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Right to Privacy - FERPA

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 is a federal law which states: (a) that a written institutional policy must be established and (b) that a statement of adopted procedures covering the privacy rights of students be made available. The law provides that the institution will maintain the confidentiality of each student's educational records.

NAU accords all the rights of privacy under the law to students who are declared independent. Students who are minors are still accorded the protection of the law with the exception that a parent or guardian may have the right to information in the student's file. No individual organization outside the institution shall have access nor will the institution disclose any information from students' educational records without the prior written consent of students, except to personnel within the institution or officials of other institutions in which students seek to enroll. Persons or organizations providing students' financial aid, accrediting agencies carrying out their accreditation function, persons in compliance with a judicial order, and persons who, in an emergency, seek to protect the health or safety of students or other persons may also have access. Within the university, only those members of the faculty or staff individually or collectively acting in students' educational interests are allowed access to student records.

At its discretion, the institution may provide student directory information in accordance with the provisions of the Act to include the following: name, local and permanent addresses, local and permanent telephone numbers, e-mail address, date and place of birth, dates of attendance, class, college, major, most recent school attended, full-time or part-time status, honor roll, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, degree(s), and honors conferred, and commencement program information.

A student may withhold directory information by notifying the office of the registrar or the branch campus administrative office in writing no later than the 15th day after the first day of the term in which the student is enrolled. Requests for nondisclosure will be honored by the university until removed by the student. Please note that such withholding requests are binding for all information to all parties other than for educational purposes.

In addition, FERPA affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. These rights include the following:

  1. The right to inspect and review their education records within 45 days of the day the university receives a request for access;
  2. The right to request an amendment of their education records that they believe are inaccurate or misleading;
  3. The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in their education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent (One exception that permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the university in an administrative, supervisory, academic or support staff position.);
  4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the university to comply with the requirements of FERPA. 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 20202-5920.