Student Rights to Privacy (FERPA)
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, or FERPA, is the United States federal law that protects student records privacy review and disclosure rights. The law guarantees these rights for both current and former UCF students.
Educational Records are considered confidential. Under most circumstances records will not be released without written and signed consent of the student. FERPA affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. These rights include:
- The right to inspect and review educational records within 45 days
- The right to seek to amend educational records
- The right to have some control over the disclosure of information from – educational records
- The right to obtain a copy of the institution’s student records policy
- The right to file a complaint with the Department of Education.
Educations records include (but not limited to): grades, class schedule, test scores, academic standing, and academic transcripts. These records may not be released to anyone but the student and only then with the proper identification.
The following is a non-comprehensive list of information items that FERPA does not consider as educational records and therefore are not subject to a student’s request for review:
- Law enforcement records
- Records maintained exclusively for individuals in their capacity as employees. Records of those who are employed as a result of their status as students (e.g., work-study, student workers, etc.), however, are considered educational records
- Medical treatment records
- Doctor-patient privileged records
- Alumni records
- Sole source notes
- Records maintained exclusively for individuals in their capacity as employees.
Some information, called Directory Information, may be released to 3rd parties without the student’s prior consent, unless the student files a written request to restrict directory information access. Directory Information is considered the following:
- current mailing address
- telephone number
- date of birth
- major field of study
- dates of attendance
- enrollment status
- degrees and awards received
- participation in officially recognized activities and sports
- athletes’ height and weight
Students have the right to withhold the release of the preceding items by logging into myUCF, navigating to Student Self Service > Student Center > Personal Information, and clicking on the link for FERPA/Directory Restriction.
Note: for information to appear on your transcripts and diploma when you graduate, you must rescind the information hold before you graduate.
Non-Directory Information (Personally-Identifiable Information)
Additionally, FERPA specifies that UCF faculty and staff in most circumstances may not disclose non-directory information about students or release educational records to 3rd parties without receiving written and signed consent. Circumstances do exist, however, under which UCF may release personally identifiable information or educational records without students’ knowledge or consent.
Non-directory information includes any data or information that includes the student’s name, parent’s name, other family members, and the student’s social security number or student identification number (UCFID). Additionally, any list of personal characteristics or other information that would make the student’s identity traceable is not allowed to be disclosed without consent.
Information on FERPA training can be found here.
Frequently Asked Questions
According to FERPA, student grades must not be released or made available to third parties. UCF policy restricts instructors from posting grades in classrooms, or on Websites unless the student’s identity is concealed by a secure password-entry interface (i.e., myUCF). More information is available on the myUCF Grades pagelet. Faculty and staff may post grades by doing the following:
- Ask the student to supply a self-chosen code identifier. This identifier may be known only to faculty and their teaching assistant.
- Create and assign a list of randomly generated numbers/characters known and available only to faculty (or their teaching assistant) and the student.
- Ask each student to supply written, signed and dated authorization to use their UCFID to post grades. Then, post the grades using the UCFID numerals only. Faculty must store and maintain each student’s written consent.
Direct discussion of non-directory information (grades, academic performance or standing) is not permissible under FERPA without written permission or in verified and consenting presence.
Students can authorize the release of their records in two ways:
- Come to the Registrar’s Office to complete a Records Release Authorization form. Complete it and turn it into the Registrar’s Office with a photo ID.
- Go to my.ucf.edu and sign in using their NID and password.Then go to Student Self-Service > Student Center > Personal Information > Records Release Authorization.
Follow the directions on-screen and create a new release authorization.
On the next page, students will see a list of records for which you can authorize their release. This includes academic standing, GPA, and GRE test scores.
Please list the name of the person or organization to release the records to and the purpose of disclosure.
(Be specific about whom University faculty and staff can release records to and be specific about what we can talk about. Just saying “You can talk about anything” or “Everything!” is not specific enough.)
If the student wishes to have records disclosed by phone, click the box for disclosure by phone and give a passcode word/phrase.
If the student wishes to have records disclosed by email, write out the specific email address to communicate with and give a passcode word/phrase.
When finished, click SAVE.This release is in effect until the student chooses to cancel it.
Under FERPA the rights transfer from the parents to the student once they turn 18 years old or enter a postsecondary institution at any age. Although the rights under FERPA have now transferred to a student, a school may disclose information from an “eligible student’s” education records to parents, without consent, if the parent claims the student as a dependent for tax purposes in the last tax year. Neither the age of the student nor the parent’s status as a custodial parent is relevant.
Given that we cannot authenticate the identity of someone over the phone, the Registrar’s Office would relay to parents (who have met the above criteria) the information asked for in a face-to-face meeting, preferably in the student’s presence as well as a member of the Registrar’s Office professional staff.
If you have concerns or believe your rights under FERPA may have been violated, please contact the Registrar’s Office by emailing with the subject line “FERPA Concern.”
Students also have the right to file a complaint under FERPA by doing so in writing to the Family Policy Compliance Office, sending pertinent information through the mail, concerning any allegations to the following address:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202-5920
Phone: 1-800-USA-LEARN (1-800-872-5327)
- Personnel within the University that have a legitimate educational interest.
- School officials at other institutions where the student is seeking to enroll.
- Personnel or organizations determining financial aid decisions or providing
financial aid to the student.
- Parents of students where the student status is determined as a dependent under IRS code of 1986, section 152.
- Accrediting organizations in the performance of their accrediting duties.
- Persons in compliance with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena. The institution shall first make reasonable attempt to notify the student, unless the subpoena is issued from a federal grand jury, or issued for a law-enforcement purpose, and orders the University not to notify the student.
- Persons in an emergency, if the knowledge or information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or person.
All faculty and staff who handle educational and identification information for students, including class rosters and grades, are required to complete training.