The Catholic University of America

Recap of the Basics

  • FERPA is a federal law which protects a student’s education record.
     
  • As an employee of the university, you are responsible for protecting student information in your possession, even if you do not directly deal with this type of information on a regular basis as part of your job responsibilities.
     
  • Failure to follow FERPA can result in loss of federal funding, formal complaints or termination of employment.
     
  • Each student record is private. Private information about one student cannot be discussed with another unless there is written permission to do so.
     
  • Appropriate measures should be taken to protect student records that are stored on personal computers, in file cabinets or other forms of storage.
     
  • Students should be encouraged to keep their Cardinal Card, passwords, and any other materials that contain their educational information secure.
     
  • University employees may access and use education records only as necessary to conduct official business that is related to their assigned job responsibilities.
     
  • The following directory information is contained in an education record of a student that generally would not be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. Examples include:
       
    • Name
    • Addresses (local and permanent)
    • E-mail addresses
    • Dates of attendance
    • Major
    • Degrees and awards received
    • Participation in officially recognized sports and activities
    • Weight and height of members of athletic teams
  • The following non-directory information is protected by CUA and requires written consent of the student before being shared or legitimate educational interest by a university official:
       
    • Social Security number
    • Tuition charges
    • Student ID number
    • Telephone Numbers (local and permanent)
    • Grades and related information
    • Date and place of birth
    • Disciplinary actions
    • Ethnicity
    • Advisor’s name
    • Residency status
    • Current class schedule and courses completed
  • Student record information must not be released to third parties outside the university, including parents and spouses of students without the written consent of the student.
     
  • Parents of students who claim them as dependents for tax purposes may have access to their child’s student record information.
     
  • If you see or suspect a data release, tell your supervisor or Danielle Spinato, Associate Registrar. Do not ignore it.
     
  • CUA’s main FERPA policy is known as the "Student Records Policy” and can be found on CUA’s policy pages.
     
  • The Office of General Counsel has a dedicated FERPA Web Page which contains helpful information.

 

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