FERPA is the “Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended”, and is also known as “The Buckley Amendment”.
FERPA is the United States federal law that protects student records privacy and provides for review and disclosure rights. Please review the information linked below, to help you understand FERPA and what it means to you. These pages outline student rights under FERPA to review educational records and to allow or restrict access to third parties.
Please note that some information, called "Directory Information", may be released to third parties without the student's prior consent, unless the student files a written request to restrict directory information access.
Annual Notice to StudentsToggle More Info
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974
Annually, Florida Gulf Coast University informs students of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, (FERPA) as amended. The Department of Records & Registration will disclose FERPA information by publishing a notice in the FGCU Catalog, Registration Guidebook and in other appropriate locations. This annual notice shall prescribe the procedures whereby a student may make a formal request for non-disclosure of directory information, exercise the right to inspect and review education records, request an amendment of education records and obtain a copy of the University’s education records policy.
These student rights include:
- The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 30 days of
the day the University receives a request for access. Students should submit to the
Department of Records & Registration a written request that identifies the education
record(s) they wish to inspect. If the records are not maintained by the Department
of Records & Registration, the Registrar (or designee) shall advise the student of
the correct official to whom the request should be addressed. The appropriate University
official will arrange for access and notify the student of the time and place where
the records may be inspected.
- The right to request the amendment of the student's education records that the student
believes are inaccurate or misleading. Students may ask the University to amend a
record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. They should write the University
official responsible for the record, 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 or 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 hearing.
- 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. One exception which permits disclosure without prior consent of the
student is disclosure to University officials with legitimate educational interests. A
University official is a person employed by the University as a member of the faculty
or staff, members of the FGCU Board of Trustees, or a person under contract to the
University to perform a task such as a consultant, attorney or auditor. Student or
community members of University committees also are included in the definition of
University officials as are student employees assisting a University official in performing
his or her tasks. Inter-institutional disclosure may be made between FGCU and entities
that administer or participate in joint programs or activities and that further a
legitimate educational interest because such disclosures are considered made to “University
officials”. Directory Information at Florida Gulf Coast University is defined as information
contained in an education record of a student that generally would not be considered
harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. Directory Information will be made
available to the general public unless the student notifies the Department of Records
& Registration in person or in writing of the wish for privacy before the last day
to add classes. Refer to the Non-Disclosure of Directory Information section for more
- The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Florida Gulf Coast University to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA is:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20202-4605.
For additional information:
- The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 30 days of the day the University receives a request for access. Students should submit to the Department of Records & Registration a written request that identifies the education record(s) they wish to inspect. If the records are not maintained by the Department of Records & Registration, the Registrar (or designee) shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed. The appropriate University official will arrange for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.
University's Education Record PolicyToggle More Info
The University's Education Records Policy, 3.006 regarding the use and release of student records is governed by Public Law 93-380, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA); also known as the Buckley Amendment. A copy of the University’s Education Records Policy can be found at the Office of the General Counsel Policies website [click here to view].
FGCU employees are charged with protecting the confidentiality of the education records and are to be fully aware of the procedures for maintaining these records in a secure environment.
The University Registrar is designated as the education records custodian and FERPA compliance officer for the University. The Director of Institutional Research and Analysis is designated as the University’s data administrator and officer responsible for electronic reporting of general student information, data and records to state and federal agencies and officials. The Director of International Services is designated as the officer responsible for reporting to state and federal agencies and officials for matters relating to international students.
Access to RecordsToggle More Info
Under the rights allowed by FERPA, a student shall be permitted to inspect, review and request explanation or interpretation of his/her academic records within 45 days of written notification to the Department of Records & Registration. The request form is available at FORMS. If the record requested for review is not maintained by the Department of Records & Registration, the student will be advised of the appropriate office to contact.
Upon request, a student shall be provided with a copy of their academic record. However, there are circumstances in which the student may only be allowed to view an unofficial copy of their academic record. These circumstances are associated with financial/non-financial obligations to the University and disciplinary actions.
With the written consent of the student, a third party may have similar privileges noted above. The Authorization to Release Information to a Third Party Form must be completed, signed by the student, and submitted to the Department of Records & Registration in order to give such consent.
