FERPA Basics

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), 20 U.S.C. § 1232g is a federal law enacted in 1974. FERPA is designed to protect the privacy of students' educational records. All educational institutions that receive federal funding must comply with FERPA.

Definition of Education Records

FERPA covers information from “education records,” which are any record, file, document, and/or other materials containing information directly related to a student that are maintained by the institution or a party acting on behalf of the institution. Education records can be maintained in paper, digital/electronic, and other formats. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Transcripts
  • Class schedules
  • Daily attendance
  • Degree audit reports
  • Class rosters
  • Grades
  • Advising notes
  • Financial records
  • Student conduct files

The term “education records” does not include:

  • Records in the “sole possession” of instructional faculty and staff for their own use as reference or memory aids and not shared with others
  • Personal observations
  • Records created and maintained by a university law enforcement unit as part of their law enforcement function
  • Records created and maintained by medical and mental health providers in connection with the provision of treatment to the student and not available to anyone other than persons providing such treatment
  • Alumni records
  • Peer-graded papers and exams prior to the grade being recorded in the instructor’s grade book

When FERPA Rights Begin

Any person who attends or has attended UNLV is considered an eligible student under FERPA. To meet UNLV's definition of eligible student, a person first must have received an official offer of admission and must have accepted the offer of admission. FERPA rights begin either on the first day of the person's first term of enrollment or the first day that the person moves into UNLV housing, whichever day comes first.

At a postsecondary institution, rights belong to the eligible student, not the parent, regardless of age. Persons who have applied for admissions, but have NOT been admitted to UNLV are NOT covered by FERPA. Persons who have received an offer of admission but who have not accepted the offer are NOT covered by FERPA. Persons who accepted an offer of admission but who never enrolled in classes are NOT covered by FERPA.

Directory and Non-Directory Information

Directory information, which is information that is generally not considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if released, can also be disclosed to outside organizations without a student’s prior written consent. Outside organizations include, but are not limited to, companies that manufacture class rings or publish yearbooks.

If a student does not want UNLV to disclose any or all of the types of information designated below as directory information without prior written consent, students must add a “no-release” indicator on their record through their MyUNLV account. Students may also designate access to non-directory information to a third party by entering the release through their MyUNLV account.

In accordance with FERPA, UNLV has designated the following information as Directory Information for students:

  • Student name
  • Participation in official recognized activities and sports
  • Address (only active mailing address)
  • Telephone number (only the number defined as preferred)
  • Weight and height (limited to student-athletes, as defined by the Department of Athletics)
  • UNLV-issued student email address
  • Degrees, honors, and awards received
  • Major field of study
  • College
  • Dates of attendance
  • Date of graduation
  • Undergraduate or graduate status
  • Most recent educational agency or institutions attended
  • Enrollment status (full- or part-time)

Any information from education records that is not referenced above is considered non-directory information and may not be released by the institution without written consent of the student. The list below of non-directory information is meant to be illustrative but not exhaustive:

  • NSHE ID number
  • Place and date of birth
  • Social security number
  • Marital status
  • Academic status (e.g., probation, suspension)
  • Grades or grade point average
  • Testing information
  • Student class schedule
  • Country of citizenship

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