Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
The following is for informational purposes only and does not constitute an offer of a contract. If there are any inconsistencies with the University of Missouri’s policy, the UM System policies apply. Direct questions to the Office of the University Registrar.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 is a federal law designed to protect the privacy of educational records; to establish the rights of students to inspect and review their education records; and to provide guidelines for the correction of inaccurate and misleading data through informal and formal hearings. The law applies to any individual who is or has been in attendance at an institution and regarding whom the institution maintains educational records.
Once students have matriculated to the University of Missouri, i.e. enrolled in course work, FERPA rights transfer to the student, regardless of the student’s age.
Primary rights under FERPA
- To inspect and review educational records
- To seek to amend educational records through informal and formal hearings
- To have some control over the release of information about educational records
Educational records contain information that is directly related to a student and are maintained by an educational agency or institution, or by a third party acting on the behalf of the agency or institution.
- handwritten notes
- computer files/generated information
- printed information
- video or audio tapes
- microfilm or microfiche
- any information maintained in any way about a student
Directory information may be shared, unless restricted. You can change this information in myZou by going to Student Center > Personal Information > Other Personal > Privacy Settings and clicking the FERPA-Restrict Release of Personal Information box.
The University of Missouri defines directory information as:
- telephone listing
- e-mail address
- major or field of study
- dates of attendance
- student level
- degrees and awards received
- enrollment status in any past or present semester (i.e. full/part time)
- the most recent education agency or institution attended
- participation in officially recognized activities and sports
Limited restriction of release of address and phone number
If students wish only to restrict visibility of telephone number and/or address, students may do so by going to Student Center > Personal Information > Other Personal > Privacy Settings. The online directory may be updated at any time via myZou.
Unless covered by an exception, staff may not release:
- Social Security number
- student number
- other personally identifiable information without written consent or when covered by an exception
To release information other than directory information, students must authorize access to non-directory information for third parties, including parents, by completing the FERPA Release process. See also: Non-Directory Information Release and Additional Authorized Access (AAA) - What is the difference?
The consent must specify records to be disclosed, state the purpose of the disclosure and identify the party or class of parties to whom the disclosure must be made.
Policy Source: UM System Policy, Chapter 180