As an alternative to the submission of the Authorization to Release Information to a Third Party form, and in accordance with FERPA, parents of a dependent student – as defined by the Internal Revenue Code – may submit evidence of dependency for the purpose of access to the student’s education record. The University will require a copy of the parent’s recent federal income tax return as evidence.
Limitations to Access
A student shall not be permitted to inspect letter and statements of recommendation for which the student has waived in writing his or her rights to access.
A student shall not be permitted to inspect records that personally identify other students even if he/she is personally identified on that record. In such cases he/she shall simply be informed of the information contained on the record.
A student shall not be permitted to access the financial statements of the student’s parents.
Release of Grades and Academic Transcripts
Grades and academic transcripts are confidential and will not be released without the prior written consent of the student. All requests for grades or academic transcripts must be submitted to the Department of Records & Registration. Students can access an unofficial copy of their academic record through Gulfline. For more information concerning the request of grades or transcripts, refer to the Transcripts-Grades-Records web page.
Directory Information & Release of Records to Third PartiesToggle More Info
FERPA allows the release of Directory Information to third parties without the written consent of the student. All other information is considered confidential and will not be released to a third party without prior written consent of the student. Additionally, non-Directory information will not be released via telephone, fax, or email, even if a written consent form has been submitted by the student. All third party requests must be made in person or in writing.
The University has designated the following classes of the education record as Directory Information.
- Student name
- Mailing Address
- Major/Field of study
- Enrollment status
- Class status
- Dates of attendance
- Degrees received and dates of conferral
- Honors and awards received
- Most recent educational institution attended prior to FGCU
- Participation in Intramural Events
- Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
- Weight and height of athletic team members
- University email address
Disclosures Not Requiring a Student’s Consent
In addition to permitting disclosures of directory information as described above, FERPA allows the University to disclose education records without the student’s prior written consent in the following circumstances:
- To the National Defense Authorization Act 1995, 1996 and the Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Authorization Act 1997, also known as the Solomon Amendment, effective March 29, 1997;
- To University officials with a legitimate educational interest in accessing the information;
- To another educational institution where the student seeks or intends to enroll;
- To authorized representatives of the Attorney General of the United States, the Comptroller General of the United States, the Secretary of Education of the United States, or state and local education officials who require the information to audit or enforce legal conditions related to programs at the University that are supported by federal or state funds;
- To persons or organizations providing financial aid to a student or to which a student has applied for financial aid, if the purpose is to determine eligibility, amount or conditions of aid, or to enforce the terms of the aid;
- To state or local officials in compliance with state laws adopted prior to November 19,1974;
- To an individual or organization conducting a study (collectively “consultants”) to develop, validate or administer tests, student aid programs, or improve instructions for, or on behalf of, the University or other lawfully authorized education officials of the State of Florida;
- To accrediting organizations to carry out accrediting functions;
- To parents of a dependent student as defined by the Internal Revenue Code. The University will exercise this option only upon submission and verification of evidence proving such dependency;
- To comply with a lawfully issued subpoena or order of a count of competent jurisdiction; To inform the victim of a violent crime committed by a student of the disciplinary outcome under the FGCU Student Code of Conduct; and
- To appropriate medical or government authorities in a health or safety emergency if knowledge of the information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or others.
Early Admitted and Dual Enrolled StudentsToggle More Info
Early Admitted or Dual Enrolled students should complete and submit the Dual Enrollment or Early Admission Authorization To Release Educational Information form to their High School Counselor at the time of application or enrollment. The High School Counselor will forward the form to the Department of Records & Registration and, at the end of each term, request semester grade information for the high school’s use. Dual Enrolled/Early Admit student/parents will need to request copies or access GULFLINE if copies are needed for personal use.
Non-Disclosure of Directory InformationToggle More Info
A student may elect to block the disclosure of his or her directory information. To do so, the student must make a formal written request – or submit the Prevent Disclosure of Directory Information form – to the Department of Records & Registration. The student’s request remains valid throughout the student’s academic career with the University, unless subsequently revoked in writing by the student.
