FERPA Information for Students

Family Educational Rights Privacy Act (FERPA)

The privacy of your student record information is protected by a federal law called the Family Educational Rights Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA).

For questions, contact:
Angela Freeman, registrar
arfreeman@nwhealth.edu
952-888-4777 ext. 581

This law gives you specific rights:

  • The right to inspect and review any of your education records that Northwestern maintains
  • The right to seek amendment of these records
  • The right to consent to disclosure of these records
  • The right to file a complaint with the Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education

Request to prevent disclosure of information

On your registration form, you can indicate whether or not to appear in the student directory. When you check “NO,” Northwestern is then legally required to withhold all information about you from unauthorized outside parties. In addition, you must sign special releases to appear in the yearbook, the student senate directory or have your name appear publicly on an Academic Dean’s List.

Authorization to discuss your information with outside parties

Students must give written permission for Northwestern to discuss their educational records with an outside party, such as a parent or a spouse. Concerns may include financial aid processing, account payment or academic performance.

To grant permission, complete the student release of information form (pdf) and return to the Office of the Registrar.

Permission for letter of reference and/or verbal recommendation

Students must give written permission for any Northwestern faculty member or administrator to write a letter of reference or provide a verbal recommendation for you that includes information that could be construed to be part of your student record (e.g. GPA, classroom observances).

Complete the letter of reference and/or verbal recommendation form (pdf) and provide it to the faculty member or administrator. If you want grade or GPA information included in the letter, you must provide the letter writer with a copy of your transcript (can be an unofficial copy).

Directory or public information

The following information is public information, unless the learner has requested non-disclosure:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Email address
  • Telephone number
  • Dates of enrollment
  • Enrollment status (f/t, p/t, not enrolled)
  • Major/course of study
  • Name of adviser/program director
  • Class/term
  • Academic awards and honors
  • Degree(s) received
  • Photograph
  • Past and present participation in officially recognized sports and activities
  • Physical factors of athletes (e.g. height, weight)

Privacy hold on your directory information and requesting non-disclosure

Privacy hold means that no information is released about you to outside parties with the exception of third parties necessary for financial aid. In addition, you will not appear in the student directory and will have to sign special releases to appear in the yearbook, appear in the student senate directory or have your name appear publicly on an Academic Dean’s List.

Preventing your directory information from being disclosed in the student directory or to outside inquiries

Every time you register, there is a question on your registration form that asks whether you want to be in the student directory.

If you check “No” you will have a FERPA privacy hold placed on your record and you will not appear in the student directory accessible to other students. Outside inquiries will not be given this information unless specifically directed so by you.

If you check “Yes” your directory information will appear in the student directory and directory information may be released to outside inquiries.

A typical outside inquiry

Sometimes students purchase airline tickets that require verification from the school that they are indeed registered students. If you have a FERPA directory hold on your record, the Registrar will need your direct permission to release this information to the travel company. If you do not have a FERPA directory hold on your record, the school will be able to confirm your enrollment status automatically.

Changing your privacy status part way through the term

You may add a privacy hold to your records or change your privacy status part way through the term. Come to the Office of the Registrar (main floor, room 114) and ask to speak with one of the Registrars.

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Academic Calendar

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