Dixie State University

FERPA

A Parent’s Basic Guide to FERPA

According to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), DSU cannot release any information about a student without the student’s permission. If a student would like to give permission for a spouse, parent, or other family member to access their records or speak to a college employee on their behalf, the student must fill out a Consent to Release Student Information form.

If your student will be deferring admission or taking an extended leave for any reason, including military or church service, it is recommended that they fill out the Consent to Release Student Information form before they leave. By doing this, you will be able to access everything you need to help them get enrolled for an upcoming semester upon their return.

Consent to Release Student Information forms can be revoked by the student at any time. Many students choose to revoke permission upon their return home. Please do not take offense if your student revokes consent. This doesn’t mean that your student doesn’t appreciate your help. It just means that they are taking the appropriate steps to take charge of their own education as they transition into adulthood.

FERPA ACT

FERPA protects student’s rights by ensuring we don’t release any information to anyone without their consent.

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FERPA Canvas Training

All university employees who have access to student records are required to complete FERPA training.

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FAQs

What is FERPA?
  • The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974
  • Also known as the Buckley Amendment
  • Provisions to protect student record information
Why Comply with FERPA?
  • It’s a federal law enforced by the Family Policy Compliance Office of the U.S. State Department of Education
  • Failure to comply could result in the withholding of federal funds including student financial aid
  • Lawsuits caused by violations cost time and money
  • University employees may be disciplined for intentional violations of the Act
Rights Granted to Students by FERPA
  • Inspection and review of their own education records
  • Petition amendments to records
  • Some control over the disclosure of information from their records
Who is and is not covered under FERPA?
  • Students who are or have been in attendance at a post-secondary institution are covered under FERPA
  • Applicants who are denied admission or who never attend are not covered under FERPA

Note: some information submitted in an application (i.e. test scores, grades, social security numbers, etc.) will remain protected from disclosure

When do FERPA rights begin for a student?
  • When the student reaches the age of 18 or begins attending a post-secondary institution (regardless of age)
  • DSU defines “in attendance” as the first day the student attends class
What are Education Records?
  • All records that directly relate to a student and are maintained by an institution
  • These records may be in any media form: handwritten, print, type, film, electronic, etc.
  • Conversations with the student and personal observations of student behavior are not “private”
What information might need to be handled in a secure way?
  • Registration forms
  • Grades and Transcripts
  • Student information displayed on a computer screen
  • Student schedules
  • Class assignments
  • Class rosters
  • Any electronic or paper document with the student’s ID or grade(s) on it
Education Records are not:
  • Sole Possession Notes – kept by faculty/staff member and not accessible to any other person
  • Department of Public Safety Records – maintained solely for law enforcement purposes and revealed only to law enforcement agencies
  • Employment Records – of those whose employment is not contingent upon student status
  • Student Medical Records – created by health care professional and disclosed only to other health care professionals for the medical/health treatment of the student
  • Alumni Records – containing information about a student no longer in attendance
What information may be released?
  • Directory Information
  • Information for which the student has given written release
  • Information needed by a DSU employee who has a legitimate educational interest
  • Information needed by certain government agencies
What is "Directory Information"?
  • Information that may be released without the student’s written consent, unless the student restricts disclosure
  • Each institution, to some extent, determines what information is classified as directory information
Directory Information at Dixie State University includes:
  • Student Name, address, or telephone number
  • Class standing
  • Field of study
  • Participation in officially recognized activities or sports
  • Weight and height of members of athletic teams
  • Dates of attendance
  • Degrees and awards received
  • Most recent previous educational agency or institution attended
  • E-mail address
  • Enrollment status
  • Photograph
Student (and former student) Rights under FERPA
  • Students have a right to know where education records are kept
  • Students have a right to inspect their education records
  • Students have the right to seek to have records amended if necessary
  • Students have the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education if they feel their rights have been violated
  • Students have the right to expect that their education records are kept confidential except where special provisions are made
  • Students have the right to suppress the disclosure of directory information to outside agencies and third parties
Who can access student information?
  • Dixie State University employees who have a legitimate educational interest
    • Legitimate Educational Interest: a school official’s need to review student educational information to fulfill a professional responsibility
  • Others who are performing a function on institution’s behalf who have a legitimate educational interest
Parents' ability to access student information (not a "right")
  • Parents may obtain directory information, provided the student does not have a FERPA restriction
  • Parents may obtain non-directory information by acquiring a signed release from their child
  • Existence of a signed consent does not constitute a “power of attorney” empowering parents to act on behalf of the student
Employee Information:
  • Access to student information via Banner or other computer software does not authorize unrestricted use of that information
  • Curiosity is not a valid reason to view student information
  • Parenthood is not a valid reason to view student information on one’s son or daughter
  • Records should only be used in the context of official business
More Important Information
  • When in doubt, don’t give it out
  • Requests for student academic information should be referred to the Registrar’s Office
  • Information about a student can be released with a signed consent from the student
  • Information on a computer should be treated with the same confidentiality as a paper copy
  • Do not leave confidential information displayed on an unattended computer
  • Cover or put away papers that contain confidential information when stepping away from your desk
  • Records containing SSNs/Student IDs/Names and/or grades should always be shredded, not just thrown in the garbage or recycling
Special Hints for Faculty to Avoid FERPA Violations - They should not:
  • Use the SSN/Student ID/Student Names to post grades
  • Leave graded tests (electronically or in print) for students to sort through
  • Circulate class lists with student names and SSN/Student IDs (electronically or in print)
  • Provide anyone with student schedules
  • Provide anyone with lists of students enrolled in your classes
  • Include confidential information (i.e. grades, number of credits, etc.) in a recommendation letter without the written consent of the student

Contact

Have questions about finding the right form or submitting an application? Reach out to us!

Mailing Address

Registrar’s Office
Dixie State University
225 S. University Ave.
St. George, UT 84770

Registrar's Office

Email: records@dixie.edu

Phone: 435-652-7708

Fax: 435-879-4005

Office: Holland 1st Floor