Upon receiving a request for non-disclosure of directory information, the University will not release any directory information without the student’s prior written consent, except to the extent otherwise authorized or required by FERPA or other laws. The University will not be liable for any negative actions due to the non-disclosure request or for the release of directory information prior to the submission of the non-disclosure form.
Requests for privacy should be given serious consideration. It is suggested that students seeking non-disclosure first discuss such action with the University Registrar.
Disposal of Education RecordsToggle More Info
Education records at FGCU will be retained only as long as valid and useful or for the period of time required by State of Florida or University record retention policies, whichever is longer. If a written request for access to review the academic record has been received, such disposal may not occur until access has been granted and the review complete. Education records must be disposed of properly through an appropriate means of confidential disposal.
DefinitionsToggle More Info
Attendance: An individual is considered “in attendance” at FGCU upon acceptance as a member of an incoming class or upon acceptance as a non-degree seeking student. Applicants for admissions to the University who are denied acceptance or, if accepted, choose not to attend are not considered to have been “in attendance”. The period of time during which a student is working under a work-study program is considered “in attendance."
Directory Information: Information contained in a student’s education record that would not be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed.
Disclosure: To permit access to or the release, transfer, or other communication of personally identifiable information contained in education records to any party, by any means, including but not limited to oral, written or electronic means.
Education Record: Any personally identifiable records maintained by the University or an agent or representative of the University that are directly related to a student and recorded in any medium, including but not limited to handwriting, electronic, print, computer media, video or audio tapes and disks, film, microfilm, and microfiche. Examples of education records include but not limited to grades, test scores, courses taken, disciplinary records, social security numbers and names of parents.
FERPA expressly excludes certain types of University records relating to a student from the definition of “education records”, and the University’s ability to disclose such records would fall within the parameters of Florida’s Public Records Law, Chapter 119, Florida Statutes, and other state and federal laws.
The following records are not considered education records:
- Personal Records of Notes – records of instructional, supervisory, administrative, and certain educational personnel that are in the sole possession of the maker thereof, and are not accessible or revealed to any other individual. An example of this type of record would be the “personal notes” of an employee kept for the employee’s own personal use in remembering certain matters and not shared with others.
- Law Enforcement Records – records maintained by the FGCU Police Department that were
created by the department for a law enforcement purpose.
- Employment Records – records relating to individuals who are employed by FGCU and
that are made and maintained in the normal course of business, related exclusively
to individuals in their capacity as employees, and are not available for other purposes.
In contrast, records related to individuals whose employment is contingent upon being
a student, such as work-study employment records, are education records.
- Student Code of Conduct Records - the vast majority of records related to the FGCU
student conduct process constitute education records. However, the final results may
be communicated to a victim of violence committed by a student.
- Medical Records – records relating to a student that are: a. Created or maintained
by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional,
acting in his/her professional capacity or assisting in a paraprofessional capacity;
b. Used solely in connection with the provision of treatment to the student; and c.
Not disclosed to anyone other than individuals providing such treatment.
- Records created after the student is no longer in attendance at FGCU - records that contain information about an individual after he or she no longer is a student. Example of such records would be records created and maintained by Alumni Relations.
Student: An individual who is or has been in attendance at FGCU and about whom the University maintains education records.
Student Record: Any personally identifiable information or data relating to a student and collected, recorded, or maintained in any medium including but not limited to handwriting, electronic, print, computer media, video or audio tapes and disks, film, microfilm, and microfiche. Student records include education records and other types of records related to students.
Third Party: Any person other than the student. Examples of third parties are parents, legal guardians, spouses, employers, state/federal agencies etc.
University Officials: A University official includes a person employed by the University as a member of the faculty or staff, members of FGCU Board of Trustees, or a person under contract to the University to perform a task such as a consultant, attorney or auditor. Student or community members of University committees also are included in the definition of University officials as are student employees assisting a University official in performing his or her tasks. Inter-institutional disclosure may be made between FGCU and entities that administer or participate in joint programs or activities and that further a legitimate educational interest because such disclosures are considered made to “University officials”.