FERPA for Students

What are my rights under FERPA?

The Family Educations Rights and Privacy Act (commonly referred to as FERPA or the "Buckley Amendment") provides students certain rights to inspect, to amend, and have limited control-access to their educational records. The University of Richmond is required to annually notify students of their rights under FERPA. Student rights are:

  1. Access to Education Records: Students have the right to inspect and review their education records within 45 days of the day the University receives a written request for access, anytime after their matriculation. Students should submit their request to the Office of the University Registrar and specify the records they wish to inspect. Arrangements will be for and time and place for the records to be inspected.
  2. Request for Amendment of Education Records: Students have the right to request amendment of education records if they believe the records are inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of their privacy rights. Students may ask the University to amend a record they believe is inaccurate or misleading. They should make the request in writing, clearly identifying 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. Additional information regarding hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
  3. Disclosure of Education Records: Students have the right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information in education records, except to the extent that the Act or any other superseding law authorizes disclosure without student consent. Please note: Because of the access afforded by a University ID, this number should be treated as confidential-it should be protected and not carelessly shared with others. It will be used for a student's entire time at the University of Richmond, so it should always be treated in a confidential manner.
  4. Right to File a Complaint: Students have 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. The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is:

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

What do I do if I don't want people to have access to my directory information?

To prevent third-party access to directory information, you may complete the Request for Non-Disclosure of Directory Information form.  A confidentiality flag is then applied to your student records.  The form is available upon request in the Registrar's Office. 

The confidentiality flag on your record will stay in effect even after you leave the University unless you notify the Registrar's Office of your request in writing to rescind the flag.  You should be aware that this confidentiality flag will keep us from responding to routine verification requests.  Often potential employers or graduate schools will contact us to verify attendance, graduation date, majors, etc. (all directory information).  Short of rescinding in writing your confidentiality flag completely, the only way we could respond to them would be as part of a written packet (faxed or sent through the U.S. mail) that includes a verification request along with a release form signed by you-giving us permission to release the needed information to a specific third party in order to respond.

What do I do if I want to allow disclosure of my non-directory information?

Sign the FERPA Waiver Card.  During Orientation you will meet with your advisor. You will have the opportunity to sign a card providing permission for the University to release any non-directory information to your parents, guardians, or anyone else you specify. While we ask you to return the FERPA card to your advisor, the choice is yours as to whether or not you fill out this release. (You may leave the release section blank and unsigned, in which case no one would have the ability to receive any non-directory information about you.)

Your FERPA rights begin on the first day of class.

If you sign and authorize your parents (or anyone else) this waiver to your education record:

  • We will not automatically send grades or information to the individual(s) listed on your FERPA waiver card.
  • The University will endeavor to answer questions, usually at the advisor or dean of students level, for your parents or anyone else specifically designated regarding academic progress, individual course grades, GPA, academic status, financial and general student information.
  • The release will stay on file, be posted on the system, and stay in effect throughout your tenure at the University, or until you rescind the waiver in writing to the Registrar's Office.

What if I don't want my non-directory information to be disclosed?

If you choose not to sign the waiver, you will be responsible for forwarding any grades or financial information (including bills) that you may want your parents to see.

Requests for Letters of Recommendation and Faculty/Academic Advisor Reference Requests

For students requesting letters of recommendation a Request for Letter of Recommendation form is available. For students requesting a reference from a faculty member or an academic advisor, a Release for Faculty Member or Advisor form is also available.  Both forms authorize inclusion of information from their education records.  (Note: FERPA does allow sharing of educational records with officials at other schools at which a student seeks to enroll as long as the disclosure is for purposes related to the student's enrollment or transfer.)