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FERPA Q&A

When do the FERPA rights of a student begin?

The first day of class for the student's initial term of attendance at the University.

What is an education record?

Any record that is maintained by the institution and is personally identifiable to the student. Exceptions to this are medical records, law enforcement records, employment records, alumni records, and sole possession records such as notes in sole possession of the maker, used only as a personal memory aid and not revealed or accessible to any other person.

Who is a “university official?”

A University official is any person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support position; a person elected to the Board of Regents; a student or a University graduate serving on an official University committee or assisting another University official in performing his or her tasks; or a person employed by or under contract to, or serving as the agent of, the University to perform a specific task.

What data has the University of Michigan defined as directory information?

Name, permanent and local address and telephone number, school or college, class level, major field, dates of attendance, degree received and date awarded, honors and awards received, participation in recognized activities, previous school(s) attended, and height and weight of members of intercollegiate athletic teams.

Can you share a student's information with their parent?

No. Once a student reaches the age of 18 or attends an institution of postsecondary education, the parents have no rights under FERPA. Only the student can give permission for their parents to have access to their records.

What should you do if your unit receives a subpoena for an academic record?

Forward it to the Office of the Registrar as soon as possible.

Can an instructor post grades or exam results in a public place using a portion of the students' social security number or UMID?

No. In order for an instructor to post grades or scores, they must either have the written permission of the students or use an identifier that is known only to the instructor and each individual student.

A scholarship committee chair from a fraternity or sorority has asked to receive the grade point averages of their members? Can this information be released to them?

No. The student scholarship chair for a fraternity or sorority is not a "university official" and therefore may not have access to grade point averages of its members. All members of the fraternity must sign written release authorizing the scholarship chair access to their grade point averages.

If a private business requests directory information for students in your unit, must you release this information?

No. An institution is under no obligation to release directory information to anyone. FERPA only says that an institution MAY release directory information. When in doubt, refer the individual to the Registrar's Office.

Do faculty members have a right to inspect education records of any student without giving a reason?

No. Faculty members are considered "school officials", but the faculty member must demonstrate "a legitimate educational interest" in their request to access student records, e.g. advising students, retention study, etc.

You receive a telephone call from a parent claiming there is a family emergency and they need to contact their child immediately. Can you tell the parents the day, time and location of their child's class?

Generally, the answer is “no.” At Michigan , a student's class schedule is not listed as directory information; therefore this information may not be released. The answer may be “yes” depending on the circumstances of the emergency. FERPA states that if the release of non-directory information is “necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals,” then this information may be released.







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