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FERPA, The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

FERPA, The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, is the federal law that pertains to the release of and access to student educational records.

To whom does FERPA apply? 

FERPA rights apply to a student, a person who is or who has been attending this institution regardless of age.

How does it apply to me as a student? 

FERPA applies to personally identifiable information in educational records. Personal identifiable information includes items such as the student's name, social security numbers, and personal characteristics or other information that make the student identity easily accessible or traceable.

What are Educational Records? 

All records that contain information that are directly related to students and maintained by an educational agency or institution or by a party acting on their behalf. Educational record means any information recorded in any way, including but not limited to handwriting, print, tape, film, microfilm, microfiche and digital image.

What is not included in my educational record?

  • Sole possession records (note kept in sole possession of the maker: ex. personal notes or personal memory aids)
  • Medical or psychological treatment records
  • Employment records, where the employment is not dependent on being a student
  • Law Enforcement records
  • Records that may be collected after an individual is not a student at this institution

What are my rights under FERPA as a student?

Students have the right to:
  • Inspect and review their educational record
  • Request to make amendments to their information if their inaccuracy on record
  • Have some control over disclosure of information from his or her educational record

Can I allow my parents to access my educational records?

Yes, you will need to complete a FERPA release form and have it put into your file in the Office of the Registrar.

Under FERPA what is considered Directory Information?

FERPA identifies certain information as directory information, which can be disclosed without the student's permission. Here is what the University defines as directory information:

  • Name
  • Local and permanent addresses
  • Email address
  • Telephone number
  • Place of birth
  • Field of study
  • Dates of attendance
  • Enrollment status
  • Student classification (freshman, sophomore, etc.)
  • Degrees awarded
  • Certificates awarded
  • Photograph
  • Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
  • Weight and height of members of athletic teams
  • Most recent previous educational agency or institution attended

How can I keep from having my directory information released?

Students may have any or all directory information withheld by updating their FERPA flag in my.utpb.edu > My Account > FERPA Restrictions, during the first 12 days of class of a fall or spring semester or the first 4 class days of a summer semester. 

Students may update their account any time during the semester, but information may be released prior to the flag being updated.  A student who has asked to be excluded from any directory information release will remain flagged until the student requests that the flag be removed.

Where can I find more information about FERPA?

FERPA is thoroughly detailed in the university catalog.

Complaints regarding alleged failure to comply with the provision of the FERPA may be submitted in writing to the Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 600 Independence Avenue S.W., Washington, D.C. 20202-4605

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