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Understanding FERPA

Below are common situations you may encounter as a staff or faculty member.

  • Releasable Information

    Directory information may be released without the student's written consent provided the student has not submitted a nondisclosure request to the Office of Records and Registration. The records of students who have requested non-disclosure of directory information are flagged on the student administration system. The University of Baltimore has designated the following as directory information for its students:

    • Student's name
    • Campus email
    • Degrees sought and time
    • Major/minor fields of study
    • College of major and year (freshman, sophomore, etc.)
    • Enrollment status (full-time, part-time) including credit hours
    • Dates of attendance
    • Degrees, awards and honors conferred
    • Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
    • The most recent previous educational agency or institution attended by the student
    • Fraternity/sorority and honor societies

    Personally identifiable information that is not categorized as directory information (meaning anything other than specified above) may be released without the student's written consent to "school officials" whom the institution has determined to have a "legitimate educational interest," or to others as specified by law. Such information may not, however, be released to other individuals including the student's parent, without a signed, written release from the student. The Office of Community Life houses waivers that have been signed by the student. This information is noted on PeopleSoft. Those students who have requested non-disclosure of directory information are flagged on the PeopleSoft system.

  • Obligation to Release Directory Information

    An institution is not obligated to release directory information to anyone. FERPA only says that an institution may release information, but there is no obligation to do so. When in doubt, do not release information.
  • Deceased Students

    The privacy rights of an individual expire with that individual's death. Access to records held by an institution for a deceased person is not a FERPA issue but a matter of institutional policy. UB will exercise its own discretion in deciding whether, and under what conditions, information should be disclosed to survivors or third parties. Individuals requesting information from the record of a deceased student should be directed to the Office of Records and Registration.
  • Student Workers

    FERPA does not preclude an institution from identifying students as "school officials" with a "legitimate educational interest" for specific purposes. The same requirements and responsibilities for a full time school official exist for student workers.
  • Financial Holds

    Students have the right to inspect the contents of their student folder, regardless of their financial status with the institution. An institution is not required, however, to release an official transcript if the student has a past due account. Official transcripts may be released only by the Office of Records and Registration.
  • Non-disclosure Requests

    Under FERPA, the student has the right to request that the institution not disclose Directory Information. To request non-disclosure the student must complete a "Request to Withhold Directory Information" form in the Office of Records and Registration. The student's record will be flagged to indicate non-disclosure is in effect, and will remain in force until the student withdraws the request. Students interested in restricting the release of directory information should be referred to the Office of Records and Registration.
  • Parental Requests

    Such things as progress in a course, deficiencies in a subject area, scores and grades on papers, exams, etc. are all examples of personally identifiable information that make up part of the student's education record. This information is protected under FERPA and the parents may not have access unless the student has provided you with written authorization that specifically identifies what information may be released to the parent(s). However, you should direct parents to the Dean of Students Office when questions such as these occur. The Dean will confirm if authorization has been signed by the student.
  • Crisis Situations and Emergencies

    If non-directory information is needed to resolve a crisis or emergency situation, an education institution may release that information if the institution determines that the information is "necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals." In the case of an emergency, contact the Office of Public Safety at 410-837-5520.
  • Questions and Concerns

    General questions may be directed to the University Registrar or to the office responsible for the record being sought.
Last Published 11/2/17