Key Terms

Key Terms

Information that is attributed to a singular person such as name, address, SSN, date of birth, student ID number, etc.

FERPA stands for Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and is a federal law that protects the privacy of students. The law assigns the student as the owner of his/her educational record and provides guidelines on how the educational institution is to use and release protected information. This insures that information such as the student’s grades, academic standing, and course schedule are not public information and that the student controls who has access to this information. This law also requires the educator to grant access of the student’s personal records to the student. This federal law was passed in 1974 by President Ford to protect the privacy of students. This law applies to any school that receives funds from the U.S. Department of Education.

"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.

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. (Also known as Need-to-Know.)

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.

The University is allowed to select some information about a student to make accessible to the public. This information is called "Directory Information." UNL has two levels of directory information. Public Directory Information is student information that is available to the public. This allows individuals such as employers or insurance agents to verify enrollment. Non-Public Directory Information is not available to the public, but is available to any University Official, student, or, at the University's discretion, University affiliates such as alumni associations. The directory information UNL has selected is the following:

Public Directory Information

  • Student name
  • Year at the University
  • Dates of attendance
  • Academic college and major field of study
  • Enrollment status (undergraduate or graduate; full-time or part-time)
  • Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
  • Degrees, honors and awards received
  • Most recent educational agency or institution attended

Non-Public Directory Information

  • Local address
  • Permanent address
  • Telephone listings
  • University email address

Directory information cannot include race, gender, SSN (or any part of SSN), grades, GPA, country of citizenship, ID number, or religion.

Parent refers to either parent or legal guardian (including custodial and non-custodial, if divorced).

An emergency situation is where releasing student information to appropriate parties is deemed necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals.