FERPA terms and definitions

A student is any individual who is or has been in attendance at an educational agency or institution and regarding whom the agency or institution maintains education records.

Education records are records which contain information directly related to a specific student and maintained by the University or by a person acting for the University for all enrolled students, including those in high school. Education records can exist in any medium, including: paper documents, electronic files, videotape, audiotape, film, microfilm, microfiche, and email, among others. The following are not education records: records kept in the sole possession of the maker, law enforcement records, records relating to individuals employed by the University, records related to treatment provided by a health professional, records that contain information about an individual after that person is no longer a student, i.e. alumni records. 

Directory information may appear in public documents and may otherwise be released to individuals outside the University without the student's specific consent. Indiana University has designated the following items as directory information: name; hometown (city, state), University e-mail address; major field of study; dates of attendance; admission or enrollment status (admitted, full-time, part-time); campus; school, or division; class standing (freshman, sophomore, junior, senior); degrees and awards; activities; sports; and athletic information. Records of arrests and/or convictions and traffic accident information are public information and may be released to anyone making inquiry.

FERPA is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records.  See:  U. S. Department of Education - FERPA. Educational institutions receiving funds under programs administered by the U.S. Secretary of Education are bound by FERPA regulations. Institutions that fail to comply with FERPA may have funds, administered by the Secretary of Education, withheld.

Non-disclosure of directory information (FERPA restriction) may be requested by currently enrolled students and a student may choose to file a partial restriction where one or more directory data points are restricted or a full restriction. A full FERPA restriction means the University may not release any directory information about the student, except as permitted under the provisions of FERPA (i.e. to school officials with a legitimate educational interest). The University may not even acknowledge to third parties that the person is a student if a FULL restriction is filed.

Legitimate educational interest is the need to review an education record in order for a University official to carry out his or her responsibilities in regard to performing an administrative task outlined in the official's duties, or performing a supervisory or instructional task directly related to the student's education.

School official is a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff
position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the University has contracted as its agent to provide a service (such as an attorney, auditor, collection agent, learning management system vendor (e.g., Canvas), or other contractor which has agreed to assume responsibility specifically for the security of student records in the capacity of a “school official”); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. Faculty members are considered to be advisors with a legitimate educational interest for all students currently enrolled in their classes or seeking enrollment, and others that they may be advising on an assigned basis.