Your Rights Under FERPA
As a current or former university student, The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords you certain rights regarding your education records:
- The right to inspect and review your records. You may request to review your records by submitting a written request to the University Registrar or other school official having custody of such records;
- The rights to seek amendment to your records which you believe are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of your privacy rights. Requests for amendment of records must be in writing and must describe the specific portions of the record that you wish to have adjusted, instructions as to the change sought after, and the reasons why the change is warranted;
- The right to restrict the disclosure of Directory Information; and
- The right to file a complaint with the Department of Education's Family Policy Compliance Office concerning alleged failures by the university to comply with the requirements of FERPA.
Definition of Education Records
Education records are those records directly related to a student maintained by the university or approved affiliates acting for the university.
Release of Education Records
Except as provided in FERPA or other relevant law, the university will not disclose personally identifiable information from your education records unless you provide a written release. The Office of the Registrar utilizes the Student Release of Non-Directory Information Form to facilitate this process.
School officials are responsible for protecting the identity of students and keeping student grades confidential. Grades or evaluations linked to personal identifiers (names, CU ID numbers, or social security numbers) may not be publicly disclosed. Grades or evaluations may be posted only by using randomly generated codes or numbers. The return of graded papers or other assignments must also be accomplished in a manner that protects your identity.
Some records created and maintained by the university, although not covered by FERPA, may be subject to other federal and state laws or regulations regarding disclosure.
The exceptions under FERPA which allow the university to disclose personally identifiable information from your education record are stated in the full text of the Concordia University Student Records Policy. The most common exceptions to disclosure restrictions are disclosures to school officials with a legitimate educational interest, or disclosure of personally identifiable information designated as Directory Information.
Definition of Directory Information as published by Concordia University:
- Student name
- Address, phone & e-mail
- Dates of attendance
- The fact of enrollment, and whether full-time, half-time or less than half-time
- Field(s) of student (majors, minors, etc.)
- Degrees, honors and awards
- Number of credits earned, including class standing (i.e. freshman, sophomore, etc.) thesis title/topic
- Status as a graduate teaching fellow and teaching assignment
- Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
- Weight and height of members of athletic teams
Definition of School Official
A "School Official" is defined as "a person employed by the University or an entity, with whom the University has contracted [e.g. National Student Clearinghouse for enrollment and degree verifications, a person serving on the University's governing board; or a student serving on an official committee or assisting another school official in performing his or her duties."
Directory Information Restriction
You may choose to restrict the release of your Directory Information. When the release of Directory Information is restricted, the fact that you are currently a student, or have ever been enrolled at the University, will not be released to you or non-school officials.
Once you restrict the release of Directory Information, in order to conduct any business with the university, you will need to go in person to the office involved, with photo ID, or, via mail or fax, provided a written request for release. The Office of the Registrar utilizes the Student Records Privacy Request Form to facilitate the restriction of directory information.
No information will be provided via telephone. No information will be provided to anyone including parents, relatives, other students, prospective employers - who may wish to contact you or verify your student status at the university, without a written release from you.
Restricted Directory Information is made available only where an emergency is involved, at the direction of a court order, or to Concordia University staff and faculty with a legitimate educational need to know.
The restriction of information is permanent until you request, in writing, that it be removed. The restriction will remain in place even after you have stopped attending or have graduated.
Requesting Letters of Reference or Recommendation from Faculty or Staff
The Office of the Registrar utilizes the Student Consent for Release of Letters of Recommendation Form to facilitate the release of non-directory information for letters of recommendation. A second form called Student Waiver of Access to Letters of Recommendation Form can be utilized if faculty or staff requires the student waive their right to access of the before mentioned letters.
Some graduate programs, scholarships or job applications require the use of their own prepared packets and may include a form which provides a place for your signature authorizing release of non-directory information. If that completed form or a copy of it always accompanies the pages to be completed by Concordia faculty or staff members, no additional authorization is required.