Chapter 6 – Treatment of Student Education Records

(Amended 9/93; 10/95; 10/04)

This statement of institutional policy regarding the treatment of student education records is consistent with Section 438 of the General Education Provision Act, Title IV of Pub. L. 90-247, as amended, and popularly known as the Buckley Amendment, or the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA).

6.1 Definitions

  1. Student. A student is defined as a person who has attended or is attending The University of Iowa and whose education records are maintained by the University.
  2. Education records. Education records are those records which meet the Act's definition of the term. The following records are not education records:
    1. the personal files of University of Iowa faculty and staff members that are not accessible or revealed to persons other than a substitute faculty or staff member;
    2. employment records, unless the employment is a direct result of the employee's status as a student;
    3. medical and counseling records that are created, maintained or used for treatment of the student;
    4. records that contain only information relating to a person after the person has ceased being enrolled at the University, such as alumni records.
  3. Directory information. The following categories of information are designated by the University as directory information: name; local address; telephone; home town; major fields of study; college enrolled in; dates of attendance, including the current class or year; full-time/part-time status; degrees and awards received; height and weight of members of athletic teams; and information about participation in activities and sports.
  4. Act. The "Act" refers to Section 438 of the General Education Provision Act, Title IV of Pub. L. 90-247, as amended, and regulations pertaining to that Act.
  5. Exempted persons. The following is a list of exempted persons:
    1. the student;
    2. members of The University of Iowa faculty, staff, or the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, who have a "legitimate educational interest" in obtaining access to information in the record. The determination of who has a legitimate educational interest will be made by the person responsible for the maintenance of the records on the basis of the following tests:
      1. whether the information is needed to carry out an educational duty or responsibility that is within the employment duties and responsibilities of the staff or faculty member;
      2. whether the purpose for which the information is obtained relates to the personal health or the education or the educational program of the student;
      3. whether the information will be treated confidentially and with respect for the privacy of the student;
    3. persons presenting a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena. The University will make a diligent effort to notify the student before complying with such an order or subpoena;
    4. persons who represent agencies or organizations from which a student has received or applied for student financial aid and who seek only such information as is necessary to determine the eligibility of the student for such aid, the amount and conditions of the aid, or to enforce the terms or conditions of the aid;
    5. authorized representatives of the Comptroller General of the United States or the Secretary of the United States Department of Education who seek such information as is necessary to conduct an audit and evaluation of federally supported education programs or to enforce or comply with federal legal requirements related to these programs, provided that information so collected is protected in a manner which will not permit the personal identification of students by other than those authorized representatives, and that personally identifiable information be destroyed when it is no longer needed for such audit, evaluation, or enforcement of or compliance with federal legal requirements;
    6. organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of the University for the purpose of developing, validating, or administering predictive tests, administering student aid programs, and improving instruction, provided that the studies will be conducted in a manner that does not permit the personal identification of students by individuals other than representatives of the organization and that personally identifiable information is destroyed when no longer needed for the purposes for which the study is conducted; and
    7. accrediting organizations that require information to carry out their accrediting function, provided that the information will be treated in such a manner that does not permit the personal identification of students by persons other than the authorized representatives of the accrediting organization and that personally identifiable information is destroyed when no longer needed for the purpose for which the information is collected.

6.2 Notice to Students

The University will notify students at least annually that they have rights under the Act by placing a statement in Policies and Regulations Affecting Students or in other publications likely to be read by students.

6.3 Right to Inspect and Review

The University will permit each student to inspect and review records pertaining to him or her and maintained by the University that meet the definition of "education records." However, a student may not inspect the following records:

  1. the financial records and statements of a student's parents;
  2. confidential letters and statements of recommendation placed in records before January 1, 1975; and/or
  3. confidential letters and statements of recommendation for admission, employment or honorary recognition placed in records after January 1, 1975, for which the student has waived the right to inspection and review.

Records are not maintained in a central location on the campus but are located in appropriate offices throughout the University. Most students' academic records are kept in one or more of the University college(s) from which they took courses.

Some departments may maintain records separate from the college. Information concerning departments which have separate records, their location, and the person responsible for the record may be obtained from the office of the dean of the college in which the department is located.

