Skip to main content

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

FERPA applies to educational institutions and requires the following:

  • Students at postsecondary institutions must be permitted to inspect and seek amendment to their education records.
  • School officials may not release personally identifiable information associated with a student’s record (e.g., class schedule, GPA, Social Security number) without the student’s written permission.  However, directory information can be released unless you request otherwise.
  •  Institutions must ensure that all faculty and staff members are in compliance with this Federal regulation.

Please use the following drop downs to learn more about how FERPA pertains to your individuals needs:


FERPA for MSU Denver Students

 

 As a MSU Denver student, FERPA grants you the following rights:

  • You have the right to access your MSU Denver educational record.
  • You have the right to tell us who can and cannot access specific parts of your educational record.
  • You have the right to seek to amend your educational record if you believe it is incorrect.

FERPA also protects your student educational records.  In compliance with FERPA, MSU Denver will not release your educational records to anyone but you, unless you specifically ask us to do so.  We will release directory information to credible third parties, but you can ask us to keep this information confidential, as well. 

The following links help to explain FERPA in greater detail.  If your FERPA questions are not answered here, please feel free to call the Office of the Registrar at (303) 556-3991 for more information.

 

What are Student Educational Records?
All MSU Denver student records are considered educational records, with the following exceptions:

  • Personal notes written by faculty and staff
  • Employment records
  • Financial records of a parent or spouse
  • Medical and counseling records used solely for treatment
  • AHEC Police Department records
  • Confidential letters and statements of recommendation for admission, employment or honorary recognition for which you have waived the right to inspect and review

This means that your student number (900#), grades, GPA, class schedule, residency status, marital status and all other information on your file are considered educational records and, thus, protected by FERPA.  MSU Denver school officials with a legitimate educational interest and you are the only individuals who can access this information.

For access to general information pertaining to your grades, GPA, classes, tuition bills, etc., log on to ConnectU.

Back to Top>>

How can I grant access to third parties, like my parents or a potential employer? 
If your parents claim you as a dependent when filing taxes with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), they can view certain parts of your educational record, like your grades and tuition bills, without your written consent.  In order to gain access to this information, your parents must show a copy of their most recent tax return to prove that they do claim you as a dependent.

In all other cases, we must obtain your written consent before releasing your educational record to third parties.  You can allow MSU Denver to release your information to specific parties (e.g., parents, potential employers, insurance companies) by signing a FERPA Release .  In order to process your request, you must bring the FERPA Release Form and a photo ID to the Office of the Registrar in the Central Classroom Building, Room 105.  If you are unable to visit our office in person due to extenuating circumstances, please contact us at (303) 556-3991 to discuss your options.

 

Back to Top>>

What is considered Directory Information at MSU Denver?
FERPA allows each school to determine what it considers to be directory information.  MSU Denver considers the following items to be directory information, and we will release this information to credible third parties unless you specifically request otherwise:

  • Student name, address and telephone number
  • Student  classification
  • Major and minor fields of study
  • Telephone number
  • Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
  • Weight and height of members of athletic teams
  • Dates of attendance at MSU Denver
  • Degrees and awards received
  • Last educational institution attended

All other personal information is considered private and will not be disclosed to third parties unless you specifically ask us to release it.

Back to Top>>

Can I restrict access to my entire record, including Directory Information?
If you wish to keep your entire record private—including directory information—you can submit a Request for Nondisclosure Request Form . 81 KB  This form must be submitted to the Office of the Registrar in the Student Success Building 160, along with a photo ID.

 

If you submit this form, we will not release any of your information unless we are faced with an extenuating circumstance (e.g., subpoena or health emergency).  However, this means that we can’t even release information to you, unless you come to the Office of the Registrar in person and present a photo ID.  Additionally, we will not be able to provide information for ANY future requests from third parties.  For example:

  • Your name will not appear in the commencement brochure.
  • When a potential employer calls to confirm any degrees you received, we will not be able to give them any information.
  • We will not be able to release your contact information to family or friends looking to notify you of a crisis or serious illness.

MSU Denver will honor your request to keep your records private, but we encourage you to consider all potential implications before submitting this form.

Back to Top>>

What is the process for inspecting my educational record?
Students may inspect and review their education records upon a written request submitted to the Registrar, Student Success Building Suite 160 (#3), or by mail to Campus Box 84, P.O. Box 173362, Denver, Colorado 80217-3362.

  1. The request shall identify as precisely as possible the record or records the student wishes to inspect.
  2. The record custodian or an appropriate staff person shall make the arrangements for access as promptly as possible and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.
  3. When a record contains information about more than one student, the student may inspect and review only the records that relate to that student.

