FERPA Training for Faculty and Staff

All employees of Shawnee State University requesting access to the student information system are required to have training in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as Amended (FERPA).

Please review the following information and complete the Acknowledgement Form.

What is FERPA?

  • Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended
  • FERPA is a Federal Law
  • Also known as the Buckley Amendment
  • Protects the privacy of a student's education records
  • Applies to all educational agencies or institutions that receive funds under any program administered by the Secretary of Education

What are education records?

  • Handwriting, print, computer, videotape, audiotape, film, microfilm, microfiche or e-mail – of an institution that
    • Contain information directly related to the student and
    • Are maintained by an agency or institution or party acting on its behalf.
  • Education records do not include
    • Records/notes in sole possession of maker not accessible or revealed to any other person except a temporary substitute
    • Medical records
    • Employment records, unless the employment is contingent on being a student
    • Records created and maintained by a law enforcement unit used only for that purpose
    • Information on a person that was obtained when no longer a student (e.g., alumni records) and does not relate to the person as a student

What rights do parents have under FERPA?

  • FERPA gives certain rights to parents regarding their children's education records.
  • Rights transfer to the student upon reaching 18 years of age or attending any school beyond the secondary level.

How can a parent access student information if the student is not being claimed by either parent for Federal income tax purposes?

  • Parents can have access only if the student gives written consent to release information.
  • In cases where a parent may access student information, they may not act on the student's behalf except in emergency situations.

What is Directory or Public Information?

" . . . information contained in an education record of a student that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed." (Final Regulations)

Directory Information can NEVER include:
  • Social security number
  • Student identification number
  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Nationality
  • Gender
Shawnee State University Directory Information may include:
  • Name
  • Address (hometown and university-assigned e-mail)
  • Program of Study (including college of enrollment, major and concentration)
  • Enrollment status (e.g. full-time, part-time, withdrawn)
  • Class rank (freshman, sophomore, etc)
  • Dates of attendance
  • Degrees and honors awarded
  • Previous educational agencies or institutions attended
  • Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
  • Weight and height of members of intercollegiate athletic teams

Please note that class schedule and next-of-kin information are not open directory information and cannot be released to anyone in the University community that does not have a "need to know" or to anyone outside of the University except as provided by law.

Can directory information be released to anyone who requests it?

  • YES - If: the student has NOT requested that directory information be withheld.
  • NO - If: the student has requested that directory information be withheld, no information can be released
    • outside of SSU except as provided by law.
    • to anyone within SSU who does NOT need the information to perform their official duties

How can a student request that their information be withheld?

  • The student may request that directory information be withheld by completing a Request to Prevent Disclosure of Directory Information (available in the Office of the Registrar).
  • The withhold information directory flag will be put on the student's academic record whenever the student requests it; however, we cannot be responsible for any information released prior to receipt of this form in the Registrar's Office.
  • The withhold directory flag remains in effect until the student requests in writing that it be removed.

What information can be released without student consent?

The law allows disclosure without consent to:

  • School employees who have a legitimate educational interest
  • Other schools, upon request, in which a student is seeking or intending to enroll
  • Accrediting organizations
  • Organizations doing certain studies for or on behalf of the University
  • Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student to determine eligibility, amount or conditions of financial aid, or to enforce the terms and conditions of aid.
  • Certain government officials of the U. S. Department of Education, the Comptroller General, and state and local educational authorities, in connection with an audit; authorized representatives of the U. S. Attorney General for law enforcement purposes or state or federally supported education programs
  • Individuals who have issued a valid subpoena, or pursuant to a court order
  • School officials who have a need to know concerning disciplinary action taken against a student
  • Appropriate parties who need to know in cases of health and safety emergencies when necessary to protect the health and safety of the student and/or others
  • State and local authorities, within the juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific state law
  • Alleged victims of a crime of violence that results in a disciplinary proceeding with respect to that crime
  • Parent or legal guardian of a student under the age of 21, information regarding any violation of university policy or state, federal or local law, governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance
  • Those requesting directory information on a student, provided the student has not requested his or her information be withheld

What are the 2 basic steps that SSU must follow to be in compliance with FERPA?

  1. Notify current students annually in writing of their rights under FERPA.
    The University notifies students of their rights under FERPA via the student portal, MySSU, including:
    • Right to seek amendment or correction of educational records
    • Right to have some control over the disclosure of information from education records except when release is permitted or required by law
    • Right to file complaints with the Family Policy Compliance Office, United States Department of Education, within 180 days of alleged violation
    • Since SSU has a policy of disclosing personally identifiable information to school officials:
      • The criteria for determining school officials
      • A description of what constitutes a legitimate educational interest
  2. Grant access by students or parents, if applicable, to education records.
    • Students and former students have the right to inspect and review their education records through established procedures.
      • Within a maximum of 45 days after a written request is received.
    • The University is not required to provide a copy of the education record unless failure to do so would deny access.
      • Records cannot be destroyed if a request is pending.
      • Fees can be charged unless the cost prohibits access.
    • Students and former students have the right to review records of requests for disclosure of their personally identifiable information.
      • the University needs to maintain records of requests and make them available to students.

What documents does a student not have a right to see?

  • Financial information submitted by parents
  • Confidential letters and recommendations placed in a student's file before 1/1/75
  • Confidential letters, etc., associated with admissions, employment, job placement or honors to which a student has waived rights of inspection and review
  • Education records containing information about other students such as Grades, Test scores, etc.

Institutional Policy & Notification Requirements

What can happen if we fail to follow the law?

  • Lawsuit
  • Loss of Federal funding (including several types of Financial Aid)
  • Disciplinary action against the responsible employee(s)


When in doubt, don't give it out!

If you have any questions on what you can or cannot release, check with your supervisor or the University General Counsel (X3283), or the Registrar’s Office (X4734).

Acknowledgement Form

After reviewing the information on the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, please:

When the form is received in the Registrar's Office, Jenzbar J1 and MySSU access will be assigned.

For more information on FERPA, visit the website of the Family Policy Compliance Office.

Office of the Registrar
940 Second Street
Portsmouth, OH 45662

Phone: (740) 351-4REG (4734)
Fax: (740) 351-3435

Office Hours
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, & Friday: 8 am-4:30 pm
Wednesday: 9 am-4:30 pm
Saturday and Sunday: Closed