In addition, students may have records in one or more of the following offices:

Academic Advising Center, Director

Office of Admissions, Director

Office of the Registrar, Registrar

Division of Student Life

Office of Student Financial Aid, Director

University Housing and Dining, Director

Intercollegiate Athletics, Directors

University Billing Office

Placement Services

Placement offices maintained by individual colleges and schools, dean, or director

International Student and Scholar Services

TRIO Student Support Services

Evaluation and Exam Service, Director

Students may formally request to inspect and review records by completing an inspection request form, which may be obtained at the Office of the Registrar, and presenting it to the office that maintains the desired records. In addition, record custodians may comply with informal requests to review and inspect education records without requiring an inspection form. The office will respond to a formal request within 45 days of the date the request is presented by making available for inspection and review during the regular office hours of that office, those requested records that are covered by the Act. The University may have a staff member or official present at any time during the inspection and review. In addition, reasonable requests for explanation and interpretations of the records will be honored by the record custodian. Students may have copies made of their records if necessary to effect the right to inspect and review the record, or when a disclosure is made to another institution, or at the discretion of the custodian of the record. Reasonable charges for copies may be made to the student.

6.4 Release of Information by University

The University will not disclose personally identifiable information (except directory information as defined above in IV-6.1c) from the education records of students without the prior consent of the student except to exempted persons. Such consent will specify the records to be disclosed, the purpose of disclosure, and to whom the disclosure is to be made.

The University may, at its discretion, disclose directory information to any person or to the public unless the student formally requests that such information not be released without consent. To restrict the release of directory information and to avoid publication of the information in the University directory, a formal request must be completed in the Office of the Registrar within seven calendar days following the first day of classes of fall semester. The request will be effective as long as the student is enrolled at The University of Iowa. Former students may restrict address and telephone information. A request made during spring semester or summer session will be effective only for the balance of that year and cannot be effectuated with respect to information published in the University Directory.

6.5 Amendment of Student Education Records

The University will consider the formal request of a student to amend information in his or her education record which they believe to be inaccurate, misleading or a violation of his or her rights. "Amendment" may include, but is not limited to, deletion or correction of information in the record or the addition of a statement commenting on the information in the record. Formal requests for amendments should be made in writing to the Office of the Registrar, which will forward the request to the University staff or faculty member who is the custodian of the record. A decision by the staff or faculty member to amend or not will be reached within a reasonable time.

If an amendment satisfactory to the student is not granted, the student may file a request for a hearing in writing to the Office of the Registrar. A hearing before a person appointed by the President of the University, or his or her designee, will be held within a reasonable time after the request is received. The student will be informed of the date, place and time of the hearing and may present relevant evidence and be assisted or represented by one or more persons of his or her choice, at his or her own expense, including an attorney. The decision of the hearing officer will be in writing and based solely upon the evidence presented at the hearing. An appeal of the hearing officer's decision may be made in writing to a person designated by the President of the University, who will review the record below only if a significant question of policy or law appears to be raised by the case. Further appeal may be made to the Board of Regents, State of Iowa. After a final disposition by the hearing officer, or on appeal, the student may place in his or her record a statement commenting upon the information in the education record and setting forth any reasons for disagreeing with the decision of the University.

6.6 Record of Requests

  1. The University will maintain a record of the requests for and disclosure of personally identifiable information from the education record of the student, except the record need not include the following:
    1. requests for and disclosure of directory information;
    2. requests and disclosure to persons described in IV-6.1 of this policy; or
    3. requests and disclosures made pursuant to the written consent of the student to persons designated by the student.
  2. The record of requests will state the names of the parties who have requested or obtained personally identifiable information and the legitimate interest of the party in requesting or obtaining that information. This record of requests and disclosures will be maintained by the office that maintains the record and may be inspected by the student under the same procedures by which the record itself may be inspected.
  3. Internal administration of requests. All formal student requests under this policy will be coordinated through the Office of the Registrar. Record custodians may comply with informal requests to review and inspect education records. In addition, forms will be available for records office to record requests and disclosures that must be recorded and maintained with the record under the Act.