FERPA Basics

FERPA is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and is a federal law that was enacted in 1974. FERPA protects the privacy of student education records. All educational institutions that receive federal funding must comply with FERPA

As a Faculty or Staff member, it is important to understand student rights under FERPA. As an employee, you are obligated to comply with FERPA and to protect those records according to the law. If you receive a request from a 3rd party for a student's information, locate and verify a 3rd Party Release before complying with the request.

*One-Time only training for security access

University of Nevada Las Vegas Procedure for Requests to Inspect Education Records

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), 20 U.S.C. § 1232g, provides current and former students with the right to inspect and review their education records. This procedure describes how current and former students can exercise that right. For more information regarding your rights under FERPA, please read FERPA Basics above.

It is important to understand that FERPA protects the education records of all students. Other laws and policies also provide protection for the records of other campus community members. This means that you only have the right to review education records that relate to you and, additionally, when you view your education records, those records may be redacted to protect other campus community members’ privacy rights.

Procedure for Inspecting and Reviewing Your Education Records:

  1. A current or former student must make their request to access their education records in writing or by filling out the appropriate university Student Request to Inspect Records form located on the university registrar website.
    1. The request must include:
      1. Full name
      2. Student ID number, NSHE #
      3. The specific education records requested
      4. Current email address
      5. Your physical address
      6. Signature and date
  2. The request must be mailed, or emailed as an attached PDF to the attention of the University Registrar:
    1. 4505 S .Maryland Parkway box 1029 Las Vegas NV. 89154
    2. Email: registrar@unlv.edu
  3. The request, whether valid or invalid, will be acknowledged by the University by email to the address provided. For valid requests, the 45 calendar day window will begin on the day following the business day that the request was received.
  4. The University Registrar or designee will gather the relevant education records in the University’s possession as of the date of the request, check for compliance with FERPA and make any necessary redactions, as described above.
  5. Records will be gathered as of the request date, meaning that any additional education records added to the record after the date of the valid request will require an additional valid request to inspect and a new time period will commence for those records.
  6. The student will be notified by email that the records are ready for inspection, stating the dates and times on which the records will be made available in the Registrar’s Office on the main campus or other suitable campus location as determined by the Registrar or designee. Based on current staffing and available resources, students should expect dates to be offered near the end of the 45-day period.
  7. If students choose not to attend during the time assigned under section 6, the request will be closed and students are invited to make a new request.

Procedures on the Day of Inspection:

  1. The student will check in with valid identification at the Registrar’s Reception area (or other suitable campus location as determined by the Registrar or designee) at the agreed upon time. Valid identification means UNLV ID Card, valid driver’s license, valid passport, or some other form of government-issued identification.
  2. The student has the right to have one adviser of his or her choice to be present during the inspection, provided that the advisor’s schedule does not unreasonably delay the inspection. The University Registrar shall determine what constitutes an "unreasonable" delay. If the student brings an adviser, the student will sign a FERPA consent form, agreeing to the disclosure of the student’s record to the adviser during the inspection.
  3. A student will be given a reasonable time to inspect the records, which will generally be one hour. However, depending on the number of records requested, the Registrar or designee may provide for a longer inspection period.
  4. The University Registrar or designee will be present during the entirety of the inspection of the records. In general, students may not make copies or photographs of the education records. However, if circumstances effectively prevent the student from reviewing the records in-person at the Registrar’s Office, the university will make arrangements to allow for inspection of the requested education records. Such arrangements will comply with FERPA and be communicated to the student by the Registrar.
  5. Following the inspection, the University Registrar will make a record that the inspection was conducted, including the initial request, the date and time of then inspection, a general description of the records inspected, the name of the adviser and the signed consent if an adviser is present. This record will be added to the student’s education record.

