Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

Responsible Office:
Union College Records Office
Telephone 402.486.2529

Union College maintains students' personal information and records and is responsible for the custody, release, and alteration of these records. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) requires that students be advised of their rights concerning certain personal or education records maintained by an institution or by a party acting on behalf of that institution.

FERPA Annual Notification of Student Rights

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords eligible students certain rights with respect to their education records.  (An “eligible student” under FERPA is a student who is 18 years of age or older or who attends a postsecondary institution at any age.) These rights include:

  • The right to review and inspect his or her own education records.  An eligible student has the right to inspect and review his or her own education records within 45 days after the day Union College (the “school”) receives a request for access.  A student should submit to the registrar, vice president for academic administration, or other appropriate official, a written request that identifies the record(s) the student wishes to inspect.  The school official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.  If the records are not maintained by the school official to whom the request was submitted, that person shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
     
  • The right to request an amendment of the education record. An eligible student has the right to seek amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes to be inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA.
    • A student who wishes to ask the school to amend a record should write the school official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record the student wants changed, and specify why it should be changed.
    • The school will, within a reasonable time after receiving the request, decide whether to amend the record as requested.
    • If the school decides not to amend the record as requested, the school will notify the student in writing of the decision and the student’s right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment.  Additional information will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
       
  • The right to provide written consent before personally identifiable information is disclosed, except when FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.  An eligible student has the right to provide written consent before the school discloses personally identifiable information (PII) from the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.

    The school may, and from time to time does, disclose education records without a student’s prior written consent when authorized by FERPA, including to school officials whom the school has determined to have legitimate educational interests.  Union College defines “school officials” and “legitimate educational interests” as follows:
    • “School officials” include (a) persons employed by Union College in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or clerical/support staff position (including but not limited to law enforcement unit personnel, attorneys, counselors, student workers, and health staff); (b) persons serving on the board of trustees; or (c) persons (including students) serving on an official school committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee.  A school official may also include a volunteer, contractor, consultant or other party outside of Union College (i) who performs an institutional service or function for which the school would otherwise use its own employees, (ii) who is under the direct control of the school with respect to the use and maintenance of education records, such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent or a student volunteering to assist another school official in performing his or her tasks, and (iii) who is subject to the obligation not to disclose PII from any education record without the prior written consent of the student. A school official typically has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an educa­tion record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities for the school.
    • “Legitimate educational interests” include performing a task or engaging in an activity related to (i) one’s regular duties or professional responsibilities for the school, (ii) a student’s education, (iii) the discipline of a student, (iv) a service to or benefit for a student, (v) measures to support student success, and (vi) the safety and security of the campus. 
    • Upon request, the school also discloses education records without consent to offi­cials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll. In these situations, Union College will forward records on request of another school or if the disclosure is initiated by the student.
       
  • The right to file a complaint.  An eligible student has the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Union College to comply with the requirements of FERPA.  The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is:

       Family Policy Compliance Office
       U.S. Department of Education
       400 Maryland Avenue, SW
       Washington, DC  20202

Union College reserves the right to deny copies of transcripts or other records, not required to be made available under FERPA, if the student has an overdue financial obligation to the college or if there is an unresolved disciplinary or academic dishonesty action against the student.


When does FERPA permit disclosure of personally identifiable information (PII) without student consent?

FERPA permits the disclosure of PII from students’ education records, without consent of the student, if the disclosure meets certain conditions found in §99.31 of the FERPA regulations.  Except for disclosures to school officials (as defined above), disclosures related to some judicial orders or lawfully issued subpoenas, disclosures of directory information, and disclosures to the student, §99.32 of FERPA regulations requires the institution to record the disclosure.  Eligible students have a right to inspect and review the record of disclosures.  

