What is FERPA?

FERPA is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99), a, a federal law that protects the rights of students and ensure the privacy and accuracy of their education records. FERPA applies to all institutions that receive federal aid administered by the Secretary of Education, and therefore applies to UVA. The FERPA statute is found at 20 U.S.C. § 1232g and the FERPA regulations are found at 34 CFR Part 99. This FAQS is a summary of FERPA rights and obligations.

What rights does FERPA afford students with respect to their education records?
  • The right to inspect and review their education records.
  • The right to request an amendment to education records they believe are inaccurate or misleading.
  • The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in their education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
  • The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by an educational institution to comply with FERPA.
What is considered an education record?

An "education record" is any record that is (1) directly related to a student; and (2) maintained by an educational agency or institution, or by a party acting for the agency or institution. This includes any information recorded in any way, including, but not limited to, handwriting, print, computer media, video or audio tape, film, microfilm, and microfiche.

What is not considered part of an education record?
  • Sole-possession records or private notes held by a school official that are not accessible or released to other personnel, other than a temporary substitute;
  • Law enforcement or campus security records that are solely for law enforcement purposes and maintained solely by the law enforcement unit;
  • Records relating to individuals who are employed by the institution (unless the employment is contingent on their status as a student);
  • Records relating to treatment provided by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional, and disclosed only to individuals providing treatment; and
  • Records of an institution that contain information about an individual obtained only after that person is no longer a student at that institution, i.e., alumni records.
  • Grades on peer-reviewed papers before they are collected and recorded by faculty.
What is considered Directory Information at UVA?

FERPA allows an institution to define certain kinds of information as "Directory Information." Directory Information may be released to third parties without the consent of the student, unless the student submits a signed, written request to the Office of the University Registrar (UREG) to restrict its release. At UVA, Directory Information includes the following items:

  • student name
  • birth year
  • major field of study & school of enrollment
  • location of attendance
  • full/part-time status
  • level (graduate, undergraduate, etc.) and year in school
  • medical residency placement
  • expected graduation date
  • participation in officially-recognized activities and sports
  • dates of attendance
  • candidacy for degree
  • degrees, honors, scholarships, and awards received
  • any unique identifying number created for the purpose of compiling, releasing, or transmitting Directory Information
When can UVA release non-directory information without the student's written consent?

There are several exceptions to FERPA's general prior consent rule that are set forth in the statute and the regulations. See § 99.31 of the FERPA regulations. In general, consent is not required when the disclosure is:

  • to the student;
  • to school officials who have a legitimate educational interest;
  • to officials of another institution of postsecondary education to which the student intends to transfer or has transferred, if the disclosure is for purposes related to the student's enrollment or transfer.
  • to federal, state, and local authorities involving an audit or evaluation of compliance with educational programs;
  • in connection with financial aid;
  • to organizations conducting studies for or on behalf of educational institutions;
  • to accrediting organizations;
  • to parents of tax dependent students;
  • to comply with a judicial order or subpoena;
  • in a health or safety emergency;
  • releasing Directory Information;
  • releasing the results of a disciplinary hearing to an alleged victim of a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense;
  • to a parent of a student under the age of twenty-one who has violated University regulations pertaining to the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance; and
  • releasing the results of a disciplinary hearing related to a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense, when the student is found to have committed a violation of the University's rules or policies.
How does FERPA apply to parents of students pursuing postsecondary education at UVA?

FERPA rights transfer to students (referred to as 'eligible students') when they reach the age of 18 or attend a postsecondary institution. Therefore, the student, and not the parent, may access, seek to amend, and consent to disclosures their education records.

Consistent with FERPA, under Section 23.1-1303.5 of the Code of Virginia, the educational records of a tax dependent student are provided to their parents upon request. Dependency information is collected from the student at the beginning of each academic year. UVA encourages parents to talk with their student regarding academic performance/grades.

How does UVA notify students of their FERPA rights?

UVA notifies students annually by email. Information about FERPA is also published in the Undergraduate Record and Graduate Record. Additionally UVA's policy, STU-002: Rights of Students at the University of Virginia Pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), is available on the on the UVA policy directory website.

How do I prevent UVA from releasing my Directory Information to third parties?

To place a FERPA restriction on your SIS academic record please complete the Request Regarding Confidentiality of Directory Information form.

Please consider very carefully the impacts of any decision to withhold Directory Information. If you choose to notify the University to withhold this information, any future request from non-institutional persons or organizations will be refused unless your written consent is provided with the request. Please be aware that this includes verification of education/degrees earned at UVA.

How do I remove a FERPA restriction from my SIS academic record?

To request a FERPA restriction to be removed from your SIS academic record please complete the Request Regarding Confidentiality of Directory Information form.

How do I request to review the items in my education records?

Students who wish to review their education records must submit a request in writing to the official custodian of the record. Students who do not know the identity of the official custodian for the records they wish to review may submit their request to the dean of their school. To the extent possible, students should specify the exact type, source, and date of the education record they wish to inspect and review.

The official custodian will allow students to inspect and review their records within a reasonable period of time, not to exceed forty-five (45) days from the date of the request. The official custodian will respond to reasonable requests for explanations and interpretations of the records.

UVA may deny a request for copies of a student's education record unless doing so would effectively prevent the student from exercising the right to inspect and review the education record. Students, when provided copies of their education records, may be charged $0.15 per page; the official custodian may waive all or part of the copying charge pursuant to established policies.

Titles and Addresses of Officials Maintaining Education Records
University Registrar Carruthers Hall
Chair, Department of Air Science Astronomy Building
Chair, Department of Military Science Astronomy Building
Chair, Department of Naval Science Maury Hall
Dean, College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences Cabell Hall
Dean, School of Architecture Campbell Hall
Dean, Darden School of Business Saunders Hall
Dean, School of Commerce Rouss Robertson Hall
Dean, School of Education and Human Developmenet Bavaro Hall
Dean, School of Engineering and Applied Science Thornton Hall
Dean, School of Law Withers-Brown Hall
Dean, School of Medicine McKim Hall
Dean, School of Nursing McLeod Hall
Dean of Students Peabody Hall
Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer The Rotunda
Dean, Undergraduate Admissions Peabody Hall
Executive Director, Student Health 400 Brandon Avenue
Executive Director, University Career Services Bryant Hall @ Scott Stadium
Director, Student Financial Services Carruthers Hall
International Student Advisor Minor Hall
Director, Housing & Residence Life Gibbons House
Director, Department of Parking and Transportation Services 1101 Millmont Street
Dean, School of Continuing and Professional Studies Zehmer Hall