Privacy and the Release of Education Records

Privacy And Release of Student Education Records

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), as amended, establishes requirements regarding the privacy of student records.  UMBC has established policies and procedures in compliance with FERPA regarding privacy and the release of student records.


The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), as amended, is a Federal law that sets forth requirements designed to protect the privacy of student education records.  The law applies to UMBC because it receives funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.  UMBC is committed to protecting education records of students to the extent required by law.



The purpose of this procedure is to ensure UMBC’s compliance with FERPA which sets forth requirements designed to protect the privacy of student education records.  FERPA gives students certain general rights with respect to their education records:

·      Students have the right to inspect and review the student’s education records maintained by UMBC;

·      Students have the right to request that UMBC correct records which the student believes to be inaccurate or misleading; and

·      UMBC must have written permission from the student in order to release any information from a student’s education record.



This procedure applies to all employees, students, contractual agents of UMBC, parents of dependent students, and individuals or organizations requesting access to student information.



Direct any general questions about this procedure first to your department’s administrative office.  If you have specific questions, call the following office:


Contact Telephone Email
Policy Clarification Associate General Counsel, Office of the General Counsel (410) 455-2870



A.   Annual Notice

i.     The University provides students with an annual notice of rights with respect to their education records. (

ii.     The notice also outlines the University’s compliance with the requirements of FERPA.


B.    Right to Inspect and Review

i.     Students are granted the general right to inspect and review their education records, with the notable exception being the financial records of the student’s parents.

ii.     UMBC may limit the general right of inspection and review when necessary to comply with another law or regulation (e.g., Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972).


C.    Waiver of Access of Rights

i.     A student may, by a signed writing, waive his or her right of access to confidential recommendations in three areas:

1.     Admission to any education institution;

2.     Application for employment; and

3.     Receipt of honors and awards.

ii.     UMBC will not require such waivers as a condition for admission or receipt of any service or benefit normally provided to students.


D.   Principles of Inspection and Review

i.     Education records are maintained in a number of University offices.

ii.    Requests to review must be made in writing to the responsible official of each office that maintains the records.

iii.   UMBC will comply with a request for access within a reasonable time, but not more than 45 days after receipt of the request.

iv.   Customarily, arrangements will be made for the student to review his or her education record in the presence of a staff member.

v.    UMBC will, in some circumstances, allow the student to obtain copies of his or her education records at his or her expense, but UMBC is not required to make copies, but instead only to provide access to review and inspect.


E.    Directory Information

i.     FERPA requires UMBC to designate which information about students will be considered directory information.  Directory information may be published and/or released without student consent.

ii.     UMBC has designated the following categories of information as directory information:

1.     Name;

2.     Address;

3.     Telephone listing;

4.     Electronic mail address;

5.     Photograph (when created by the University for the purposes of promotion or advertisement);

6.     Major field of study;

7.     Grade level (e.g., junior, senior);

8.     Enrollment status (e.g., undergraduate or graduate, full-time or part-time);

9.     Dates of attendance;

10.  Participation in officially recognized activities and sports;

11.  Weight and height of members of athletic teams;

12.  Degrees, honors, and awards received;

13.  Most recent educational agency or institution attended; and

14.  Status as a Graduate Assistant.

iii.     A student may request that UMBC not release his or her directory information to the public. To do so, a student must follow the procedures and adhere to the timelines articulated by the Registrar’s Office. That request will also prevent UMBC from releasing a student’s directory information to prospective employers, student loan servicers, insurance companies, and other organizations to which a student would customarily want UMBC to transmit information without explicit consent.


F.    Consent by Student Not Required for Release

i.     UMBC may release the following information without obtaining consent:

1.     To other UMBC officials, including instructors, within UMBC whom the University has determined to have legitimate educational interests. This includes contractors, consultants, volunteers, or other parties to whom the University has outsourced institutional services or functions.

2.     To officials of another institution of higher education where the student seeks or intends to enroll, or where the student is already enrolled if the disclosure is for purposes related to the student’s enrollment or transfer.

3.     To authorized representatives of the U. S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or State and local educational authorities, such as a State postsecondary authority that is responsible for supervising the University’s State-supported education programs. Disclosures under this provision may be made in connection with an audit or evaluation of Federal- or State-supported education programs, or for the enforcement of or compliance with Federal legal requirements that relate to those programs. These entities may make further disclosures of personally identifiable information to outside entities that are designated by them as their authorized representatives to conduct any audit, evaluation, or enforcement or compliance activity on their behalf.

4.     In connection with financial aid for which the student has applied or which the student has received, if the information is necessary to determine eligibility for the aid, determine the amount of the aid, determine the conditions of the aid, or enforce the terms and conditions of the aid.

5.     To organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, the University, in order to: (a) develop, validate, or administer predictive tests; (b) administer student aid programs; or (c) improve instruction.

6.     To accrediting organizations to carry out their accrediting functions.

7.     To parents of an eligible student if the student is a dependent for IRS tax purposes.

8.     To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena.

9.     To appropriate officials in connection with a health or safety emergency.

10.  To the public if the information has been designated as “directory information.”

11.  To a victim of an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense.  The disclosure may only include the final results of the disciplinary proceeding with respect to that alleged crime or offense, regardless of the finding.

12.  To the general public, the final results of a disciplinary proceeding, if the University determines the student is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense and the student has committed a violation of the University’s rules or policies with respect to the allegation made against him or her.

