Elon University is legally and ethically obligated to protect the confidentiality of students’ records under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The Office of the Registrar provides several resources to help students, parents, faculty, and staff learn about student privacy rights and responsibilities.

Please see the following for complete information about FERPA.

What is FERPA?

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. These include the right to:

  • Inspect and review their records.
  • Request an amendment of their education record that the student believes is inaccurate or misleading.
  • Consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information covered under FERPA.
  • File a complaint with the United States Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Elon University to comply with the requirements of FERPA.

What is Directory Information?

Directory information is data that is generally not considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. The items below can be disclosed at the discretion of Elon University unless the student requests the information be withheld:

Name, address, telephone number, dates of attendance, class, and electronic e-mail address.

Previous institution(s) attended, major field of study, awards, honors (including Dean’s list), degree(s) conferred (including dates).

Past and present participation in officially recognized sports and activities, physical factors (height, weight of athletes), date and place of birth.

What does a FERPA Release mean?

Students may submit a FERPA Release Form to give consent for another individual to request the student’s education records. The Form must clearly state who is given authorization and what academic information is being released. 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 Form may access the information being released.

What does a FERPA Directory Hold mean?

According to FERPA, a student can request an institution to withhold all Directory Information. Institutions must comply with this request once it is received, if the student is still enrolled.

Currently enrolled Elon students may request to withhold Directory Information by completing the “Request to Withhold Directory Information Form” and sending the completed Form from your Elon email account to registrar@elon.edu

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.


FERPA For Parents

If a student is attending a postsecondary institution – at any age – the rights under FERPA have transferred to the student. Parents must have consent from the student for Elon University to release their education records. A FERPA Release Form must be completed by the student on behalf of the parent. Please keep in mind, the student must clearly state to whom, and exactly what information is being released. If an inquiry is made regarding a topic that isn’t expressly written on the form, it cannot be released.

A student has submitted a FERPA Release on my behalf, how do I request their educational records?

For requests regarding course schedules or grades, please email the Registrar’s Office at registrar@elon.edu using the email address that was specified on the FERPA Release Form. In the email, please specify the student and the educational records you are requesting. If you request records that are not explicitly included by the student on their Release Form, we cannot provide information.

I have questions for the student's advisor/faculty member. How should I contact them?

The student must authorize discussions with professors/advisors on their FERPA Release Form. If it is authorized, you may contact the university official using the email or phone number specified on the FERPA Release Form. Please note that a FERPA Release does not compel university officials to disclose all information about the student. It is at the discretion of the university official to assess whether the information is relevant to your request.


FERPA For Faculty & Staff

University officials must comply with FERPA guidelines when requesting or disclosing education records. Faculty and staff must have a legitimate educational interest and that the information is relevant and necessary to fulfill their role in the student’s education. When disclosing information with parties external to the university (including parents), ensure a FERPA Release Form has been submitted on behalf of the student and check what educational records can be shared. As a rule of thumb, presume that all student information is confidential, and do not disclose information without the student’s consent. Consult with the Registrar’s Office to understand which information the University can properly disclose.

Who is protected under FERPA?

FERPA protects any currently enrolled student or anyone who has ever attended Elon in the past. Applicants or prospective students are not guaranteed rights under FERPA.

What education records must I protect under FERPA?

Education records are defined as any academic or non-academic information that is directly related to the student and maintained by the institution (or affiliated party like a contractor). Academic information includes, but is not limited to: grades, class schedules, academic progress, unofficial transcripts, and class attendance. Non-academic information includes, but is not limited to: administrative records, disciplinary records, Dean of Students records, residential assignment information, and campus life records.

How should I store and protect FERPA-sensitive information?

Sensitive information such as class rosters, grades, assignments, etc. should be kept on Elon-supplied devices and/or cloud storage under your Elon email account. Sensitive information should not be stored on any personal devices or accounts.

A device with potentially sensitive student information was misplaced/stolen. What should I do next?

Please contact Rodney Parks, University Registrar and Assistant Vice President, and Gary Sheehan, Information Security Director, as soon as possible. They can be contacted at rparks4@elon.edu and gsheehan2@elon.edu.

A student has contacted me using their personal email account. Should I disclose any student information?

Our duty as university officials is to affirm the identity of the user before disclosing FERPA-protected student information. Telephone numbers and non-Elon emails are not reliable methods to positively identify the student. Elon resources like Elon email and Moodle are appropriate ways to communicate with students.

How does Elon University update its educational content when there is an modificaiton or amendment to FERPA?

Elon University is committed to ensuring compliance under FERPA. To achieve this, we are supported by our partners at the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) for our FERPA trainings. In the event of a change or amendment to FERPA, we would be notified by AACRAO and work with their organization to update our FERPA content in a timely manner. Once updates are made, the revised FERPA educational content undergoes a comprehensive review by the University Registrar and any relevant stakeholders.


Faculty and staff may access our FERPA Search Tool below to see which students have filed a FERPA Release Form.

The Office of the Registrar offers a FERPA training module to all Elon faculty and staff interested in learning more about FERPA. Click the button below to be directed to the Moodle training site (Elon authentication required).

If you have questions about a specific FERPA situation or issue, please contact the University Registrar, Rodney Parks, at rparks4@elon.edu or at (336) 278-6670.