FERPA: Federal Education Rights And Privacy Act

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is legislation which guarantees to students certain rights regarding the student’s educational records.

Student rights include:

  1. The right to inspect and review your educational records. 
  2. The right to request amendment of education records the student believes are inaccurate. 
  3. The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
  4. The right to file with the U.S. Department of Education a complaint concerning alleged failures by Mount Mercy University to comply with the requirements of FERPA.

Directory or public information

At its discretion, Mount Mercy University may provide “directory information” in accordance with the provisions of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). Directory information is defined as that information which would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. Designated directory information at Mount Mercy University includes the following: student name, local and permanent addresses and telephone numbers, email addresses, dates of attendance, classification (i.e. freshman), full-time or part-time status, class schedule, major field of study, awards, honors (including dean’s list), degree(s) conferred (including dates), previous institutions attended, photographs, past and present participation in officially recognized sports and activities, physical factors (height, weight of athletes), date and place of birth and hometown.

Students may block the public disclosure of directory information by notifying the Registrar's Office, 211 Warde Hall, and filing the appropriate request to block disclosure form during the appropriate time frame. Students should carefully consider the consequences of a decision to withhold directory information. Regardless of the effect on the student, the institution assumes no liability for honoring the student’s instruction to withhold directory information. The block disclosure will remain in place until a written revocation is submitted by the student.

As of January 3, 2012, the U.S. Department of Education's FERPA regulations expand the circumstances under which your education records and personally identifiable information (PII) contained in such records — including your Social Security Number, grades, or other private information — may be accessed without your consent. First, the U.S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or state and local education authorities ("Federal and State Authorities") may allow access to your records and PII without your consent to any third party designated by a Federal or State Authority to evaluate a federal- or state-supported education program. The evaluation may relate to any program that is "principally engaged in the provision of education," such as early childhood education and job training, as well as any program that is administered by an education agency or institution. Second, Federal and State Authorities may allow access to your education records and PII without your consent to researchers performing certain types of studies, in certain cases even when we object to or do not request such research. Federal and State Authorities must obtain certain use-restriction and data security promises from the entities that they authorize to receive your PII, but the Authorities need not maintain direct control over such entities. In addition, in connection with Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems, State Authorities may collect, compile, permanently retain, and share without your consent PII from your education records, and they may track your participation in education and other programs by linking such PII to other personal information about you that they obtain from other Federal or State data sources, including workforce development, unemployment insurance, child welfare, juvenile justice, military service, and migrant student records systems.

Release of non-directory information

Students may request non-directory information in their educational records be released through authorization, in writing, and specifically including the student name, recipient’s name, which record to release and the signature of the student. Examples would include the request to send an academic transcript or the request to release grades to a parent of a student.

Exceptions under FERPA

Mount Mercy may disclose, without consent, personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research or support staff position (including safety personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the University has contracted; a person serving on the Board of Regents; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks.

More information on FERPA can be obtained from the U.S. Department of Education website:http://www.ed.gov/offices/OM/fpco/ferpa/index.html