The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), as amended, is a federal law that sets forth requirements regarding the privacy of student records. FERPA governs the disclosure of student records maintained by an educational institution as well as access to those records.
FERPA applies to all students who attend post-secondary institutions. Students enrolled in any courses offered by KSU, at any location or through any method of delivery (i.e., campus/on-site, hybrid, partially online and fully online) are covered by FERPA. KSU considers an admitted student to be in attendance upon enrollment/registration for classes. Institutions that receive funds administered by the Federal Office of Education are bound by FERPA requirements, and failure to comply may result in the loss of federal funding.
Notification of Rights under FERPA for Postsecondary Institutions
At KSU, students are notified of their FERPA right in the Student Handbook, university catalog, and the Registrar's webpage.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) afford 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.) These rights include:
- The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days after
the day the Kennesaw State University receives a request for access. A student should
submit to the registrar, dean, head of the academic department, 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 official shall advise
the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
- The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student
believes is 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.
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 regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
- The right to provide written consent before the university discloses personally identifiable
information (PII) from the student's education records, except to the extent that
FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
Education records can be disclosed without a student’s prior written consent to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by Kennesaw State University in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel); or a student serving on an official committee, or who is assisting a school official in performing his or her tasks (teaching assistants, research assistants, graduate assistants, and work study).
A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities at Kennesaw State University.
- The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged
failures by the [School] to comply with the requirements of FERPA. A parent of a student
under the age of 18 at an elementary or secondary school or a student who is at least
18 years of age or attending a postsecondary institution at any age (“eligible student”)
may file a written complaint with the Family Policy Compliance Office (FPCO) regarding
an alleged violation of a school’s failure to comply with his or her rights under
FERPA. A parent of an eligible student generally may not file a complaint under FERPA,
as the rights afforded to parents are transferred to the student when he or she becomes
an eligible student.
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
See the list below of the disclosures that postsecondary institutions may make without 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, 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. A postsecondary institution may disclose PII from the education records without obtaining prior written consent of the student –
- To other school officials, including teachers, within Kennesaw State University whom
the school has determined to have legitimate educational interests. This includes
contractors, consultants, volunteers, or other parties to whom the school has outsourced
institutional services or functions, provided that the conditions listed in §99.31(a)(1)(i)(B)(1)
- (a)(1)(i)(B)(2) 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 university’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 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.
- 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))
- 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))
- The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days after the day the Kennesaw State University receives a request for access. A student should submit to the registrar, dean, head of the academic department, 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 official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
What are Education Records?
Under FERPA, education records are defined as any personally identifiable information that is directly related to a student and maintained by an educational agency, institution, or party acting for the agency or institution. Education records can exist in any medium, including, but not limited to, typewritten, hand-written, computer generated, videotape, audiotape, film, microfilm, microfiche, and email.
Education records do not include:
- Sole possession records, i.e., records/notes in sole possession of the maker, used only as a personal memory aid and not revealed or accessible to any other person except a temporary substitute for the maker of the record.
- Medical treatment records that include, but are not limited to, records maintained by physicians, psychiatrists, and psychologists.
- Employment records, unless employment is based on student status, i.e. a graduate teaching assistant or work-study student.
- Law enforcement records created and maintained by a law enforcement unit.
- Post-attendance records, i.e., information about a person that was obtained when the person was no longer a student (alumni records) and not related to the person as a student.
Student education records are considered confidential and should not be released to any person without the written consent of the student, unless the disclosure meets one of the exceptions to signed consent found in FERPA. University officials are granted access to student information only for “legitimate educational interest” -- completion of job responsibilities. They have a responsibility to protect the confidentiality of education records in their possession, regardless of the medium in which the records are stored or presented. A school official is a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the University has contracted as its agent to provide a service instead of using University employees or officials (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks (teaching assistant, research assistant, graduate assistant, workstudy). Unauthorized release of student record data without written consent of the student may trigger legal sanctions.
