FERPA for Advisors and Administrators
As an employee of the University of Arkansas, you will most likely encounter confidential student information in the course of your everyday work. You have a responsibility to protect educational records in your possession even if you don't directly work with this information on a regular basis as part of your job duties.
This listing of confidential information is protected by FERPA and includes, but is not limited to:
- Personnel files
- Personal information
- Financial information
- Records or other forms of individually identifiable information
- Conversations about personal matters pertaining to a student
FERPA at a Glance:
- A federal law designed to protect the privacy of educational records. It also provides guidelines for appropriately using and releasing student educational records.
- It is intended that the student's rights be broadly defined and applied. Therefore, consider the student as the "owner" of the information in his or her academic record and the University as the "custodian" of that record.
Viewing FERPA Information
After reviewing the documents, test your FERPA knowledge (video).
Generally, schools must have written permission from the student to release information from a student's record. However, FERPA allows schools to release them without consent to the following parties:
- School officials with a legitimate educational interest
- Other schools to which a student is transferring
- Specified official for audit or evaluation purposes
- Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student
- Accrediting organizations
- Compliance with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena
- Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies
- State and local authorities within a juvenile justice system pursuant to specific state law
FERPA FAQ for Advisors and Administrators
This section contains commonly asked questions about your role in FERPA as an advisor or administrator.
What is an Academic Record?
Educational records are all records that contain information directly related to a student and are maintained by an educational agency or institution, or by a party acting on its behalf. A record means any information recorded in any way, including handwriting, print, tape, film, microfilm, microfiche and digital images.
Educational records do not include the following:
- Sole possession records - records that are kept in the sole possession of the maker which are used only as a personal memory aid and are not accessible or reviewed by any other person except a temporary substitute for the maker of the record.
- Medical or psychological treatment records that include those maintained by physicians, psychiatrists and psychologists.
- Employment records, provided that the employment is not contingent upon being a student.
- Law enforcement records.
- Records collected about an individual after the person is no longer a student at the university.
What is Directory Information?
FERPA has identified certain information, called directory information, which may be disclosed without the student's permission:
- Student's name
- Local and permanent addresses
- Electronic mail address
- Telephone listing
- Major field of study
- Dates of attendance
- Degrees, awards and honors received
- Expected date of graduation
- Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
- Weight and height, if a member of an athletic team
What information about students may I release to a parent?
You may disclose directory information to a parent (as with any third party) if the student has not restricted his or her directory information. If the student has restricted all of this directory information, you should respond to any inquires by saying "I have no information to provide about that individual." Confidential information may be released to parents with the express, written permission of the student.
What information about students may I release to faculty and other university employees?
Items defined as directory information may be released without a student's written permission, provided that the student has not chosen to restrict his or her directory information. All other personally identifiable information in a student's education record is confidential and may be disclosed to appropriate University administrators, faculty members or staff members who require such access in order to perform their legitimate educational or business duties, when such records are needed in furtherance of the educational or business purposes of the student or University.
May I release confidential information to officially registered student groups?
Student groups do NOT have legitimate educational interest and consequently may not be given confidential information about a student or students without each student's express, written permission.
Do I have to release information from a student's educational record?
FERPA regulations state that staff may release directory information about a student, but FERPA does not require or compel them to do so.
Who should I contact with questions or concerns?Office of the Registrar
146 Silas H. Hunt Hall
1 University of Arkansas
Fayetteville, AR 72701
Office Hours: Monday-Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.