Published: Jan. 13, 2017

The protection of student privacy is everyone's responsibility. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 and University of Colorado Boulder have set forth guidelines related to the disclosure of and access to student education records maintained by the university.

FERPA protections go into effect for new incoming Spring 2017 students on Tuesday, January 17, 2017.

Education Records

Any record that directly relates to a student and is maintained by the institution (regardless of storage medium) is classified as an education record. Education records include two types of information:

  1. Directory information may generally be disclosed to a third party without the written consent of the student, as long as the student hasn't established full or limited privacy. This information includes student name, campus email address, majors, minors and participation in officially recognized activities/sports.
  2. Non-directory information is personally identifiable information that may not be disclosed to anyone, including parents, without student consent. School officials, including faculty and staff, may not access non-directory information unless they have a legitimate educational need. This information includes SSNs, grades and financial information.

Letters of Recommendation

Any disclosure of non-directory student information (e.g., class performance, grades, abilities, background) to a third party, including in letters of recommendation or reference calls, requires prior written consent from the student.

For full details and a student release form, visit Student Recommendations: Written and Oral.

Student Privacy Options & University Business Practices

  • Security passphrase: The required method for verifying the identity of a student who cannot present photo ID, or who is contacting the university by phone, is to ask the student to correctly state their established security passphrase. For more information, see Security Passphrase Business Practices.
  • FERPA Consent to Release: This online consent form, available through MyCUInfo, replaces the old Consent for Release of Non-Directory Information Form. To confirm that a student has authorized release of their protected information to a third party, see Verifying FERPA Consent to Release.  
  • CU Guest Access: This is a completely new option that allows students to grant read-only online education-record access to a third party. If a student has established CU Guest Access for a third party, but not FERPA Consent to Release, you cannot release any FERPA-protected information to the third party. See Privacy Settings FAQs.  
  • Full and limited privacy: A student may restrict the release of their directory information by submitting a nondisclosure form for full or limited privacy. Students who have restricted release of their directory information are identified in Campus Solutions with a red "PRIVATE" message. If asked for information about a student who has a full-privacy indicator on their record, school officials must tell the requestor, "I have no information about this person."

Don't hesitate to contact our office with questions or requests for training in your department. Additional FERPA information is available on the Office of the Registrar and U.S. Department of Education websites. 

Office of the Registrar
University of Colorado Boulder
20 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309
Phone: 303-492-6970
Fax: 303-492-8748
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