Student Records Policy

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), a federal law, affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. They are: (1) the right to inspect and review education records within 45 days of the day the University receives a request for access; (2) the right to request the amendment of the education records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading; (3) the right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent; and (4) the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the University of Iowa to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The address of the Family Policy Compliance Office, which administers FERPA, is 400 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, DC, 20202-4605. Whether or not a student elects to contact the U.S. Department of Education, they are welcome to file an internal complaint with the University of Iowa Office of the Registrar (Room 1, Jessup Hall, 319-335-0238)

Under FERPA, the University defines the following categories as directory information: name; local address; permanent/hometown address; telephone number; photographs and video recordings of students in public and non-classroom settings; HawkID and electronic mail address; major fields of study; college enrolled in; dates of attendance, including the current class or year; full-time/part-time enrollment status; degrees, certificates, honors, scholarships and awards received as well as those applied for during the current academic term; height and weight of members of athletic teams;  information about participation in activities and sports; and job title, employing department, work phone number, and work address when employed in a position that requires student status. The University’s on-line directory of students lists only name, HawkID, e-mail address, college of enrollment, and employment information.  

The University has authority under FERPA to release directory information regarding a current or former student to anyone without the consent of the student. For students who request confidentiality of directory information, the University will not release directory information to the general public. Students interested in restricting the release of directory information should contact the Registrar's Service Center, 17 Calvin Hall, or place a restriction on your information via MyUI . To restrict your address using MyUI, go to Student Information > Student Life Management > Address Change/Update. Some student employees are not permitted to restrict their name, office address, email, or office phone number.  

Directory information not restricted from release by the student is subject to public release and inclusion in University directories. 

Students are entitled to restrict the release of directory information, and former students may restrict address and telephone number.  A request to restrict directory information will remain in effect until revoked by the student in writing.

To facilitate the disclosure of student education record information, FERPA information release forms are available in department offices which maintain student records. In lieu of signing a FERPA information release form, a student may elect to authorize disclosure via the web using MyUI. The combination of a student’s HawkID and HawkID password at the University of Iowa is considered an electronic signature. The Office of the Registrar will respond to electronic requests for the release of transcripts and other personally identifiable information as long as each request is authenticated via the MyUI website or the Office of the Registrar website by logging in with a student’s HawkID and HawkID password.

FERPA permits disclosure of education record information without the student’s consent to school officials who have a legitimate educational interest in the information. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill their professional responsibility. A school official is a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the University has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, collection agent, or software vendor); a person serving on the Board of Regents; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing their tasks.  A volunteer or contractor outside of the University is considered a school official for purposes of this policy if they perform an institutional service or function for which the University would otherwise use its own employees and who is under the direct control of the University with respect to the use and maintenance of personally identifiable information from education records.

Not all information related to students is defined as education records under FERPA. For example, law enforcement records, medical records, and alumni records are not accessible as education records. Education record information may be released, moreover, under specified circumstances, and the University reserves the right to release student record information without the student’s prior permission as authorized by FERPA. For example, a student’s consent is not required prior to the release of unrestricted directory information or certain financial aid information, or in the case of a health or safety emergency. As required by a federal law enacted in 2008, University Police will notify appropriate parties in the event a residence hall resident is reported to be missing and is presumed to be in danger but cannot be located within the residence facility.  In the case of a resident under the age of 21, University Police will, upon receiving a report of a missing resident, IMMEDIATELY initiate a criminal investigation including contacting the parent or guardian of the resident and contacting the National Crime and Information Center as required under Section 3701 (a) of the Crime Control Act of 1990 in the event of a missing person emergency.  Residents are encouraged to update the next-of-kin contact information reported on the confidentiality card residents fill out during check in.  

FERPA and Iowa law may permit the release of certain disciplinary information without the student’s consent, such as the final disciplinary results of a crime of violence committed by a student, or parental notification of an alcohol or drug violation committed by a student under 21 years of age. In addition, FERPA permits student record information to be released without prior approval to testing agencies, accrediting organizations, parents of dependent students, victims of crimes of violence or nonforcible sex offenses, designated officials of the federal government or state government, or to individuals with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena. To request a copy of the final results of a disciplinary proceeding against a student who committed a violent offense, the victim of the offense should contact the Office of the Vice President for Student Life.  With respect to interinstitutional disclosure, the University intends to disclose education records without the student’s consent, to officials of another school, upon request, in which the student seeks or intends to enroll or where the student is already enrolled as long as the disclosure is for purposes related to the student's enrollment or transfer. For the purpose of evaluating and improving instructional programs, Iowa high schools and community colleges receive from the University a report containing aggregate academic progress data on the school’s graduates who are attending the University of Iowa.

Some courses both face-to-face and those offered over the World Wide Web or via a course management system like ICON (powered by Desire2Learn, WebCT, or Blackboard) may require the sharing of information like name, email address, phone, etc. with fellow classmates in order to facilitate classroom interaction.  This sharing of information for such courses is not prohibited by FERPA, and it may be expected of all students, even for a student who has placed a block on directory information. Before enrolling in a course, students are encouraged to discuss any concerns they have regarding the sharing of this type of information with the instructor.

In 1998, Congress enacted a law restricting student financial aid to persons convicted of certain illicit drug crimes (20 U.S.C. 1091(r)). The University, in complying with the requirements of this law, may disseminate certain information in the student’s record related to financial aid or criminal history to the Department of Education or other appropriate enforcement agency.

Student requests to inspect education records which are governed by FERPA should be submitted to the office which maintains the records at issue (e.g. registrar, dean, head of the academic department, or other appropriate official). The University official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.

Students may also ask the University to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. The request should be made in writing to the University official responsible for the record and clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading.

Under FERPA, students are not entitled to copies of education records in every case. Students may have copies made of their records if necessary to effect their right to inspect and review the record, or when a disclosure is made to another institution. When provided, the fee for copies will be 20 cents per page. Cases in which the University may deny a request for copies of records include, but are not limited to, situations where the student lives within commuting distance of the University of Iowa; where the student has an unpaid financial obligation to the University; where there is an unresolved disciplinary action against the student; or where the education record requested is an exam or set of standardized test questions. Where copies are provided, the documents will be redacted to protect the rights of other students.

For additional relevant policies see the Operations Manual IV-6.