What does FERPA cover?

What does FERPA not cover?
FERPA does not cover directory information or information kept for the individual maker that is not intended to be shared (advisor notes, grade book information, personal observation, medical and mental health records, alumni records, etc.) If more than the original make has access to the information, then it is no longer exempted by FERPA. FERPA does not cover records and/or test results for persons prior to their enrollment.

What is considered directory information?
Directory Information is data that is generally not considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. It can be disclosed to outside organizations without prior consent of the student unless they have informed the University that they wish to restrict the release of directory information.

  • Name
  • Address
  • Telephone number
  • Dates of attendance, full-time/part-time status
  • Previous institutions attended
  • Majors
  • Awards
  • Honors
  • Degrees (including dates)
  • Commencement program
  • Past and present participation in officially recognized sports and activities
  • Physical factors (height, weight) of athletes
  • Date and place of birth
  • Elon email address

When could access to student information be shared? 

  • Requests for directory information
  • The student and any outside party who has the students’ written authorization
  • School officials who have legitimate educational interests
  • In compliance with a lawfully issued subpoena or judicial order
  • Federal, state and local authorities required as part of an audit or evaluation of compliance with educational programs
  • Organizations conducting studies on behalf of Elon
  • Accrediting agencies
  • In connection with financial aid (including veterans benefits)
  • In a health or safety emergency
  • To parent/guardian if the student was responsible for violating our alcohol or other drug policy and under the age of 21 at the time of the incident.

What does a FERPA release include?
Students must clearly state to whom, and exactly what specific information is being released on the FERPA release form. If an inquiry is made regarding a topic that isn’t expressly written on the form, it cannot be released.  Only the person authorized on the release form may access the information being released.  If only one parent is authorized on the form, the other parent is not automatically granted access.

What does restricting release of directory information mean?
According to FERPA, a student can request that the institution not release any directory information about him or her. Institutions must comply with this request once it is received, if the student is still enrolled.

At Elon, students who wish to restrict the release of directory information about themselves must complete a “Request To Prevent Disclosure of Directory Information” form, available online. The completed form can be submitted in person or via your Elon assigned email account to the Registrar’s office.

Students who wish to restrict directory information should realize that their names will not appear in the commencement bulletin and other university publications. Also, employers, credit card companies, loan agencies, scholarship committees and the like will be denied any of the student’s directory information and will be informed that we have no information available about the “persons” attendance at Elon University.

How long does an educational agency or institution have to comply with a request to view records?
FERPA requires that educational agencies and institutions comply with a request by a parent or eligible student for access to education records within a reasonable period of time, but not more than 45 days after receipt of a request.


Do Parents have any rights under FERPA?
In primary and secondary educational institutions (i.e. K-12), all FERPA rights belong to the parent. However, when the student reaches the age of 18 or begins to attend a post-secondary institution regardless of age, all FERPA rights transfer to the student.  Educational records should never be shared with any third party (including parents) if a FERPA release is not in place.

Can I contact University officials to find out how my newly enrolled child is doing?

Under FERPA students assume the responsibility for keeping parents informed regarding progress while attending Elon University. Student ownership of progress and the ability to share this kind of information with parents promotes the student’s growth and independence. University officials are not able to discuss aspects of a student’s educational progress unless there is a FERPA release form on file.