Release of Education Records

Per The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), there are circumstances under which your education records and personally identifiable information (PII) may be accessed without your consent.

First, the U.S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education or state and local education authorities may allow access to your records and PII without your consent to any third party designated by a federal or state authority to evaluate a federal- or state-supported education program or to researchers performing certain types of studies, even if the university objects to or does not request such research. Federal and state authorities must obtain certain use-restriction and data security promises from the entities that they authorize to receive your PII, but the authorities need not maintain direct control over such entities.

In addition, in connection with Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems, state authorities may collect, compile, permanently retain and share without your consent PII from your education records, and they may track your participation in education and other programs by linking such PII to other personal information about you that they obtain from other federal or state data sources, including workforce development, unemployment insurance, child welfare, juvenile justice, military service and migrant student records systems.

FERPA allows the institution the right to disclose education records or identifiable information to individuals/entities without your consent under the following circumstances:

  • Authorized representatives for audit of federal- or state-supported programs.
  • University officials carrying out their specifically assigned educational or administrative responsibilities. This includes contractors, consultants, volunteers and other outside providers used by the University of Colorado Boulder, including the University of Colorado Foundation and the National Student Clearinghouse.
  • Veteran's Administration officials.
  • Officials of other institutions at which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
  • Persons or organizations providing financial aid to students.
  • Organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, educational agencies or institutions to develop, validate and administer predictive tests, to administer student aid programs or to improve instruction, provided that individual identity of students is not made.
  • Accrediting organizations carrying out their accrediting functions.
  • Parents of a student who have established that student's status as a dependent according to Internal Revenue Code of 1954, Section 152; in connection with a health and safety emergency in connection with § 99.36; or the student is under 21 and has violated a federal, state or local law or a policy of the university related to the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance.
  • Persons in compliance with a judicial order or a lawfully issued subpoena, provided that the institution makes a reasonable attempt to notify the student in advance of compliance. The institution is not required to notify the student if a federal grand jury subpoena, or any other subpoena issued for a law enforcement purpose, orders the institution not to disclose the existence or contents of the subpoena.
  • Persons in an emergency, if the knowledge of information, in fact, is necessary to protect the health or safety of students or other persons.
  • An alleged victim of a crime of violence of the results of any institutional disciplinary proceeding against the alleged perpetrator. Information may only be given in respect to the crime committed.
  • Outside contractor when identified as a "party acting for" the institution and performing a service which the institution would otherwise have to perform for itself (for example, the National Student Loan Clearinghouse for loan verification).
  • Representatives of the Department of Homeland Security or Immigration and Customs Enforcement, for purposes of the coordinated interagency partnership regulating the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).
  • The attorney general of the United States or the attorney general's designee in response to an ex parte order in connection with the investigation or prosecution of terrorism crimes, under the US Patriot Act.

In addition, FERPA allows the following:

  • The return of an education record, or information from an education record, to the party identified as the provider or creator of the record.
  • The release of education record and PII information regarding a registered sex offender's enrollment or employment status, or any changes of such.
  • The release of education record and PII information to appropriate parties if the school determines that there is an articulable and significant threat to the health and safety to a student or other individuals.

Release of Disciplinary Information

Provisions of FERPA, as amended by the Higher Education Amendments of 1998, govern access to your disciplinary file. You and/or university officials who demonstrate a legitimate educational need for disciplinary information may have access to your disciplinary file. Parent(s) can have access to your disciplinary file without your written consent, even if you've requested otherwise.

In addition, parent(s) may be notified if you're under 21 years of age and are found responsible for a violation involving use or possession of alcohol and drugs.

The Campus Security Act permits higher education institutions to disclose to alleged victims of any crime of violence (e.g., murder, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, motor vehicle theft) the results of the conduct proceedings conducted by the institution against an alleged perpetrator with respect to such crime. The Campus Security Act also requires that both accused and the accuser be informed of campus conduct proceedings involving a sexual assault.

Additionally, institutions are permitted to disclose the results of disciplinary cases in which a student has been found responsible for a violation involving violence or for a sex offense.