13.  To parents of a student regarding the student’s violation of any Federal, State, or local law, or of any rule or policy of the University, governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance if the University determines the student committed a disciplinary violation and the student is under the age of 21.

ii.     UMBC reserves the right to verify the accuracy of any information contained in what purports to be an official university document (e.g., a transcript) or information that is provided to a third party.


G.   Records of Disclosures

i.     UMBC will maintain, with the student’s education record, a record of each request, and each disclosure, of the student’s records, except:

1.     Disclosures to the student himself or herself;

2.     Disclosures pursuant to the written consent of the student (the written consent itself will suffice as a record);

3.     Disclosures to UMBC Officials;

4.     Disclosures of Directory Information; or

5.     Disclosures in response to a grand jury or other law enforcement subpoena where the disclosure is directed not to occur.

ii.     This record of disclosures may be inspected by the student, the custodian of the records, and other UMBC and governmental officials whose purpose is to audit the recordkeeping procedures of UMBC.


H.   Request to Amend Education Records

i.     A student who believes that information contained in his or her education records is inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the student’s rights of privacy may submit a written request to the appropriate custodian specifying the document(s) being challenged, and the basis for the complaint. The request will be sent to the person responsible for any amendments to the record in question.

ii.     Within a reasonable period of time of receipt of the request, UMBC will decide whether to amend the records in accordance with the request. If the decision is to refuse to amend, the student will be so notified and will be advised of the right to a hearing to challenge the content of his or her records.


I.    Hearing to Challenge Education Record

i.     If UMBC refuses to amend a student’s record, the student may then exercise the right to a hearing by delivering a written hearing request to UMBC’s Office of the General Counsel.

ii.     UMBC shall hold the hearing within a reasonable time after receiving the request for the hearing from the student.

iii.     UMBC shall give the student notice of the date, place, and time reasonably in advance of the hearing.

iv.     The hearing will be conducted by a UMBC official, or a person of UMBC’s choosing, who does not have a direct interest in the outcome.

v.     UMBC shall make its decision in writing within a reasonable period of time after the hearing.  The decision will be based solely upon evidence presented at the hearing and will include a summary of the evidence and the reasons for the decision.

J.   Concerns or Complaints

i.     Any member of the campus community who has reason to believe that UMBC is not complying with the requirements of FERPA or this policy should inform the UMBC Office of the General Counsel in writing.

ii.     A student alleging UMBC noncompliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act may file a written complaint with the Family Policy

Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, DC 20202


Directory Information Information contained in an education record of a student that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed.


To permit access to, or the release, transfer, or other communication of, personally identifiable information contained in education records by any means, including oral, written, or electronic means, to any party except the party identified as the party that provided or created the record.
Education Record(s)


(a) The term means those records that are:

(1) Directly related to a student; and

(2) Maintained by UMBC or by a party acting for UMBC.

(b) The term does not include:

(1) 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.

(2) Records of the UMBC Police Department.

(3)(i) Records relating to an individual who is employed by UMBC, that:

(A) Are made and maintained in the normal course of business;

(B) Relate exclusively to the individual in that individual’s capacity as an employee; and

(C) Are not available for use for any other purpose.

(ii) Records relating to an individual in attendance at UMBC who is employed as a result of his or her status as a student are education records and not excepted under paragraph (b)(3)(i) of this definition.

(4) Records on a student attending UMBC, that are:

(i) 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;

(ii) Made, maintained, or used only in connection with treatment of the student; and

(iii) 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; and

(5) Records created or received by UMBC after an individual is no longer a student in attendance and that are not directly related to the individual’s attendance as a student.

(6) Grades on peer-graded papers before they are collected and recorded by a UMBC Official.

Parent The parent of a student including a natural parent, a guardian, or an individual acting as a parent in the absence of a parent or guardian.
Personally Identifiable Information or PII The term includes, but is not limited to:

(a) The student’s name;

(b) The name of the student’s parent or other family members;

(c) The address of the student or student’s family;

(d) A personal identifier, such as the student’s social security number, student number, or biometric record;

(e) Other indirect identifiers, such as the student’s date of birth, place of birth, and mother’s maiden name;

(f) Other information that, alone or in combination, is linked or linkable to a specific student that would allow a reasonable person in the UMBC community, who does not have personal knowledge of the relevant circumstances, to identify the student with reasonable certainty; or

(g) Information requested by a person who UMBC reasonably believes knows the identity of the student to whom the education record relates.

Record Any information recorded in any way, including, but not limited to, handwriting, print, computer media, video or audio tape.
Responsible Administrator The Vice President or senior administrator charged with the responsibility for creating, implementing, updating and enforcing University Policies as required in his/her area of administrative authority.
Responsible Department or Office At the direction of the Responsible Administrator, the Responsible Department or Office develops and administers policies and procedures and assures the accuracy of its subject matter, its issuance, and timely updating.
Student Any living individual who is or has been in attendance at UMBC and regarding whom UMBC maintains education records.
UMBC Official A person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee. A UMBC official also may include a volunteer or contractor outside of the University who performs an institutional service or function for which the University would otherwise use its own employees and who is under the direct control of the University with respect to the use and maintenance of PII from education records, such as an IT vendor, attorney, auditor, IT specialist, or collection agent or a student volunteering to assist another UMBC official in performing his or her tasks. A UMBC official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities for the University.