UNC Charlotte Academic Policy and Procedure: Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) Notification

I. Introduction

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records.

II. Policy and Procedure Statement

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records.  These rights include:

1.       The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days of the day the University receives a request for access.

Students should submit to the Office of the Registrar, dean of their college, chair of their major academic department, or other appropriate official written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect.  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.

2.       The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA.

A student who wishes to ask the University to amend a record should write 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 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 notified of the right to a hearing.

3.       The right to provide written consent before the University discloses personally identifiable information from the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.

The University discloses education records without a student’s prior written consent under the FERPA exception for disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests.  A school official is a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the University has contracted as its agent to provide a service instead of using University employees or officials (such as an attorney, auditor, collection agent; or outsourced institutional service provider); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance com­mittee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks.

A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an educa­tion record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities for the University.

As of January 3, 2012, the U.S. Department of Education's FERPA regulations expand the circumstances under which a student’s education records and personally identifiable information (PII) contained in such records — including their Social Security Number, grades, or other private information — may be accessed without the student’s 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 a student’s records and PII without the student’s 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 the student’s education records and PII without their consent to researchers performing certain types of studies, in certain cases even when the University objects to or does 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 the student’s 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 the student’s consent PII from their education records, and they may track the student’s participation in education and other programs by linking such PII to other personal information about the student 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.

Upon request, the University also discloses education records without consent to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll or is already enrolled, so long as the disclosure is for purposes related to the student’s enrollment or transfer.

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.  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

UNC Charlotte intends to comply fully with these requirements.  University Policy 402, "Student Records," explains the procedures for compliance. Students may obtain copies of the policy in the Office of the Registrar or online.  The policy includes a list of the locations of all education records maintained by the institution.

The following categories of personally identifiable information about students have been designated as public or directory information that may be disclosed for any purpose without student consent:  name, local and permanent address, email address, telephone number, date and place of birth, class, major field of study, dates of attendance, enrollment status, degrees and awards (including scholarships) received, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, and the most recent previous educational agency or institution attended. Directory information does not include a student's Social Security Number or student identification number.

Currently enrolled students may request that the University withhold disclosure of Directory Information by completing the appropriate form available in the Office of the Registrar.  A request for non-disclosure will be honored by the University indefinitely, unless the student submits to the Office of the Registrar a written revocation of such request for non-disclosure.

All questions concerning this FERPA Annual Notification may be directed to the attention of the Office of the Registrar.

III. Definitions

  • Dean – The highest authority within an academic division of study.  An Academic Dean heads each College.  In addition to the academic deans, there is also a Dean of Students within the Division of Student Affairs.
  • Department chair – The faculty member in charge of an academic department of the University.
  • FERPA – The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Registrar – The official at the University who is responsible for maintaining student records.  The Office of the Registrar plans and oversees registration, academic record maintenance, transcript preparation, graduation, a degree audit report system, and curricular records.. 

IV. Policy Contact(s)

V. History

  • Revised: June 4, 2012 [Paragraph four added to Section II.3.]

VI. Related Policies, Procedures, and Resources

VII. Frequently Asked Questions

  • Which students are covered under this policy?  This policy applies to all undergraduate students at UNC Charlotte.