At KSU, examples of student record information that generally should not be disclosed without prior written consent of the student are:
- Social Security Number/KSU Student ID Number
- KSU Student Email address
- Grades, Credits hours (attempted or earned)
- Grade Point Averages
- Email Addresses
- Enrollment status (part/full time)
- Residency Status
- Tuition and Fee Payment Records
- Financial Aid Records
- Marital status
- Parent’s Name and Address
- Current Class Schedule
- Disciplinary Actions
- Academic Actions
Employees may not disclose information contained in education records without the student’s consent, except under certain limited conditions. For example, the University may disclose what is considered to be “directory” information unless the student has restricted disclosure of such information. Institutions are not required by FERPA to disclose directory information. When in doubt, do not release information.
If a student has restricted the disclosure of directory information, the word “CONFIDENTIAL” will appear in Banner and Owl Express.
Directory information at Kennesaw State University is defined as:
- Field of Study (Major)
- Dates of Attendance
- Degrees Awarded
- Participation in Officially Recognized Activities or Sports
- Weight and Height of Athletic Participants
If you are ever in doubt, do not release any information until you contact the Registrar’s Office at 770.423.6415. The Registrar’s Office is the only university office authorized to issue official transcripts and certify students’ enrollment status. All requests for such documentation must be directed to that office.
Restricting Directory Information
Under the provisions of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, students have the right to withhold the disclosure of the categories of "Directory Information."
Students who do not want their directory/public information released to third parties must complete the Kennesaw State University Release of Directory Information form. Students must submit the signed consent form in person with photo ID to the Office of the Registrar.
Students should be aware that submitting the Release of Directory Information form may result in undesirable reprocussions such as denied enrollment and degree verification to persons, agencies, and institutions requesting this information for employment, insurance discounts, school transfer, or related purposes and publications such as the commencement program.
The non-disclosure can be removed by re-submitting the Release of Directory Information form, selecting "Remove Confidential Indicator." Students must submit the signed consent form in person with a photo ID to the Registrar's Office.
Parent or Legal Guardian Requesting Information
When a student begins attending a post secondary institution, regardless of age, FERPA rights transfer to the student. Concerns such 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 constitute part of the student's education record. Post secondary schools (such as KSU) are not required by FERPA to release or provide access to this information to a student’s parent or legal guardian and, in fact, may not do so except under the following conditions.
- A student provides written authorization to the Registrar’s Office that specifically
identifies what information may be released to the parent(s). The Student Consent Form helps facilitate this request. The student will complete and sign the form; the faculty
will verify the photo ID and initial and date the form. The consent form is then forwarded
to the Registrar's Office to be placed in the students file.
- The parent(s) establish that the student is a dependent according to the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, Section 152. Parents should be directed to the Registrars Office to submit supporting tax documents.
- A student provides written authorization to the Registrar’s Office that specifically identifies what information may be released to the parent(s). The Student Consent Form helps facilitate this request. The student will complete and sign the form; the faculty will verify the photo ID and initial and date the form. The consent form is then forwarded to the Registrar's Office to be placed in the students file.
Disclosure: To permit access to, release, transfer or allow any other type of communication of personally identifiable information contained in education records to any party by any means; including oral, written or electronic communication.
Education Records: All records which contain information directly related to a student; and are maintained by an educational agency or institution or by a party acting for the agency or institution.
Educational Agency: An entity that administers a school or schools to which it is directly linked.
Educational Institution: A school or other entity that provides educational services and is attended by students.
Eligible Student: A student who has attained the age of 18 or has attended an institution of higher education
Legitimate Educational Interest: School officials are granted access to student information only for “legitimate educational interest” -- completion of job responsibilities. Access for any other reason requires a student’s written consent.
Record: Information maintained in any way—including, but not limited to: Audio Tape, Computer Media, Film, Handwriting, Microfilm, Microfiche, Print, Video Tape
Sole Possession Record: Records which are created and maintained by the person generating education records (not in conjunction with the student). These are essentially personal notes or "memory joggers."
School Official: Defined from institution to institution in its annual notification, a school official may be:
- an employee of a college (administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position)
- a person elected to the board of trustees
- a company or person employed/contracted by a college to perform a special task (i.e., attorney, auditor, or collection agency)
- a person or student serving on an official committee (i.e., disciplinary/grievance, scholarship) or assisting an official in his/her tasks (i.e., work study students