The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education. FERPA safeguards personally identifiable information and limits public disclosure of it. Personally identifiable information includes demographic data, biometric data, geographic data, and any information (included aggregated data) that can be used to trace an identity with reasonable certainty. Personally identifiable information (PII) cannot be released without student consent unless the request meets criteria for exception. Exceptions can be made for directory information, some school officials, and authorized organizations. More information, especially a list of information that our legal counsel has identified as directory information, is available through the Registrar's Office at http://www.uccs.edu/registrar/ferpa-the-family-educational-rights-and-privacy-act.html.
The Institutional Research Office adheres to a strict interpretation of FERPA in favor of student privacy. As designated data stewards for the university, it is our responsibility to ensure the privacy, confidentiality, security, and appropriate use of data. The purpose is to prevent inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure that could lead to identity theft, emotional distress, discrimination, data breaches, and loss of government funding for the institution. Requests that meet an exception will be thoroughly documented and requestors will be held responsible for avoiding re-disclosure of PII.