The Catholic University of America

Notification of Rights Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. (An “eligible student” under FERPA is a student who is 18 years of age or older or who attends a postsecondary institution.) These rights include:

The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days of the day the University receives a request for access. Students should submit to the Registrar, Dean, head of the academic department, or other appropriate official, written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The University official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the University official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.

The right to request the amendment of the student's education records that the student believes is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA. Students may ask the University to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate. They should write the CUA official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate. 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 provide written 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 consent, is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests.  A school official is:

  • A person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position, including health or medical staff.
  • person elected to the Board of Trustees.
  • person or entity employed by or under contract to the University to perform a special task, such as an attorney or auditor or an outside vendor.
  • person who is employed by the Catholic University law enforcement unit.
  • student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or who is assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks.

A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official is:

  • Performing a task that is specified in his or her position description or contract agreement.
  • Performing a task related to a student's education.
  • Performing a task related to the discipline of a student.
  • 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 campus.

FERPA permits the disclosure of personally identifiable information (PII) from students’ education records without consent of the student if the disclosure meets certain conditions found in § 99.31 of the FERPA regulations.  Except for disclosures to school officials as described above, disclosures related to some judicial orders or lawfully issued subpoenas, disclosures of directory information (see below), and disclosures to the student, §99.32 of FERPA regulations requires the institution to record the disclosure.  Eligible students have a right to inspect and review the record of disclosures.

A postsecondary institution may disclose PII from the education records without obtaining prior written consent of the student in the following situations (please note further limits on disclosures listed below are contained in 34 CFR § 99.1, et seq.):

  • To officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll or is already enrolled if the disclosure relates to purposes of enrollment or transfer.
  • To authorized representatives of the U.S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or state and local educational authorities.  Disclosures under this provision may be made in connection with an audit or evaluation of federal- or state-supported education programs or for the enforcement of or compliance with federal legal requirements related to those programs.
  • In connection with financial aid for which the student has applied or received if the information is necessary to determine aid eligibility, amount, or conditions, or to enforce the terms and conditions of such aid.
  • To organizations conducting studies for or on behalf of the school to: develop, validate, or administer predictive testing; administer student aid programs; or improve instruction. 
  • To accrediting organizations to carry out accrediting functions.
  • To parents of an eligible student if the student is a dependent for IRS tax purposes.
  • To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena.
  • To appropriate officials in connection with a health or safety emergency.
  • To a victim of an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or sexual offense.  The disclosure may only include the final results of the disciplinary proceeding with respect to that alleged crime or offense.
  • To the general public, the final results of a disciplinary proceeding, if the school determines the student is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or sexual offense and has committed a violation of the school’s rules or policies with respect to the allegation.
  • To parents of a student regarding the student’s violation of any Federal, State, or local law, or of any rule or policy of the school, governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance if the school determines that the student committed a disciplinary violation and is under the age of 21.
  • If the disclosure concerns sex offenders and other individuals required to register under section 17010 of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994.

The following data is considered to be directory information and may be given to an inquirer, either in person, by mail or by telephone, and may be otherwise made public: name of student, address (both local, including e-mail address and permanent), photograph, dates of registered attendance, enrollment status (e.g. full-time or part-time), school or division of enrollment, major field of study, nature and dates of degrees and awards received, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, and weight and height of members of athletic teams.

An individual student currently enrolled may request that such directory information not be disclosed by completing the Request to Prevent Disclosure of Directory Information form and submitting it to the Office of Enrollment Services (W200 Fr. O'Connell Hall).

Students control what information will be displayed on the CUA web page by logging into http://home.cua.edu and changing the displayed information, or specifying that no information be displayed. By default, only a student's campus e-mail address will be displayed on the CUA web page. A student wishing to release more, less or different information, may do so anytime by logging into http://home.cua.edu.

A complete copy of the student record policy can be found at http://policies.cua.edu/StudentLife/studentrecords.cfm. Further information about FERPA can be found online at http://counsel.cua.edu/ferpa/questions/ and also at http://counsel.cua.edu/ferpa/resources/.

Students with complaints about violations to student record privacy or access to records may contact the Compliance and Privacy Officer at 202-319-6170 or file a complaint through the Compliance and Ethics Helpline which is linked from http://compliance.cua.edu. Students also have the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the 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

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