Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
Information for Students and Parents
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is the federal law that protects the privacy of students' education records.
This law prohibits Financial Aid, Registrar, Fiscal Services, and many other UTSA departments from releasing any specific student education information without the student's written permission. Parents, guardians, spouses, etc., cannot have access to the student's education records, including account information, unless the student has filled out a Student Authorization to Release Education Records Form (PDF). The completed and approved form should be taken in person or mailed to Enrollment Services Center for processing. Student must present valid photo ID at Enrollment Services at time of processing. Forms may also be turned in at the Downtown Enrollment Service Center and Registrar (FS 1.500).
Disclosure: Enrollment Services (who provides support for Admissions, Registrar, Financial Aid, and Fiscal Services) reserves the right not to release grades or GPA over the phone, even if a Student Authorization to Release Education Records Form is on file.
The primary rights protected under FERPA are:
Students' rights to review and inspect their education records within 45 days from the day the University receives a request for access
Students' rights to have their education records amended or corrected
Students' rights to control disclosure of certain portions of their education records
Students' rights to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education regarding alleged failures to comply with FERPA. Complaints of alleged violations may be sent to:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-5901
For more information, visit the U.S. Department of Education Web site at http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html.
Education records are all records maintained by UTSA about individual students. These records can be in any medium (handwritten, email, print, microfilm, or other formats) maintained by the University.
In accordance with FERPA, UTSA has designated the following categories of information about individual students as public or directory information. This information will be routinely released to any inquirer, unless the student specifically requests that all or part of the following list be withheld:
Address and telephone number
Date and place of birth
Major field of study
Dates of attendance (in person or by correspondence, Internet, or other electronic and telecommunications technologies)
Most recent previous educational agency or institution attended
Degrees, certificates, and awards (including scholarships) received
Date of graduation
Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
Physical factors (height and weight) of athletes
UTSA will honor a student's request to withhold any of the items of public records information listed, but cannot assume responsibility to contact a student for subsequent permission to release the information. Regardless of the effect upon a student, the University assumes no liability for honoring a student's request that such information be withheld. Students wishing to restrict access to some or all public information in their education record must file a Restrict Student Directory Information Request form available on the Office of the Registrar Web site: www.utsa.edu/registrar/forms.html.
The following categories of information are considered private, or protected, by UTSA:
Social Security Number
UTSA student ID number
Married name or previous name
Parents' name and address
Grade point average
Rank in class
Current class schedule
Current disciplinary actions
Private Records may be released only to the following parties:
University academic departments
Appropriate school officials who have legitimate educational interests (see definition of "school official" on next page).
The following are not considered education records:
Personal notes of UTSA faculty and staff
Employment records (unless employment is contingent on the individual's status as a student)
Medical and counseling records used solely for treatment
Campus Security records
Financial records of a parent or spouse
Confidential letters and statements of recommendation placed in your record
Records that contain only information about an individual obtained after the individual was no longer a student at UTSA
Records of applicants for admission who were denied acceptance or chose not to attend.
Under FERPA, prior written consent must be obtained before a student's education record may be disclosed to a third party, unless they are exempted from this provision. Information will be released without your prior written consent to the following groups or individuals:
Appropriate school officials who have legitimate educational interests ("school official" means a person either: (1) employed by UTSA in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position, (2) serving on a UTSA governing body, (3) under contract to UTSA to perform a special task or service, or (4) who is a student serving in an official capacity for UTSA)
Representatives of agencies or organizations from which you have received financial aid, including banks or other lending agencies from which you have guaranteed student loans
Officials of other educational institutions in which you intend to enroll
Individuals or groups specifically exempted from the prior consent requirement
Federal and state officials, accrediting organizations, and organizations conducting studies on behalf of UTSA
Parents of a student who is a dependent for income tax purposes, provided a reasonable effort is made to notify the student in advance
The alleged victim of a violent crime or non-forcible sex offence may view the final results of the alleged perpetrator's disciplinary proceeding.
Instances in which prior written consent is not required:
Requests in connection with an emergency, if such information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other person
Requests in accordance with a lawful subpoena or court order
Requests for "public records" information, if not restricted by the student
When the student violates a law or the University's policies governing alcohol or substance abuse, if the student is under the age of 21.
The University must obtain prior written consent from students before disclosing any personally identifiable information from their education records.
The prior written consent must:
Specify the records to be released
State the purpose of the disclosure
Identify the party(ies) to whom disclosure may be made
Be signed and dated by the student.
Eligible students must be given access to review and inspect their education records. Requests to access your education records must be made in writing and submitted to the Office of the Registrar or to your college dean, department chair, or other appropriate official. For details on how to request access to your records, refer to the UTSA Information Bulletin at http://catalog.utsa.edu/informationbulletin/.
Students may not have access to:
Parent's financial records (without written consent from the parent)
Law Enforcement records
Medical, psychiatric or similar records in connection with the treatment of the student
Letters or statements of recommendation which were placed in the education record prior to January 1,1975.
FERPA rights transfer to a student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a postsecondary institution (regardless of age). Parents or guardians may not have access to a student's education record without the written consent of the student.