The school may disclose PII from the education records without obtaining prior written consent of an eligible student —

  • To other school officials, including teachers, within Union College whom the school has determined to have legitimate educational interests, as described above under paragraph 3. This includes contractors, consultants, volunteers, or other parties to whom the school has outsourced institutional services or functions, provided that certain conditions are met. (§99.31(a)(1))
  • To officials of another school where the student seeks or intends to enroll, or where the student is already enrolled if the disclosure is for purposes related to the student’s enrollment or transfer, subject to the requirements of §99.34. (§99.31(a)(2))
  • To authorized representatives of the U. S. Comptroller General, the U. S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or State and local educational authorities, such as a State postsecondary authority that is responsible for supervising the school’s State-supported education programs. Disclosures under this provision may be made, subject to the requirements of §99.35, in connection with an audit or evaluation of Federal- or State-supported education programs, or for the enforcement of or compliance with Federal legal requirements that relate to those programs. These entities may make further disclosures of PII to outside entities that are designated by them as their authorized representatives to conduct any audit, evaluation, or enforcement or compliance activity on their behalf. (§§99.31(a)(3) and 99.35)
  • In connection with financial aid for which the student has applied or which the student has received, if the information is necessary to determine eligibility for the aid, determine the amount of the aid, determine the conditions of the aid, or enforce the terms and conditions of the aid. (§99.31(a)(4))
  • To certain state and local officials or authorities when authorized by state statute in certain cases.  (§99.31(a)(5))
  • To organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, the school, in order to:  (a) develop, validate, or administer predictive tests; (b) administer student aid programs; or (c) improve instruction.  (§99.31(a)(6))
  • To accrediting organizations to carry out their accrediting functions.  (§99.31(a)(7))
  • To parents of an eligible student if the student is a dependent for IRS tax purposes.  (§99.31(a)(8))
  • To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena.  (§99.31(a)(9))
  • To appropriate officials in connection with a health or safety emergency, subject to §99.36.  (§99.31(a)(10))
  • When it is information the school has designated as “directory information” under §99.37.  (§99.31(a)(11))
  • To a victim of an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense, subject to the requirements of §99.39.  The disclosure may only include the final results of the disciplinary proceeding with respect to that alleged crime or offense, regardless of the finding.  (§99.31(a)(13))
  • To the general public, the final results of a disciplinary proceeding, subject to the requirements of §99.39, if the school determines the student is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense and the student has committed a violation of the school’s rules or policies with respect to the allegation made against him or her. (§99.31(a)(14))
  • To parents of a student regarding the student’s violation of any Federal, State, or local law, or of any rule or policy of the school, governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance if the school determines the student committed a disciplinary violation and the student is under the age of 21. (§99.31(a)(15))

Directory Information

Institutions may disclose a student’s “Directory Information” without the student’s consent and without violating FERPA if the student has not restricted his/her personal information.  Union College considers the following to be “Directory Information”:

  • name 
  • student id                                                                    
  • home address
  • hometown
  • local address
  • email address
  • home telephone number
  • local telephone number
  • birthday (month and day)
  • class level and major
  • dates of attendance at Union College
  • degrees and awards received at Union College
  • academic recognition
  • photograph
  • institutions attended prior to admission to Union College
  • participation in recognized activities and sports at Union College
     

Request to Restrict Directory Information

While attending Union College, students may request to restrict the release of their Directory Information except to school officials with a legitimate educational interest, as outlined in item 3 above.  In order to restrict information, a signed and dated request must be made in writing to the Office of the Registrar, Union College, 3800 S 48th Street, Lincoln, NE  68506.  Should the student graduate or otherwise leave the school, this restriction will remain in effect.  The college assumes that failure on the part of the student to specifically request the withholding of Directory Information indicates approval for disclosure.  Note:  Once a student’s record has been made confidential, no information can be shared about the individual without the student’s written consent. In such a case, problems may occur thereafter when potential employers or other parties make inquiries about the student. Regardless of the effect upon the student, the institution assumes no liability as a consequence of honoring instructions that Directory Information be withheld.