The University at Buffalo is responsible for maintaining the
confidentiality of student educational records in accordance with
the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA).
The University at Buffalo (UB, university) is committed to the
protection and confidentiality of student educational records in
accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of
FERPA gives students the right to:
- inspect and review their own educational records
- control the disclosure of personally identifiable information
contained in their educational records, except to the extent that
FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent
- request the amendment of their educational records if they
believe the records are inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of
their privacy rights under FERPA, and if necessary, to have a
hearing on this issue
- file a complaint with the Family Policy Compliance Office of
the United States Department of Education concerning alleged
failures by the university to comply with FERPA requirements.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA)
gives students the right to inspect and review their educational
records and, under certain circumstances, the right to request that
such records be amended. FERPA limits the right of the university
to disclose educational records or information contained in such
records without the student’s consent. FERPA also requires
that the university notify students, on an annual basis, of their
rights under FERPA.
This policy applies to all individuals with access to
educational records maintained by the university and the protected
rights of students regarding the release of such records.
Includes, but is not limited to, attendance in person;
attendance via correspondence, videoconference, satellite,
internet, or other telecommunication technology used by students
who are not physically present in the classroom; and participation
in a work-study program.
Defined by FERPA as those records that contain information
directly related to a student and which are maintained by the
university or by a party acting on behalf of the university. This
includes, but is not limited to, transcripts, papers, exams,
student databases, class schedules, financial records,
correspondence, email, and handwritten notations. Educational
records may be maintained in any medium. Educational records do not
include law enforcement or physician treatment records that may be
protected by other laws or regulations.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 is a
federal law that protects the privacy of student educational
Legitimate Educational Interest
A University Official has a legitimate educational interest if
the official requires the information for the purpose of fulfilling
his official duties, including but not limited to:
· performing a task that is specified in his/her
position description or contract agreement
· performing a task related to a student’s
· performing a task related to the discipline of a
· providing a service or benefit relating to the
student or student’s family, such as health care, counseling,
job placement, or financial aid
· maintaining the safety and security of the
· participating in or conducting studies,
evaluations, or assessments of educational programs.
A parent of a student and includes a natural parent, guardian,
or an individual acting as a parent in the absence of a parent or a
Personally Identifiable Information
Information contained in an educational record that identifies
or describes a student, including but not limited to, student name,
name of a student’s parent or other family members, address
of a student or student’s family, any personal identifier
such as a student’s social security number or identification
number, person number, or any personal characteristics or other
information that would make a student’s identity easily
Personally identifiable information is divided into two
Directory Information – student information that
would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy
if disclosed. UB has designated the following as directory
information: student name, current address, telephone number, email
address, major field of study, dates of attendance, degrees, and
Confidential Information – student information that
may not be disclosed without the prior consent of the student to
whom the information pertains, including directory information that
the student designates as non-disclosable.
An individual who has reached 18 years of age or is attending a
postsecondary institution at any age and for whom the institution
maintains education records.
A University Official is a:
· person employed by the university in an
administrative, supervisory, academic, advising, research, or
support position, including law enforcement, health, and medical
· person employed by the State University of New
York (SUNY) System Administration
· contractor, consultant, volunteer, or other
outside party providing services or functions to the campus which
would otherwise be provided by employees of the campus
· person serving on the UB Council
· student serving on an official committee (e.g.,
disciplinary, grievance), or assisting a school official in
performing his/her tasks.
Students have the right to control the disclosure of personally
identifiable information contained in their educational records,
except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without
consent. Under FERPA, the university may not generally disclose
personally identifiable information from a student’s
educational records to a third party unless the student has
provided written consent.
FERPA allows the university to disclose personally identifiable
information from educational records without the student’s
consent as follows:
- When the information is appropriately designated as directory
information (i.e., student name, current address, telephone number,
email address, major field of study, dates of attendance, degrees,
and awards received). Student name, email address, and major field
of study are published in the university Internet directory. As
educationally required, directory information may be made available
to classmates in a specific class.
· If a student does not
want their directory information released, they must complete the
Request for Directory and Information Release/Non-Release
form, and submit the form to the Office of the Registrar.
· A student may reverse
their directory information release decision at any time.
· The university does
not supply directory information in support of commercial
activities. However, under the Solomon Amendment, the university
must release directory information that has not been designated
non-releasable by the student when requested by the United States
- To a University Official with a legitimate educational interest
(i.e., the official needs to review an education record in order to
fulfill his/her professional responsibility).
- To appropriate parties, including parents (even if the parents
do not claim the student as a dependent), in connection with a
health or safety emergency.
- To the parents of a student regarding the student’s
violation of any federal, state, or local law, or of any rule or
policy of the university, governing the use or possession of
alcohol or a controlled substance. The university may
non-consensually disclose information under this exception if it is
determined that the student has committed a disciplinary violation
with respect to that use or possession and the student is under 21
years of age at the time of the disclosure to the parent.
- To the parents of a “dependent student” as defined
in Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code.
- To persons or organizations providing financial aid to
- To officials of another school in which a student seeks or
intends to enroll.
FERPA contains several additional narrow exceptions to the
requirement of obtaining a student’s consent before
disclosing information from educational records. A unique set of
conditions delineated in FERPA applies to each type of
Students have the right to file a complaint with the Family
Policy Compliance Office of the U.S. Department of Education
concerning alleged failures by the university to comply with the
requirements of FERPA.
- Students should write to the Office of Judicial Affairs and
Student Advocacy, clearly identify the part of the record they want
changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading.
- If the university decides not to amend the record as requested
by the student, the university will notify the student of the
decision and advise the student of his/her right to a hearing
regarding the request for amendment.
- Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be
provided to the student when notified of the right to a
Students have the right to file a complaint with the Family
Policy Compliance Office of the United States Department of
Education concerning alleged failures by the university to comply
with the requirements of FERPA.
In accordance with FERPA, UB annually provides students in
attendance with information regarding their rights related to
educational records. Student Consumer Information is also available
on the Registrar’s website.
Director, Judicial Affairs & Student Advocacy
252 Capen Hall
Buffalo, NY 14260
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-5901
Phone: 1-800-USA-LEARN (1-800-872-5327)