The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) Viterbo University Policy


The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, 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 student education records.

Viterbo University maintains that no one outside the institution shall have access to, nor will the institution disclose any non-directory information from students' education records, without the written consent of students except to personnel within the institution, to officials of other institutions in which students seek to enroll, to persons or organizations providing students financial aid, to accrediting agencies carrying out their accreditation function, agents acting on behalf of the university, to persons in compliance with a judicial order, and to persons in an emergency in order to protect the health or safety of students or other persons. All these exceptions are permitted under the Act.

Within the Viterbo University community only those members, individually or collectively, acting in the students' educational interest are allowed access to student education records. These members include personnel in the Offices of the Registrar, Business Office, Office of Financial Aid, Office of Admission, and academic and student life personnel within the limitations of their need to know.

Directory Information/Release of Information

At its discretion the institution may provide Directory Information in accordance with FERPA provisions to include name; address (permanent, local, and e-mail); telephone listings; date of birth/age; major/minor field of study; participation in officially recognized activities and sports; weight; and height of athletic team members; dates of attendance; full-time/part-time status; photograph; registration course schedule; class level; academic level; degrees/academic recognitions/awards received; name/address/occupation of parent/guardian/spouse; and educational institutions or agencies attended. Students may withhold Directory Information by notifying the Registrar in writing prior to the end of the second week of each semester and the first week of summer school.

Request for non-disclosure will be honored by the institution for only one semester; therefore, authorization to withhold Directory Information must be filed each semester in the Office of the Registrar.

Review of Official Records

The FERPA law provides students with the right to inspect and review information contained in their education records, to challenge the contents of their education records, to have a hearing if the outcome of the challenge is unsatisfactory, and to submit explanatory statements for inclusion in their files if the decisions of the hearing panels are unacceptable. The registrar at Viterbo University has been designated by the institution to coordinate the inspection and review procedures for student education records, including admissions, personal, academic and financial files, and academic, cooperative education, and placement records. Students wishing to review their education records must make written requests to the registrar listing the item or items of interest. Only records covered by the Act will be made available within 45 days of the request. Students may have copies made of their records with certain exceptions, (e.g., a copy of the academic record for which a financial "hold" exists, or a transcript of an original or source document that exists elsewhere.) These copies will be made at the students' expense at prevailing rates. Education records do not include records of instructional, administrative, and educational personnel which are sole possession of the maker and are not accessible or revealed to any individual except a temporary substitute, records of the law enforcement unit, student health records, employment records or alumni records. Health records, however, may be reviewed by physicians of the students' choosing.

Students may not inspect and review the following as outlined by the Act:

  • financial information submitted by their parents
  • confidential letters and recommendations associated with admissions, employment or job placement
  • honors to which they have waived their rights of inspection and review
  • education records containing information about more than one student, in which case the institution will permit access only to that part of the record which pertains to the inquiring student.

The institution is not required to permit students to inspect and review confidential letters and recommendations placed in their files prior to Jan. 1, 1975, provided those letters were collected under established policies of confidentiality and were used only for the purposes for which they were collected.

Students who believe that their education records contain information that is inaccurate or misleading, or is otherwise in violation of their privacy or other rights may discuss their problems informally with the registrar. If the decisions are in agreement with the students' request, the appropriate records will be amended. If not, the students will be notified within a reasonable period of time that the records will not be amended. If this response is unsatisfactory, the students may choose to take the matter to the Academic Vice President. If the matter is not resolved, students will be informed by the Academic Vice President of their rights to a formal hearing. Student requests for a formal hearing must be made in writing to the Academic Vice President who, within a reasonable period of time after receiving such request, will inform student of the date, place, and the time of the hearing. Students may present evidence relevant to the issues raised and may be assisted or represented at the hearings by one or more persons of their choice, including attorneys, at the students' expense. The hearing panel which will adjudicate such challenges will be the members of the Board of Review.

Decisions of the hearing panels will be final, will be based solely on the evidence presented at the hearing, and will consist of written statements summarizing the evidence and stating the reasons or the decisions, and will be delivered to all parties concerned, the education records will be corrected or amended in accordance with the decisions of the hearing panels, if the decisions are in favor of the students. If the decisions are unsatisfactory to the students, the students may place with the education records statements commenting on the information in the records, or statements seating forth any reasons for disagreeing with the decisions of the hearing panels. The statements will be placed in the education records, maintained as part of the students' records, and released whenever the records in question are disclosed.

Student who believe that the adjudications of their challenges were unfair or not in keeping with the provisions of the Act may request, in writing, assistance from the President of the institution to aid them in filing complaints with The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Office (FERPA), Department of Education, Room 4074, Switzer Building, Washington, DC, 20202.

Revisions and clarifications will be published as experience with the law and Viterbo's policy warrants.

As of Jan. 3, 2012, the U.S. Department of Education's FERPA regulations expanded the circumstances under which education records and personally identifiable information (PII) contained in such records - including Social Security Number, grades, or other private information - may be accessed without consent.

First, the U.S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or state and local education authorities ("Federal and State Authorities") may allow access to your records and PII without consent to any third party designated by a Federal or State Authority to evaluate a federal- or state-supported education program. The evaluation may relate to any program that is "principally engaged in the provision of education," such as early childhood education and job training, as well as any program that is administered by an education agency or institution.

Second, federal and state authorities may allow access to your education records and PII without consent to researchers performing certain types of studies, in certain cases even when Viterbo objects to or does not request such research. Federal and state authorities must obtain certain use-restriction and data security promises from the entities that they authorize to receive PII, but the authorities need not maintain direct control over such entities.

In addition, in connection with Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems, State authorities may collect, compile, permanently retain, and share without consent PII from education records, and may track participation in education and other programs by linking such PII to other personal information about students that they obtain from other Federal or State data sources, including workforce development, unemployment insurance, child welfare, juvenile justice, military service, and migrant student records systems.


  For Students
Under FERPA, students may choose to allow disclosure of non-directory information to an indivdual(s), including parents. A parent portal system exists for students to grant parents/guardians access to financial and/or academic information. Students should see the link on VitNet for the granting of access.

For Parents

Parents are encouraged to contact their student to provide them access via the parent portal.
Under FERPA, parents are entitled to, at the discretion of Viterbo University, request educational record information for a dependent child. If the student is unwilling to grant access via the parent portal, the parents may submit a form, along with a copy of the tax return documenting dependency. Information may be provided in this case, at Viterbo's discretion.

PDF iconNon-disclosure Form For Students
Under FERPA, student may choose to request directory information not be release about them.
   Directory of Records
Faculty Training Documents Office presentation iconFERPA Faculty In-service PowerPoint
PDF iconFERPA Basics for Faculty
PDF iconFERPA True False Quiz w/Answers
PDF iconFERPA Final Exam w/Answers
Faculty Documents Reference Release Form

Note: As a policy, Viterbo University does not release student information, even if only directory information, to persons outside of the campus community.