The Catholic University of America

What are the FERPA basics?

Key Terms:

  • Education Record: Any record that is related to the student and maintained by CUA including digital records. Examples include:
    • Documents with a student’s name and ID number
    • Class schedule
    • Student information displayed on a computer screen
    • Grades
    • Personal notes about a student
    • Letters of recommendation
  • Non-Education Record: Law enforcement record, employment record unless employment is contingent on student status (e.g., student workers), non-circulating (sole possession) record such as a note to be used as a personal memory aid.
  • Directory Information: Information 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 (start and end date of semesters enrolled, not attendance records in particular courses)
    • Major
    • Degrees and awards received
    • Participation in officially recognized sports and activities
    • Weight and height of members of athletic teams
  • Non-Directory Information: some examples of private information (protected by CUA) includes:
    • Social Security number
    • Tuition charges
    • Telephone numbers
    • Student ID number
    • Grades and related information
    • Date and place of birth
    • Disciplinary actions
    • Ethnicity
    • Advisor’s name
    • Residency status
    • Current class schedule and courses completed
  • University Official with Legitimate Educational Interest: A person employed by CUA in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, support staff position or an agent of CUA who is:
    • Performing a task that is specific to their position description or contract;
    • Performing a task related to a student’s education or a student’s discipline;
    • Providing a service or benefit to the student;
    • Maintaining safety and security on campus.
  • Personally Identifiable Information: Personal characteristics that would make a student’s identity easily traceable (e.g., pink hair). Any information that is not listed as directory information (e.g., a student identification number or any portion such as the last four digits, the names of students’ parents, the date and place of birth of a student).


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