The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), as amended (also sometimes referred to as the Buckley Amendment), is a federal law regarding the privacy of student records and the obligations of the institution, primarily regarding the release of information from the records and the access provided to these records. Generally the law provides that, with some exceptions, no information, applications, forms, letters, records, transcripts, etc. may be released, whether orally or in writing, without prior written consent, dated and signed by the student, specifying the records to be released, the reasons for release and the person to whom the records are to be released. The following are anwsers to some common situations you may encounter. We encourage you to learn more information at the FERPA tutorial.
Directory information may be released without the student's written consent provided the student has not submitted a nondisclosure request to the Office of Records and Registration. The records of students who have requested non-disclosure of directory information are flagged on the student administration system. The University of Baltimore has designated the following as directory information for its students:
Personally identifiable information that is not categorized as directory information (meaning anything other than specified above) may be released without the student's written consent to "school officials" whom the institution has determined to have a "legitimate educational interest," or to others as specified by law. Such information may not, however, be released to other individuals including the student's parent, without a signed, written release from the student. The Dean of Students Office houses waivers that have been signed by the student. This information is noted on PeopleSoft. Those students who have requested non-disclosure of directory information are flagged on the PeopleSoft system. Click here to see a screen shot of the do not releasesymbol.
An institution is not obligated to release directory information to anyone. FERPA only says that an institution MAY release information, but there is no obligation to do so. When in doubt, do not release information.
The privacy rights of an individual expire with that individual's death. Access to records held by an institution for a deceased person is not a FERPA issue but a matter of institutional policy. UB will exercise its own discretion in deciding whether, and under what conditions, information should be disclosed to survivors or third parties. Individuals requesting information from the record of a deceased student should be directed to the Office of Records and Registration.
FERPA does not preclude an institution from identifying students as "school officials" with a "legitimate educational interest" for specific purposes. The same requirements and responsibilities for a full time school official exist for student workers.
Students have the right to inspect the contents of their student folder, regardless of their financial status with the institution. An institution is not required, however, to release an official transcript if the student has a past due account. Official transcripts may be released only by the Office of Records and Registration.
Under FERPA, the student has the right to request that the institution not disclose Directory Information. To request non-disclosure the student must complete a "Request to Withhold Directory Information" form in the Office of Records and Registration. The student's record will be flagged to indicate non-disclosure is in effect, and will remain in force until the student withdraws the request. Students interested in restricting the release of directory information should be referred to the Office of Records and Registration.
Such things as progress in a course, deficiencies in a subject area, scores and grades on papers, exams, etc. are all examples of personally identifiable information that make up part of the student's education record. This information is protected under FERPA and the parents may not have access unless the student has provided you with written authorization that specifically identifies what information may be released to the parent(s). However, you should direct parents to the Dean of Students Office when questions such as these occur. The Dean will confirm if authorization has been signed by the student.
If non-directory information is needed to resolve a crisis or emergency situation, an education institution may release that information if the institution determines that the information is "necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals." In the case of an emergency, contact the Office of Public Safety at 410-837-5520.
General questions may be directed to the Office of Records and Registration or to the office responsible for the record being sought.