FERPA grants all educational institutions 45 days to gather all contents of your educational record.  In most cases, we can honor your request in less than 45 days; however, we encourage you to plan ahead if you need the information within a specific timeframe.

Back to Top>>

What is the process to amend my educational record?
A student may make a written request to amend a record.

  1. In the request, the student should identify the part of the record to be changed and specify why the student believes it is inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the student’s privacy or other rights.
  2. MSU Denver shall comply with the request or notify the student that the College will not comply with the request and advise the student of the student’s right to a hearing to challenge the information believed to be inaccurate, misleading or in violation of the student’s rights.
  3. Upon written request, MSU Denver will arrange for a hearing, and notify the student, reasonably in advance, of the date, place, and time of the hearing.
  4. The hearing will be conducted by a hearing officer who is a disinterested party, but who may be an official of the institution. The student shall be afforded a full and fair opportunity to present evidence relevant to the issues raised in the original request to amend the student’s education records. The student may be assisted by one or more individuals, including an attorney.
  5. MSU Denver will prepare a written decision based solely on the evidence presented at the hearing. The decision will include a summary of the evidence presented and the reasons for the decision.
  6. If MSU Denver decides that the challenged information is not inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the student’s right of privacy or other right, it will notify the student that the student has a right to place in the record a statement commenting on the challenged information and/or a statement setting forth reasons for disagreeing with the decision.

The statement will be maintained as part of the student’s education records as long as the contested portion is maintained. If MSU Denver decides that the information is inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the student’s rights, it will amend the record and notify the student, in writing, that the record has been amended.

Back to Top>>

Does FERPA change from year to year?  If so, how do I know what my rights are?

FERPA is occasionally amended, which means your rights as a student may change over time.  MSU Denver outlines your FERPA rights in an annual notification posted in the Student Handbook and University Catalog.  Please take a minute to read each annual notification for any changes to FERPA regulations. 

Back to Top>>

FERPA for MSU Denver Staff and Faculty

As a staff or faculty member at MSU Denver, it is your responsibility to oversee and uphold the rights that FERPA grants to our students.  These basic guidelines should be used when working with all MSU Denver students:

  • Student educational records are considered confidential and cannot be released without the student’s prior written consent.
  • As a student worker, staff, or faculty member, you are given access to student educational records for the sole purpose of performing your job.  It is your responsibility to protect educational records whenever they are in use and regardless of the medium in which they are accessed.
  • As a school official, you are able to share directory information with credible third parties without prior written consent.  However, students can request for nondisclosure which keeps their entire record private—including directory information.
  • If you ever have any questions about sharing student information, please do not hesitate to call the Office of the Registrar at (303) 556-3991.

The following links help to explain FERPA in greater detail:

What information is not included in a student’s educational record?
All MSU Denver student records are considered educational records, with the following exceptions:

  • Personal notes written by staff and faculty
  • Employment records
  • Financial records of a parent or spouse
  • Medical and counseling records used solely for treatment
  • AHEC Police Department records
  • Confidential letters and statements of recommendation for admission, employment or honorary recognition for which the student has waived the right to inspect and review

Otherwise, a student’s 900#, grades, GPA, class schedule, residency status, marital status and all other information we have on file are considered educational records and, thus, protected by FERPA.  As a school official, you are granted access to this information as long as you have a legitimate educational need to know.  Yet, it is your responsibility to protect this information whenever you access it.

Back to Top>>

What is considered Directory Information at MSU Denver?

Directory information is part of a student’s educational record; however, school officials are permitted to share this information with credible third parties.   MSU Denver considers the following as directory information:

  • Student name, address and telephone number
  • Student  classification
  • Major and minor fields of study
  • Telephone number
  • Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
  • Weight and height of members of athletic teams
  • Dates of attendance at MSU Denver
  • Degrees and awards received
  • Last educational institution attended

All other personal information is considered private and cannot be disclosed to third parties unless we have prior written consent from the student.

Back to Top>>

What is a Confidentiality Hold, and when do I need to look for it?
Students can request to keep their entire educational record private—including directory information—by completing a nondisclosure request form in which a confidentiality hold will be placed on their account.  If a student has requested nondisclosure, a window indicating confidentiality hold will appear in the Banner System each time you try to access their record.

If this window does appear, you cannot disclose ANY part of the student’s record to anyone.  The only time you can discuss the record with the student is when (s)he comes to your office and presents a valid photo ID.

Back to Top>>

What information can I include in a letter of recommendation?
When writing a letter of recommendation for a student, you cannot disclose information from the student’s educational record (e.g., GPA) without the student’s written consent.  However, you can disclose directory information as long as the student does not have a Confidentiality Hold on their account.

