- maintaining the safety and security of the campus and/or investigating violations of the law that affect the University.
- a contractor, consultant, volunteer, or any entity working for and on behalf of Utah State University.
- certain officials of the U.S. Department of Education, the Comptroller General, the Attorney General, and state and local educational authorities, in connection with audit or evaluation of certain state or federally supported educational programs.
- state and local officials to whom disclosure is specifically required by state statute adopted prior to November 19, 1974.
- Veterans Administration Officials.
- officials of other institutions in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
- persons (other than parents) or organizations providing financial aid to students, or determining financial aid decisions on the condition that the information is necessary to: (a) determine eligibility for the aid, (b) determine the amount of the aid, (c) determine the conditions for the aid, or (d) enforce the terms and conditions of the aid.
- 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.
- accrediting organizations carrying out their accrediting functions.
- parents of a student who is claimed as a dependent on a parent's most recent tax statement, as evidenced by a notarized Parent Declaration of Student Dependency form, stating that the student is dependent for income tax purposes. This form is available at:
- persons in compliance with a judicial order or a lawfully issued subpoena, provided that the University makes a reasonable attempt to notify the student in advance of the compliance. Note: The University is not required to, and should not, notify the student if a federal grand jury subpoena, or any other subpoena issued for a law enforcement purpose, orders the University not to disclose the existence or contents of the subpoena.
- defend USU in a legal action. Utah State University is not required to obtain a subpoena to produce educational records of a student if the University is sued by the student or takes legal action against a student. The records produced must be needed by the University to proceed with legal action as plaintiff or to defend itself.
- the Attorney General of the United States or his designee in response to an ex parte order in connection with the investigation or prosecution of terrorism crimes.
- persons in an emergency, if the knowledge of the information is, in fact, necessary to protect the health or safety of students or other persons.
- a victim of an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or a nonforcible sex offense, subject to the Definition of Terms. The disclosure may only include the final results of the disciplinary proceeding conducted by the University with respect to that alleged crime or offense. The University may disclose the final results of the disciplinary proceeding, regardless of whether or not the University concluded a violation was committed.
- interested individuals (the public), subject to the requirements in Section 99.39, in connection with the final results of a University disciplinary proceeding.
- parents regarding the student's violation of any federal, state, or local law, or of any institutional policy or rule, governing the use of alcohol or a controlled substance if: (a) the University has determined that the student has committed a disciplinary violation with respect to that use or possession, and (b) the student is under the age of 21 at the time of the disclosure to the parent. This item does not supercede any state law prohibiting the University from disclosing this information.
The University must not disclose the final results of the disciplinary proceeding unless it has determined that: (a) the student is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or nonforcible sex offense, and (b) with respect to the allegation made against him or her, the student has committed a violation of the University's rules or policies.
The final results must include only: (a) the name of the student, (b) the violation committed, and (c) any sanction imposed by the University against the student.
The University may not disclose the name of any other student, including a victim or witness, without prior written consent of the other student.
As of January 3, 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 in 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 records systems.
4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the University to comply with the requirements of FER PA.
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 20202-5901
Release of Directory (Public) Information
At its discretion, Utah State University may provide Directory Information in accordance with the provisions of FERPA. Types of information considered as Directory Information are listed below.
Directory (Public) Information at Utah State University
User ID (A-Number)
Local and permanent address
Electronic mail address
Degrees and awards received
Most recent institution attended by the student
Major field of study
Department or college
Enrollment status (undergraduate or graduate, full-time or part-time)
Participation in officially recognized activities/sports
Dates of attendance and graduation
Weight/height of members of athletic teams
Directory information is considered public information. However, the University does not release lists of students or student contact information to businesses or agencies outside the University. Likewise, the University does not release information regarding applicants to outside agencies.
Privacy of Directory (Public) Information
Blocking the Release of Directory (Public) Information
By default, Utah State University may release a student's directory information. Students may prohibit (or block) the public disclosure of directory information by completing a Privacy of Directory (Public) Information form. This form is available at:www.usu.edu/registrar/files/uploads/Records_Forms/privacy.pdf
Students should consider very carefully the consequences of a decision to withhold directory information. A privacy block will call for Utah State University to not release this directory information. Therefore, any future requests for such information from noninstitutional persons or organizations will be refused.
Although Utah State University will honor a student's request to withhold directory information, USU cannot assume responsibility to contact the student for subsequent permission to release this information. Regardless of the effect upon the student, Utah State University assumes no liability as a result of honoring a student's instructions to withhold such information.
Allowing the Release of Directory Information After it Has Been Previously Blocked
Although the initial request may be filed at any time, requests for a privacy block will be honored by the University until removed through another submission of the Privacy of Directory (Public) Information form by the student. The form provides two options for students: (1) block the release of information, and (2) allow the release after it has already been blocked.
Exceptions: One-time Release of Directory (Public) Information
A student who has his or her directory information blocked may want to make a one-time exception, while still keeping his or her directory information blocked. For example, a college may want to list all of the students who made the Honor Roll (Dean's List). The names of students who have their directory information blocked will be omitted from this listing. A student who wishes to keep his or her directory information blocked may complete a One-time Release of Directory (Public) Information form. This form is available at:www.usu.edu/registrar/files/uploads/Records_Forms/privacyexception.pdf
Utah State University cannot assume responsibility to contact students for subsequent permission to release this information. It is the sole responsibility of the student to initiate the release of blocked information.