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. Exceptions can be made for directory information, school officials, authorized organizations, and parents. 

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. In general, we do not release identifiable information or individual-level data for academic research projects. 

Additional Resources:

Privacy Technical Assistance Center at www.ed.gov/ptac
Family Policy Compliance Office at www.ed.gov/fpco
FERPA Training at https://www.cu.edu/employee-services/eld/catalog 
UCCS Research Compliance (IRB) at  www.uccs.edu/osp/research-compliance-.html