3.11 Student Records

Purpose

To define education and other student records, establish parameters for appropriate use of said records, establish student rights relative to education and other student records, and ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

Policy Statement

The University of Northern Iowa Student Records Policy provides operational procedures for administering and maintaining education and other student records in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) .

Definition of Education Records

Education records are defined as those records directly related to a student and maintained by the institution or by a party acting for the institution.   The term does not include:

  • Records that are kept in the sole possession of the maker, are used only as a personal memory aid, and are not accessible or revealed to any other person except a temporary substitute for the maker of the record.
  • Records of the law enforcement unit of an educational agency or institution.
  • Records related to an individual who is employed by an educational agency or institution, that:
    • are made and maintained in the normal course of business;
    • related exclusively to the individual in that individual’s capacity as an employee; and
    • are not available for use for any other purpose.
  • Records on a student, that are:
    • made or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional acting in his or her professional capacity or assisting in a paraprofessional capacity;
    • made, maintained, or used only in connection with treatment of the student; and
    • disclosed only to individuals providing the treatment. For the purpose of this definition, “treatment” does not include remedial educational activities or activities that are part of the program of instruction at the agency or institution.
    • Records created or received by an educational agency or institution after an individual is no longer a student in attendance and that are not directly related to the individual's attendance as a student.

Designation of Custodians of Records

Education Records 

Academic Records

The Office of the Registrar is designated as custodian of academic records of students. 

The University will furnish a transcript, a formal printed copy of a student’s permanent academic record, externally only at the specific request of the student involved. A student's request for a teaching certificate will be considered authorization to send the transcript and other related information to the teacher certification authorities.

Transcripts will be furnished to accrediting groups without the student's consent, but in such cases the student's name will be removed from the transcript. Similarly, transcripts with the name and student university identification number redacted may be released for use in research purposes.

Student Conduct Records

The Office of the Dean of Students is designated as custodian of student conduct records of students, except that the Office of the Provost is designated as custodian of records pertaining to violations of University Policy 3.01 Student Academic Ethics

Disciplinary actions affecting a student's enrollment status with the University may be noted on a student’s academic transcript.

Other Student Records

Counseling Records

The Counseling Center is designated custodian of student counseling records.  Records developed in delivery of personal counseling services provided through or in consultation with the Counseling Center are confidential and available only to the staff of that center. Only as required by law or with specific authorization of the student would information from counseling records be released.

Medical Records

The Student Health Clinic is designated custodian of student health records.  Except as required by law or with written consent of student, student health records are available only to the student, the Student Health Clinic staff or to medical personnel designated by the student.

Additional information about the University’s collection, maintenance, and distribution of Protected Health Information (PHI) can be found in University Policy 13.16 Use and Security of Protected Health Information.

Pre-Matriculation Records

Enrollment Management is designated custodian of pre-matriculation information, which is information about individuals admitted to the University but not yet enrolled.  It is made available to those offices, departments, and/or officials responsible for helping to facilitate student enrollment. Some examples of such offices include, but are not limited to: Admissions, Academic Advising, Graduate College, Registrar, Financial Aid and Scholarships, and a student's prospective academic department and college.

Once a prospective student enrolls, Pre-Matriculation Records will become Academic Records.

Student Activities Records

The Student Involvement Center is designated custodian of student activities records related to student organization.  It is the policy of the University not to collect information concerning the beliefs of students, or their memberships in religious or political organizations. 

The University does maintain a record of the officers and advisors of student organizations, which may be found on the Student Involvement Center website: http://www.uni.edu/involvement/ 

Permission to Release Education Record Information 

Students who choose to release academic grades, class schedule, and billing information to a third party/parents may do so by granting third party access on MyUNIverse.

Students may request in writing specific educational information be discussed with identified individual(s), such as parents within an identified time limit. A request template is available from the Office of the Registrar. The student’s written request is to be kept on file with the person/office taking action. No faculty/staff may release information outside of their official responsibilities, no matter what is requested in the release.

Disclosure of Personally Identifiable Information

Prior consent of the student is not needed for disclosure of Directory Information (see next section) or for disclosure of a student’s educational record to school officials with a legitimate educational interest in the record. School officials having a legitimate educational interest include any University employee acting within the scope of their University employment, and any duly appointed agent or representative of the University acting within the scope of their appointment. In addition, the University may, at its sole discretion, forward education records to the officials of another institution (a) in which a student seeks or intends to enroll if that institution requests such records, or (b) if the student is enrolled in, or is receiving services from, that institution while they are attending UNI.

In addition, personally identifiable information may be released in connection with state-wide longitudinal data systems requests.

