What is FERPA?

FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act), also known as the Buckley Amendment,was passed by Congress in 1974.

FERPA is designed to protect the privacy of students’ educational records and personally identifiable information.

FERPA applies to all educational agencies or institutions, including the University of Iowa, that receive funds under any program administered by the Secretary of Education.

It's Your Responsibility

As a faculty or staff member at the University of Iowa, you have a legal responsibility under FERPA to protect the confidentiality of student educational records in your possession. Student educational records (other than directory information) are considered confidential and may not be released without written consent of the student. Your job places you in a position of trust and you are an integral part of ensuring that student information is handled properly.

Educational Records

An “education record” is any record that is directly related to a student and maintained by the university.

Education records include any records in whatever medium (handwritten, email, print, digital, etc.) that are in the possession of any school official.

Exceptions: Education Records Do NOT Include:

  • Records in the "sole possession of the maker that are not accessible to other personnel”
  • Law enforcement or campus security records created and maintained by the law enforcement unit and used for law enforcement purposes
  • Employment records
  • Medical/psychological treatment records
  • Alumni records (those created after the student graduated or left the institution)

Directory Information

Directory information consists of information that is generally not considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if publicly available.  Directory Information is considered public and may be released without the student’s written permission, however cannot be released if the student has restricted access by updating their personal information in MyUI.

  • Directory Information CANNOT include: race, gender, SSN (or part of the SSN), grades, GPA, country of  citizenship, or religion.  Except in very specific  circumstances, a student ID number also cannot be considered directory information.
  • Every student must be given the opportunity to “opt out” or have directory information
  •  suppressed from public release.
  • A “no release” does NOT mean that a school official within the institution who has a demonstrated legitimate educational interest  cannot access the information.

 Please click here to find a full list of Directory Information at University of Iowa