FERPA Information for Faculty and Staff

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Family Educational Rights Privacy Act (FERPA)

The Family Educational Rights Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) governs the definition, privacy and usage of student records.

For questions, contact:
Susan Neppl, registrar and director of financial aid
952-888-4777 ext. 387

FERPA online course for staff and faculty

For comprehensive information about FERPA, take the online Moodle class.

FERPA explained

Educational record defined

A student has an educational record if it is:

  1. Maintained by Northwestern
  2. Personally identifiable to a student (directly related to a student and from which a student can be identified)
  3. Not one of the excluded categories of records

Documents not considered educational records:

Sole possession records, law enforcement records, employment records (unless contingent upon attendance), treatment records and alumni records.

Permissible disclosures

One exception is disclosure to school officials with a “legitimate educational interest.”

School official defined

In general, someone the institution has employed, contracted with, or has other official relationship with who would need to access pertinent student data to perform his/her designated job functions. These individuals act in the student’s educational interest within the constraint of their need to know.

Legitimate education interest

A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities and the review is educational in intent.

Responsibility as a faculty member, staff member or administrator

Faculty, staff and administrators are representatives of Northwestern, and, as such, are responsible for upholding FERPA and for protecting the confidentiality of student education records that are in their possession or to which they have been given access. Your access to student information is for legitimate educational use for completing your job duties as a Northwestern employee. The basic tenet of access is “need-to-know.”

FERPA suppression

FERPA suppression means that no information regarding a student may be disclosed without the student’s explicit consent, unless the disclosure meets one of the specific exceptions to signed consent.

Academic Calendar

Academic Calendar

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