Student Privacy Rights

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train image 7 FERPA Release Exceptions
train image 7 Directory Information
train image 7 Rights of Inspection and Amendment

FERPA Release Exceptions

As a general rule, under the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), personally identifiable information may not be released from a student’s education records without the student’s prior written consent. Exceptions to this rule are set out in the FERPA regulations and the FERPA policy of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  The full policy is available at http://policy.sites.unc.edu/files/2013/05/FERPA.pdf

For your convenience, a few of those exceptions are listed below.  The University may disclose personally identifiable information from a student’s education records without the student’s prior written consent in the following situations, after using reasonable methods to identify and authenticate the identity of the parties to whom it discloses such information:

  • Disclosure to officials of another institution in which the student seeks or intends to enroll and disclosure to officials of another institution in which a currently enrolled UNC-CH student is contemporaneously enrolled. The University may also make disclosures to an institution where a former UNC-CH student is already enrolled, as long as the disclosures are for purposes related to the student’s enrollment or transfer.
  • Inclusion in the education records of a student appropriate information concerning disciplinary action taken against the student for conduct that posed a significant risk to the safety or well-being of that student, other students, or other members of the school community.
  • Disclosure, on request, of the final results of a disciplinary proceeding where a student has allegedly perpetrated a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense and, has been found, by that conduct, to have violated University rules or policies. In such a case, the following information will be disclosed: the student’s name; the rule or policy that was violated; any essential findings supporting the conclusion that the violation was committed; the disciplinary sanction imposed; the date the sanction was imposed; and the duration of the sanction. The names of victims, witnesses, or other students will not be disclosed without their prior written consent.
  • Disclosure to teachers, officials, and employees of UNC-CH (including employees of the UNC-CH Department of Public Safety); disclosure to contractors of UNC-CH to whom the University has outsourced institutional services or functions (for example, the National Student Clearinghouse, Blackboard, entities providing practical or clinical training for students, and other similar or dissimilar contractors); disclosure to UNC-CH students when they are functioning in an official University capacity (for example, the Honor Court); and disclosure to employees of the General Administration of The University of North Carolina system. In each case disclosure may be made to these individuals and entities only if they have a legitimate educational interest in the information. They are deemed to have a “legitimate educational interest” in the information if it is necessary or desirable for them to obtain it in order to carry out their official duties or their contractual obligations to the University and/or to implement the policies of The University of North Carolina, or if it is in the educational interest of the student in question for such individuals and entities to have the information.
  • Disclosure of “directory information,” which the University defines as: the student’s name; address (local and grade/billing address); student e-mail address; telephone listing (local and grade/billing telephone numbers); date and place of birth; major field of study; class (freshman, senior, etc.); enrollment status (full-time, half-time, part-time); person ID number (PID); anticipated graduation date; participation in officially recognized activities and sports; weight and height of members of athletic teams; dates of attendance; degrees and awards received; the most recent previous educational agency or institution attended by the student; and the county, state and/or U.S. territory from which the student entered the University. The University makes public certain information that has been designated as “directory information” unless the student has notified the Office of the University Registrar to restrict the release of this information. Note that parent name, address, and telephone number are not directory information.

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Directory Information

The University publishes the campus directory annually, and some professional and graduate student groups publish directories of students in their departments or schools.

Requesting non-disclosure of directory information

Students who do not wish to have any or all directory information made public without their prior consent must come in person to the Office of the University Registrar (Suite 3100, SASB North) and fill a “Requesting FERPA On Student’s Record, Non-Disclosure of Information” form in order to place a FERPA Privacy Flag on their records. Students who complete the form will receive counseling on the effects of placing a FERPA Privacy Flag on their records. Students who are outside commuting distance to the UNC-CH campus may contact the Records area at 919-962-0495 for further instructions.

If a student chooses to place a FERPA Privacy Flag, it will remain in effect until the student removes it, and the student will not be able to receive any information about education records by telephone. Instead, the student must come in person and show photo ID or send a written request.

Canceling a non-disclosure request

To remove the restriction, the student must either:

    • Come to Suite 3100, SASB North and complete a “Request for Removing Restrictions on Non-Disclosure of Information” form

OR

    • Send a written request to the Office of the University Registrar.

To remove a FERPA Privacy Flag, a student must come in person to the Registration area of the Office of the University Registrar (Suite 3100, SASB North) and fill out a “Requesting Removal of a Previously Set FERPA Privacy Flag from a Student’s Record, Remove Previously Set Restrictions on Release of Information” form. Students who are outside commuting distance of the UNC-CH campus may contact the Registration area at 919-962-9851 for further instructions.

Blocking certain information from the directory

If a student wishes to block certain information from the online campus directory, but does not want to place a FERPA Privacy Flag, the student may use the “Updating Personal Information” section of the directory, after signing in. For questions about restricting information, contact the Registration area at 919-962-9851.

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Rights of Inspection and Amendment

FERPA also gives students the right to inspect their education records and to request amendment of those records if they are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights.

To inspect education records, a student must file a written request with the individual who has custody of the records that the student wishes to inspect (University Registrar, Academic Dean, Department Chair, Director of University Housing, etc.). This request must be honored within 45 days after the records custodian receives it.

To request amendment of education records, a student must first discuss the matter informally with the records custodian.  If the custodian of the records agrees with the request for amendment, the records will be amended. If not, the custodian will notify the student within a reasonable period of time that the records will not be amended and will inform the student of applicable appeal rights.

Students also have the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education alleging that the University has not complied with FERPA.

Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202-5920
Phone: 1-800-USA-LEARN (1-800-872-5327)


Questions about the University’s FERPA Policy?

Questions about FERPA should be addressed to the Assistant Provost and University Registrar.