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Privacy Rights - FERPA

What is FERPA?

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law designed to protect the privacy of a student's educational records. It limits the type of student information that may be released without a student's permission. It also helps to ensure accuracy in any educational records that are maintained on a student.

What are a student's rights under FERPA?

FERPA grants four central rights to students related to those records, files, documents, and other materials that contain information directly related to them that are maintained by the University.

  • The right to inspect and review education records maintained by the school.
  • The right to seek to amend these records.
  • The right to have some control over the disclosure of information from these records.
  • The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning an allegation that the institution has failed to comply with the Act.

If the student believes anything in his or her record is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise violates one's rights, that student has the right to challenge the content of those records. If a student's suggested corrections are not made by the University, that student may insert into his or her records a written explanation respecting the contents of such records.

The students' access and review are subject to the following conditions:

  • The University has 45 days to comply with a student's written request to review his or her records.
  • All information declared confidential by the act is not available for inspection.
  • After reviewing their records, students may request that the unit maintaining the record remove or modify the information they believe is misleading, inaccurate or inappropriate. If the student's requests are refused, that student may insert in his or her records a written explanation regarding the contents to which he/she objects, or file an appeal with the President's Office, which will be heard by a person or committee designed by the president.

What information may be released without a student's permission?

The following information is construed to be directory information, which may be released to the public without a student's permission.

  • Name
  • Address
  • Telephone listing
  • E-mail address
  • Date and place of birth
  • Major field of study
  • Participation in officially recognized sports and activities
  • Weight and height of members of athletic teams
  • Dates of attendance
  • Degrees and awards received
  • The most recent educational agency or institution attended
  • Photograph

Even though this information is deemed to be public information, all students have the right to inform the University that any or all of the above information should not be released without one's prior consent. If students wish to restrict the release of information, they must complete a written request to that effect to the Registrar's Office. After the student has filed the required written request, the University will notify the appropriate offices and begin to comply with the request as soon as possible. The request is effective for the duration of the academic year for which it was requested.

What are the conditions under which other student information may be released without permission?

  • Release to school officials who have a legitimate educational interest in the records. A school official is a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position; a person or company employed by or under contract to the University to perform a special task, such as an attorney or auditor; a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee or a faculty/student committee; or a student worker. A school 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 the University.
  • Release to officials of another school, in connection with a student's efforts to enroll.
  • Release to federal and state educational officials, in connection with certain audits.
  • In connection with a student's request for or receipt of financial aid.
  • Release to federal, state and local law enforcement officials, in connection with certain criminal investigations.
  • Release to organizations conducting studies for or on behalf of educational agencies or institutions
  • To accrediting organizations to carry out their functions.
  • Release to parents of a student who is their "dependent" within the meaning of the Internal Revenue Code.
  • To comply with a judicial order, lawfully issued subpoena, or in the case of legal action between the University and the student or his/her family.
  • To appropriate parties in a health or safety emergency.
  • Release of directory information (see section above for details on what Cardinal Stritch University designates as directory information)
  • To the student him or herself
  • The results of any disciplinary proceeding conducted by the University against an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence to the alleged victim of that crime.
  • Parents of students younger than twenty-one years old may be contacted when students use or possess alcohol or other drugs.
  • In compliance with the U.S. Patriot Act, Stritch may be required to provide to selected U.S. government agencies the following information about international students: name, address, visa classification, academic status, and any disciplinary action taken against the student because of his/her participation in a crime.

Where may one call for more information?

The Office of the Registrar can be reached at (414) 410-4081 or

What if I want to authorize someone to have access to my information?

Students may sign a release form if they would like to grant someone (parent, spouse, etc.) access to their records. Students can indicate whether they want that individual to have access to academic, financial, or disciplinary information. The form can be downloaded and submitted to the Office of the Registrar.

How does one file a complaint?

If a student believes that the University is not in compliance with FERPA, she or he may file a written complaint with the:

Family Policy Compliance Office
 U.S. Department of Education
 Washington, D.C. 20202-4605