Amendment of Education Records

  1. You have the right to request amendment to your education records if, after review, you believe any of them to be inaccurate. To do so you must submit any such request to the Registrar’s Office in writing, clearly identifying the records that you want to have amended and specifying the reasons you believe them to be inaccurate. Any written request which does not include the required information will not be considered and the requestor will be notified in writing that their request was not made properly.
  2. Upon receipt of a proper request for amendment, the University will make a determination within a reasonable amount of time, not more than 30 business days, as to whether the proposed correction is accepted or rejected. The Registrar’s Office will notify you of its decision and, if the decision is negative, you have the right to a hearing regarding your request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to you at that time.
  3. By law, the University is required to consider only requests to amend information contained in education records that is inaccurately recorded, misleading, or in violation of a student’s privacy rights. Requests for amendments such as a grade change or other substantive educational judgments, removal of materials such as received evaluations, any other decision of a University employee or official, or the outcome in a student conduct proceeding are not covered under the FERPA amendment process.

Student’s Rights Under FERPA

FERPA gives a student five basic rights with respect to their education record:

  • The right to control disclosure of their education record
  • The right to review their education record
  • The right to request amendment of inaccurate or misleading portions of their education record
  • The right to request a hearing
  • The right to file a complaint regarding non-compliance of FERPA with the Family Policy Compliance Office of the U.S. Department of Education

Directory & 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 the University of Nevada, Las Vegas to disclose any or all of the types of information designated below as directory information without prior written consent, students will 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 (see the pdf instructions for Disclosure above). The University of Nevada, Las Vegas has designated the following information as directory information:

Directory

  • Address
  • Telephone Numbers
  • Campus
  • Admission/Enrollment
  • Class Level
  • Major
  • Enrollment Dates
  • Degrees Received
  • School or Division
  • Email Address

Non-Directory

  • NSHE ID Number
  • Place and Date of Birth
  • Social Security Number
  • High School(s) and Marital Status
  • Academic Status (ie: Probation)
  • Grade/GPA/Honors
  • Testing Information
  • Class Schedule
  • Country of Citizenship

Education Records

Any record that directly relates to a student and is maintained by the institution or a party acting on behalf of the institution is considered an education record. Protected 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

The following records are excluded from the definition of education records:

  • “Sole possession” records made by faculty and staff for their own use as reference or memory aids and not shared with others
  • Personal observations
  • University law enforcement records
  • Medical and mental health records used only for the treatment of the student
  • 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 a student. A student is considered to be an “attending student” if he or she:

  • Has been admitted;
  • Is currently attending UNLV classes (either as an on-campus or distance student); or
  • Is a continuing student

At a postsecondary institution, rights belong to the student in attendance (not the parent) regardless of age. Persons who have applied for admissions, but have NOT been admitted to UNLV are NOT covered by FERPA

Release without Prior Consent

There are scenarios when you may not have prior consent from a student but you may release information. You may release directory or non-directory information in the following* scenarios:

  • The information is being requested by a school official with a Legitimate Educational Interest
  • Disclosure to organizations conducting studies to improve instruction (these requests are vetted by the Office of the Registrar and should be submitted via Report Request
  • Accrediting Organizations for programs that undergo oversight by an accrediting board (these requests are vetted by the Office of the Registrar and should be submitted via email to Registrar@unlv.edu)
  • To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena (these requests are vetted by UNLV General Counsel  and should be submitted to them)
  • For Health and Safety Emergency

*If a student has a “no release” on their record, you cannot release ANY information to a third party whether it is directory OR non-directory.

Faculty and Staff Recommendations

Do:

  • Return papers and tests in a secure manner
  • Develop retention practices for sensitive information, keeping ONLY what is necessary
  • Dispose of material containing confidential student information by shredding or placing them in a receptacle intended for disposal of confidential information

Do Not:

  • Disclose information to a student or University official before authenticating the identity of the person
  • Disclose confidential non-directory information about a student to the media
  • Link a student’s name with his/her social security number, student ID number, or any portion of these numbers
  • Send confidential information such as grades in an email
  • Include confidential information such as grades or GPA in a recommendation without the written consent of the student
  • Provide anyone with lists or files of students enrolled in your class for any commercial purpose
  • Provide anyone with student schedules or assist anyone other than university employees in finding a student on campus. Refer such inquiries to Campus Police
  • Access the records of any student for personal reasons
  • Discuss personal information in front of friends/parents without consent