Back to Top>>

What must be included in a student’s written consent?
In order to release private, personally identifiable information, we must obtain prior written consent from the student.  A statement of written consent must contain the following:

  • Specific records to be released
  • Purpose for releasing the records
  • Names of the individuals or groups to whom the records should be released
  • Student signature and Date

Back to Top>>

Can I release a student’s 900#?
You can release a student's 900# to the student if you are able to verify their identity. The best way to verify an identity is to ask for a photo ID (e.g., MSU Denver Student ID, driver's license, passport). If the student does not have a photo ID, please use the FERPA Authentication Guidelines 289 KB developed by the Office of the Registrar.

Back to Top>>

Can I release a student’s transcript?
Official transcripts may only be released through the Office of the Registrar in the Student Success Building, Suite 160 (#3).

Back to Top>>

FERPA Tips for Faculty:

  • Do not link a student’s name with their Social Security or 900 numbers in any public manner.
  • Do not use any portion of a student’s Social Security or 900 number when publicly posting grades.
  • Do not leave graded assignments in a stack for students to sort through and pick up.
  • Do not circulate class lists with Social Security or 900 numbers or grades as an attendance roster.
  • Do not provide anyone with student schedules, addresses, phone numbers, or assist anyone other than MSU Denver employees in finding a student on campus.
  • Do not discuss a student’s progress with anyone other than the student, unless you have written consent from the student.
  • Be cautious to discuss academic progress, GPA, etc. when multiple students are present.  If you need to discuss individual grades, GPA or other private information with a group of students, you should obtain written permission from each student.

Back to Top>>

Accessing student records from remote locations:

  • Do not save reports that include personally identifiable information to a remote computer (e.g., home computer or laptop).  If you are using COGNOS, BRM, or another software system to access student records from a remote location, all reports should be saved to a removable drive that is kept secure until you return to the office.
  • Do not print reports that include personally identifiable information at home or from another remote location.
  • If you are accessing student records from a remote location, be aware of your surroundings and the visibility of your computer screen to bystanders.

Back to Top>>

What FERPA training resources are available to my colleagues and me?
Contact the Office of the Registrar for a workshop or one-on-one training.

Back to Top>>

 

FERPA for MSU Denver Parents

 

Now that your child is in college, the rights to access his or her educational records have been transferred directly to the student. This means that your student has sole “ownership” of his or her records.

The following links outline FERPA as it may pertain to you.  If your questions are not answered below, please call the Office of the Registrar at (303) 556-3991.

 

How can I get a copy of my student’s educational records? 
The easiest way to receive information about your student’s academic progress, tuition statement, and other educational information is to ask him or her to directly provide you with it.  All MSU Denver students can access information regarding their grades, classes, and tuition bills online at ConnectU.      

If your student is unable to directly provide his or her records, he or she must sign a FERPA Release in the Office of the Registrar (Student Success Building, Suite 160) in order to grant you access.  When filing out the your student will give us a password which you will need to provide before we can release any information.

However, if you claim your student as a dependent when filing your taxes, you can access certain parts of his or her record (e.g., grades, tuition information, etc.) without prior written consent.  In order to access this information, you must come to the Office of the Registrar in person and present your most recent tax return documents.

Back to Top>>

I’m paying for my student’s tuition and fees.  Why don’t I have access to his or her records? 
Many MSU Denver parents try to financially assist their students in some way.  Yet, all parents must either have written consent from their student, or they must provide their most recent tax form showing they claim their student as a dependent.  Please see the section above for information on both options.

Back to Top>>

Now that my student has signed the FERPA Release Form, when can I expect to receive copies of his or her grades?
The FERPA Release does not serve as an automatic request for records.  If you would like to access certain information, you need to contact the MSU Denver office that manages those records.  If you are not sure who to contact, the Office of the Registrar (303-556-3991) will gladly assist you.

Back to Top>>

Does the FERPA Release Form grant me access to my student’s medical and counseling records?
FERPA regulations apply only to educational records, which do not include any medical or counseling records maintained on campus.  Thus, the FERPA Release Form does not grant you access to these records.

The release of medical and counseling records is governed by other Federal regulations, campus policies, and standards for professional ethics.  In most cases, your student can provide written consent allowing medical professionals to release certain information to you or other third parties; however, this written consent is specific to the medical office and cannot be transferred to educational offices on campus.

Back to Top>>

Where can I read more about FERPA regulations?
FERPA is a Federal policy governed by the U.S. Department of Education.  The Department’s website provides the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act in its entirety.

Back to Top>>