In the information age, the nature of student records and information is complex and pervasive on a student campus. It is important for all staff and faculty who have access to student information to know what is defined as a student record and how to manage it to ensure that we protect the privacy of our students and to ensure that we meet the standards of federal and state laws, as well as university policy, but because it is the right thing to do.
Information about student records and the privacy policies and laws as they relate to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) can be found for each campus in the links below. Information related to training as well as guidance should you have questions or need assistance managing a situation can be found on these sites as well. In general, the offices that can serve as the resource to the campuses are the registrar’s offices. When the situation warrants, or if you are unable to obtain the assistance you need from your campus registrar’s office, contact the General Counsel’s office at: (573) 882-3211.
Resources, Policies and Related Links
Collected Rules 180.020 Student Records: www.umsystem.edu/ums/rules/collected_rules/information/ch180/180.020_student_records
US, Department of Education Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA): www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html
Department of Education, Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act; Final Rule 34 CFR Part 99: www2.ed.gov/legislation/FedRegister/finrule/2004-2/042104a.pdf
Things to remember
- Under FERPA, any record that is maintained by the institution and is directly related (that is, personally identifiable) to the student forms part of their "education record". There are some exceptions, such as medical treatment records, law enforcement records, employment records and alumni records (but each of these kinds of records may be subject to other privacy restrictions or access requirements).
- Students enroll, submit assignments and receive grades and any related information forms part of their education record, which is protected by a Federal law called the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). Student records must be handled in accordance with that law by all those who have access to them. For instance, FERPA prohibits the posting of grades by the student's name or ID number; and a system must be used in returning student tests and papers to prevent access and/or release to anyone other than the student.
- If you receive a subpoena related to student records, you should immediately contact General Counsel, (573) 882-3211.
- University Policy: The University's student records policy may be found at: www.umsystem.edu/ums/rules/collected_rules/information/ch180/180.020_student_records Each campus (see below) also has information related to how to address FERPA related issues.
- Generally, the University cannot release material contained in student records to anyone other than the student without the student's written permission; not even to a student's parents or spouse.
- If you are involved in teaching, as a professor or a graduate assistant, make sure you understand how FERPA applies. For instance, FERPA prohibits the posting of grades by the student's name or ID number; and a system must be used in returning student tests and papers to prevent access and/or release to anyone other than the student. You should also password protect spreadsheets that contain student grades and information.
- Education records include student information in all forms and formats: whether electronic, paper, archived, or imaged.
- Education records are not considered the property of the university, but of the student: we are only the custodians of those records, and must protect our students' privacy by limiting access to staff and faculty with a legitimate educational interest in seeing the information.
- If you receive a “sunshine request” related to student information, you should immediately contact the Office of the President.
Missouri S&T: registrar.mst.edu/ferpa/
For legal assistance, please contact the Office of the General Counsel at www.umsystem.edu/ums/gc/