Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA)
Students attending, or who have attended, the University of Virginia are given certain rights under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy
Act of 1974 as amended (20 U.S.C. 1232g) and Rules of the Department of Education (34 C.F.R. Part 99) implementing this Act.
Student rights under the Act and Rules may be summarized as follows:
- To inspect and review the content of the student's education records. The University shall comply with a request for access to records within a reasonable period of time, but not more than 45 days after it has received the request;
- To obtain copies of education records upon payment of $0.15 per page, where the failure to provide copies would effectively prevent the student from exercising the right to inspect and review the education records;
- To receive a response from the University to reasonable requests for explanation of those records;
- To obtain an opportunity for a hearing to challenge the content of those records;
- To receive confidential treatment by the University of education records; neither such records, nor personally identifiable information contained therein,
except for directory information, shall be released without student permission to anyone other than those parties specifically authorized by the Act;
- To refuse to permit the release of their directory information;
- To file complaints with the Family Policy Compliance Office (FPCO) of the Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the University
to comply with the requirements of the Acts and Rules:
Family Policy Compliance Office
United States Department of Education
400 Maryland Ave., S.W.
Washington, DC 20202-5920
- To exercise all rights on the student's own behalf, regardless of the student's status as a dependent upon parents.
The University has adopted policy and procedures to protect the privacy rights of the past and present students. The policy and procedures describe:
- The types of education records maintained by the University;
- The titles and addresses of the University officials responsible for those records;
- The procedures controlling the inspection and review of education records;
- The procedures controlling the correction of education records, including a request to amend and to have a hearing;
- The procedures controlling the recording of each request for and each disclosure of personally identifiable information from the education records of a student; and
- The individuals and organizations who have access to a student's education records without the student's prior written consent.
Consent is not required where the disclosure is to school officials within the University who have a legitimate educational interest for the information.
School officials are those individuals who engage in the instructional, supervisory, advisory, administrative, governance, public safety,
research and support functions of the University. They need not necessarily be paid employees of the University. School officials include:
- Those University students who, pursuant to their duties as officers in officially recognized honor societies, periodicals, and other
activities which recognize or encourage superior academic achievement, require personally identifiable information (e.g. grades) from
students' education records to determine the satisfaction of specified eligibility requirements;
- Those University students who, pursuant to their duties as members of official University committees (e.g. scholarship committees),
require personally identifiable information from students' education records;
- Those University students who, pursuant to the authority granted by the Board of Visitors under the terms of the Honor System and
the University Judiciary System, require personally identifiable information from a student's education records to investigate,
adjudicate, or advise students involved in an alleged violation of the Honor Code or the Standards of Conduct; and
- A person, company, or agency with whom the University has contracted to provide services that the University itself would provide otherwise.
In order for a school official to have a legitimate educational interest, he or she must require the student's education records in the course of performing his or her duties for the University.
Copies of the University's policy and procedures are available upon request at
UREG (Office of the University Registrar) or on the web at: https://etg07.itc.virginia.edu/policy/policydisplay?id=STU-002.
The University may disclose personally identifiable information designated as directory information from a student's education records without a student's
prior written consent, unless the student informs UREG (Office of the University Registrar) that they wish to restrict the release of their directory information.
A student must so inform UREG (Office of the University Registrar) in writing within ten class days after the initial day of class for a fall semester in order to be excluded from the University’s printed directory.
Directory information consists of:
- student name;
- home and school addresses, telephone numbers;
- e-mail address;
- UVa computing ID;
- date of birth*;
- place of birth;
- country of citizenship;
- major field of study;
- school of enrollment;
- location of attendance;
- full/part-time status;
- level (graduate, undergraduate, etc) and year in school;
- participation in officially-recognized activities and sports;
- weight and height of the members of athletic teams;
- dates of attendance;
- candidacy for degree;
- degrees, honors, scholarships, and awards received;
- most recent previous educational agency or institution attended;
- names of parents or guardians;
- any unique identifying number created for the purpose of compiling, releasing, or transmitting directory information;.
- and photographic images of the student*
* It is the practice of the University to not release a student’s date of birth except as required by law or as a validation of positive
identification of a student when furnished by a person making an inquiry. Further, it is the practice of the University not to release a student’s photo created through the ID card process.
Guidance on Recent FERPA Directory Information Change re Student Photos
There has been a recent change in what constitutes “directory information” under FERPA at UVa. Specifically, photographic images of students are now considered part of directory information. This change was driven by an interest in enhancing compliance with FERPA given how often informal photographs of students are taken and used on websites and in other materials at the university. HOWEVER, despite this change, student images held in SIS may NOT be re-distributed. Students have the right to “opt out” of Directory information under FERPA regulations. Since SIS photos are created through the student ID card process and are not optional, use or redistribution of these images is not appropriate.
Refer to the University Registrar web site for full details on FERPA definitions of protected data at UVa, as well as use and disclosure guidelines.