Virginia Commonwealth University

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

Rights of Students Under FERPA

FERPA affords students certain rights with respect to their educational records:

  1. The right to inspect and review the student's educational records within 45 days of the day the University receives a request for access. Students should submit to the registrar, dean, head of the academic department, or other appropriate official written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The University official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the University official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
  2. The right to request the amendment of the student's education records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading. Students may ask the University to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. They should write the University official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the University decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the University will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his or her right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
  3. The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student's 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 research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff ); a person or company with whom the University has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Visitors; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility. Upon request, the University discloses education records without consent to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll; to specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes; to appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student; to accrediting organizations; to comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena; to appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies; and to state and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific state law.

    Directory information may be released without a student's prior consent; this information is limited to:
    » student name
    » date admitted
    » birthdate
    » mailing address and telephone number
    » local address and telephone number
    » university e-mail address
    » semesters of attendance
    » major(s)
    » minor
    » specialization
    » school
    » full- or part-time status
    » classification (freshman, sophomore, etc)
    » degree sought
    » honors and awards
    » degrees and dates received
    » participation in officially recognized intercollegiate sports, weight, height, hometown, parents' names and previous school(s) attended (for members of athletic teams)
    » Photograph
    » Emergency Contact Information
    » Student ID (V number)
  4. The right to file a complaint with the US Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Virginia Commonwealth University to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the office that administers FERPA:

    Family Policy Compliance Office
    U.S. Department of Education
    400 Maryland Avenue, SW
    Washington, D.C. 20202

Modified to reflect changes to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act published Nov 21, 1996.

Note: Students have the right to withhold the release of information designated as "directory information" by submitting to the Office of Records and Registration, not later than 14 days after the beginning of a term, a request written and signed that "directory information" not be released. This request is effective until revoked in writing by the eligible student to the same office.