Frequently Asked Questions - Staff

Frequently Asked Questions

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UNL has determined that under FERPA, the ‘first day’ of attendance shall be the day on which an individual student has both paid any required enrollment deposit and has officially enrolled in classes for his or her initial term at UNL.

Educational records are pieces of information relating to students and maintained by the institution or it's agent. This information is not permitted to be released to the general public. Educational records can be:

  • Handwritten Notes
  • Computer Files/Generated Information
  • Printed Information
  • Video or Audio
  • Microfile or Microfiche
  • Photos
  • Any information maintained in any way about the student

Information kept by and only seen by staff is not considered an educational record.

Students have the right to see everything in their educational record except:

  • Information about other students.
  • Financial records of parents.
  • Confidential letters of recommendation if they waived their right of access.

All university employees who have access to student records are responsible for guarding the confidentiality of those records (including all educational records such as tests, papers, etc.)

  • Never disclose, share, or loan your NUID or password to anyone. Everyone should obtain their own individual log-on if access for them is deemed necessary.
  • Ensure that remote access to, retrieval and transmission of confidential academic record information is accomplished through a secure and encrypted connection.
  • Faculty and staff should restrict unauthorized persons from viewing confidential information. Some examples would include;
    • never leave your computer unattended while signed on. Using a password-protected screen saver is one way but protective measures should be taken to ensure information is protected as well as unauthorized access to your work area;
    • never leave personal logon information in view of unauthorized persons;
    • always lock your office and lock up any educational records or confidential information away from view.

A UNL official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an educational record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities for UNL.
However:

  • Curiosity is not a legitimate educational interest. You may not look up a student out of curiosity.
  • Just being a UNL employee does not mean you have legitimate educational interest. Access to the information must be related to your job and the education of the student.
  • Access to information does not authorize unrestricted use.

"University Officials" are university employees or third parties under contract with the University to achieve educational missions of the University. This includes but is not limited to faculty, staff, advisors, counselors, employment placement personnel, deans, department chairpersons, directors, university police, health staff and development officers.

Not unless it is necessary to complete your job. Staff are considered "school officials", but the employee must demonstrate "a legitimate educational interest" in their request to access student records.

No. FERPA does not allow you to discuss student data with any third party unless you have written consent from the student.

Check to see if they have written consent from the student, if they do, you are free to discuss information with them. If they do not have consent, you may only discuss public directory information with them (unless that is restricted as well).

At UNL, a student's class schedule is not listed as directory information; therefore this information may not be released. However, FERPA states that if the release of non-directory information is “necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals,” then this information may be released. At UNL, parents should be directed to contact the Vice Chancellor’s Office of Student Affairs.

Yes, FERPA allows an exception for educational records to be released in case of a threat to the health and safety of the student or others. The decision to release such information to police, university officials, or parents relies on the level of threat and your discretion. However, best practice is to contact Student Affairs.

Yes. The University may disclose to the parent or guardian of a student under the age of 21 any information regarding the violation of a law or of a university policy governing the use of alcohol or of a controlled substance when the University determines that the student is responsible for a student conduct violation involving alcohol or drugs.

Yes, the University has the discretion to disclose the final results of a university proceeding to the alleged victim of any crime of violence or of a non-forcible sex offense. Crimes of violence include: assault, intimidation (fear of bodily harm through threats or other conduct including stalking), burglary, robbery, destruction/ damage/vandalism of property, or sex offenses involving force. Non-forcible sex offenses include statutory rape and incest. (Note: check with Nebraska's legal counsel before disclosing the results to anyone other than the alleged victim, as there are legal conditions that must be met.)

Yes, you may discuss or send information to schools where the student plans to enroll or transfer.

Anyone conducting research using information from student educational records must receive approval for that research from UNL’s Institutional Review Board (IRB). In addition, researchers who are utilizing student educational records in their research must agree to:

  • Use the information only for purposes of the approved research project. Any new use of the information requires new approval.
  • Provide adequate protection for the information to ensure that it is not compromised or subject to unauthorized access.
  • Ensure that no one outside the research team has access to the information.
  • Destroy the information within a reasonable time after completion of the research.

Not unless they have written consent. The student scholarship chair for a fraternity or sorority is not a "university official" and therefore may not have access to grade point averages of its members. All members of the fraternity must sign written release authorizing the scholarship chair access to their grade point averages.

Forward it to the Office of the Registrar as soon as possible.

Be cautious discussing educational records over the phone and email. Use reasonable inquisition to confirm the person is the student, someone who has written consent, or a school official with legitimate educational interest*. Those who have written consent will have a security code/phrase that they must give to you.

*See here for more exceptions

Yes. The NUID is not directory information. This means that we cannot disclose the student's NUID (or SSN) without the prior, written consent of the student. You may verify student attendance and degree unless the student restricted that access but may not give out the NUID. However, it is not a FERPA violation to confirm the information if the caller provides the NUID.

Yes. If a parent or eligible student request copies of educational records, then the institution may charge a fee. But, if the fee effectively prevents the person from inspecting/reviewing the records, then the institution may not charge the fee.

FERPA rights end with a student’s death. However, UNL will evaluate each request for the release of a transcript or other academic records of a deceased student on the individual merits of that request. If you desire to obtain records of a deceased student you must have the following:

  • Confirmation of death
  • Written request stating what records are requested, why, and by whom