The Catholic University of America

Can I have a recap of the FERPA basics? Yes!

  • FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) is a federal law which protects the privacy of students’ education records.
  • You have a legal and moral responsibility to protect education records in your possession.
  • CUA has four policies that reference FERPA requirements: the Student Record Policy, Information Security and Assurance Policy, Records and Transcripts Policy and the Parental Notification Policy.
  • If you come across a situation which may be in violation of FERPA and/or university policy, contact the Compliance & Privacy Officer or General Counsel. Do not ignore it.
  • Each student record is private. Do not discuss private information about one student with another unless you have written permission to do so.
  • Law enforcement records, employment records and personal notes are not considered education records.
  • Information not on the list of approved directory information, cannot be released without
    written and signed consent from the student. Students have a right to withhold their directory information.
  • Do not display or create lists of student scores or grades publicly in association with names, student ID numbers or even the last four digits of the social security number or other personal identifiers. This includes attendance sheets.
  • Do not use a student’s social security number as the primary means of searching for information without written and signed consent.
  • Your access to education information must be for legitimate use only in order to meet your work responsibilities. Curiosity is not a legitimate reason to access a student’s record.
  • Do not share student education record information with other faculty or staff members of the university unless they have legitimate educational interest. If you are uncertain about a request, ask your immediate supervisor or contact the Compliance and Privacy Officer or General Counsel for guidance.
  • If you are a Cardinal Students user, watch for the icon that signifies non-disclosure: the “blue window shade” and the icon that signifies education record release: the “red star”. 
  • Personally identifiable information such as a student ID number or a social security number, cannot be released without the student’s written and signed content unless disclosure is to a school official with a legitimate educational interest.
  • Parents and spouses do not have access to a student’s education information unless the student has provided written and signed consent, the student is a tax dependent of the parent, or another FERPA exception has been met such as Health and Safety.
  • When sending communications, be mindful of all recipients and ensure that private information is not shared.
  • In the case of an emergency (medical and/or safety) call Public Safety first at 202-319-5111.
  • If you discover a data release, speak to one of the individuals referenced in this training. Do not leave a message.
  • If you have questions, contact the associate registrar or e-mail:



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