Designation of Directory Information

Directory Information consists of information that is generally not considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if publicly available.  However, most directory information falls within the confidential records listed in section 22.7 of Chapter 22 of the Iowa Code (Examination of Public Records), which maintains the following public records shall be kept confidential: "Personal information in records regarding a student, prospective student, or former student maintained, created, collected, or assembled by or for a school corporation or educational institution maintaining such records."  At the University of Northern Iowa the release of directory information without consent shall be limited to certain University publications (such as the University directory, commencement program, and published graduation lists and Dean's lists), legitimate educational purposes, or in accordance with the Solomon Amendment.  Students who want to ensure their directory information is not released in any situation (with the exception of to a school official with a legitimate educational interest) may restrict access by updating their personal information in MyUNIverse.

  • Directory Information CANNOT include: race, gender, SSN (or part of the SSN), grades, GPA, country of citizenship, or religion.  Except in very specific circumstances, a student ID number also cannot be considered directory information.
  • Every student must be given the opportunity to “opt out” or have directory information suppressed from public release.
  • A “no release” does NOT mean that a school official within the institution who has a demonstrated legitimate educational interest cannot access the information. 

Directory Information at the University of Northern Iowa:

  • Primary (Legal) Name
  • Preferred Name
  • Classification
  • College(s)
  • Currently Enrolled
  • Dates of Attendance
  • Degrees and Awards Received
  • Major(s)/Minor(s)
  • Home Address
  • Local Address
  • Residence Hall Address
  • UNI E-mail Address
  • Personal E-mail Address
  • Work E-mail Address
  • Home Phone
  • Local Phone
  • Cell Phone
  • Participation in Activities
  • Photograph

Procedures

Annual Notice to Students

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords eligible students certain rights with respect to their education records (Note: An "eligible student" under FERPA is a student who is 18 years of age or older or who attends a postsecondary institution). These rights include: 

  1. The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days after the day the University receives a request for access.
  2. The right to request the amendment of the student's education records that the student believes is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student's privacy rights under FERPA.
  3. The right to provide written consent before the university discloses personally identifiable information (PII) from the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
  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.

Annual notice of these guidelines will be provided to registered students and are available from the Office of the Registrar at https://www.uni.edu/registrar/ferpa.

The University will provide an annual notice to students regarding their rights with respect to their education records. 

Access to Education Records

A student should submit to the Office of the Registrar, dean, head of the academic department, or other appropriate official, a written request that identifies the record(s) the student wishes to inspect. The school 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 school official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.

Amendment of Education Records

If a student believes that any of the education records relating to them contain information that is inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of their rights of privacy, they may ask the University to correct or delete such information. The student may also ask that additional explanatory material be inserted in the record. A student may obtain copies of records at the students’ expense. A charge of ten cents per page will be made for copies of miscellaneous educational records. An official copy of the student’s academic record will be prepared at the cost of the transcript fee for that academic year. 

If a request to amend education records is refused, the student shall be so informed and shall be advised of the right to a hearing and the procedure to follow to obtain said hearing. A Student Records Hearing Panel composed of two (2) students, two (2) faculty members, and two (2) administrators has been established for this purpose. If, as a result of a hearing, the Student Records Hearing Panel decides that the information challenged is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the privacy or other rights of the student, the Registrar shall amend the education records of the student and so inform the student. If the Student Records Hearing Panel decides the information is not inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the privacy or other rights of the student, the Registrar shall inform the student of the right to place in the education records a statement commenting upon the information in the records and/or setting forth any reasons for disagreeing with the decision of the University. Such comment or explanation by the student shall be maintained, and, if the education records or the contested portion thereof is disclosed by the University to anyone, the explanation also shall be disclosed. Students requesting a hearing should address the request to:

University of Northern Iowa
Office of the Registrar
Attn: Student Records Hearing Panel Chairperson
115 Gilchrist Hall
Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0006

Students may not inspect and review the following kinds of records: financial statements submitted by their parents; confidential letters and recommendations with respect to admissions, applications for employment, or receipt of an honor or honorary recognition, provided the students have waived their rights of inspection and a review; education records which contain information about more than one student, in which case access only to that part of the record which pertains to the inquiring student will be permitted.

The University will not permit students to inspect and review confidential letters and recommendations placed in their files prior to January 1, 1975, provided those letters were collected under established policies of confidentiality and were used only for the purposes for which they were collected. The University will not provide copies of official transcripts which have a financial-hold.

Complaints Regarding Education Records

A student who believes there has been a violation of the provisions of FERPA may file a complaint with the Family Policy Compliance Office of the U.S. Department of Education:

Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-5920

Complaints must contain specific allegations of fact giving reasonable cause to believe that a violation of FERPA has occurred.

Custodians of Education and Other Records

A list of offices serving as custodians of records and the name and contact information of the person responsible for the education and other records is maintained by the Office of the Registrar and available at https://www.uni.edu/registrar/ferpa.

Office of the Registrar and Vice President for Student Affairs, approved February 18, 2020
President’s Cabinet, approved March 23, 2020
President and President’s Cabinet, approved April 6, 2020

[Last reviewed and/or updated 4/2020, 6/2015]