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FERPA Policy

Radford University student record policies and practices are in full compliance with the Family and Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

The University will not release information about a student from records, except directory information, to people (including parents) other than a specified list of exceptions without obtaining the written consent of the student.

Upon request, the university will grant students who are or have been in attendance access to their educational records, except those excluded by law, and will provide an opportunity for a hearing to challenge such records.

Federal and state law does permit the University to release information it has identified as directory information with respect to each student unless the student informs the university that all designated directory information should not be released without the student’s prior consent. Forms to request a restricted release of directory information [PDF]are available and should be turned in to the Office of the Registrar.*

While the university understands that there are sometimes very legitimate reasons why a student may want to restrict their directory information, please note that placing a restriction on the release of a student’s directory information means that Radford University personnel cannot even acknowledge the existence of the student to a third party such as prospective employers, graduate or professional schools or loan servicers. This may cause the student and their parents some inconveniences related to the verification of enrollment and/or graduation for insurance, student loan deferment and employment purposes.

Radford University has identified the following as directory information.

  • Student’s name, date-of-birth, local and home address, phone listing and e-mail addresses
  • Whether a student is currently enrolled
  • Major field of study
  • Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
  • Weight and height of members of athletic teams
  • Dates of attendance
  • Degrees and awards received

While FERPA stipulates that universities may disclose directory information to third parties without the student’s consent, they are not required to do so. It is Radford University's policy to refrain from disclosing student addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses and dates-of-birth without the student’s consent; however, the university may use this information for verification purposes.  A student can, however, authorize the university to disclose their contact information (addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses) by completing and turning in a Contact Information Release Form [PDF] to the Registrar’s Office.  The university does not disclose social security numbers, personal identification numbers, photographs, grades, grade point averages or class schedules without the written consent of the student.

A full statement of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and information explaining how students may exercise the rights accorded them by this policy are posted here and are available from the Office of the Registrar.

*The restriction on the release of student information does not apply to university officials or to designated persons or agencies operating on behalf of the university. For example, faculty, advisors, and academic support staff, may access student information needed to perform their official responsibilities. Selected individuals or agencies operating for the university, such as the National Student Clearinghouse, may have access to academic records to verify enrollments and degrees.  The university may disclose records to state agencies for the purpose of program review and evaluation.

As of January 3, 2012, the U.S. Department of Education's FERPA regulations expand the circumstances under which your education records and personally identifiable information (PII) contained in such records — including your Social Security Number, grades, or other private information — 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 ("Federal and State 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. The evaluation may relate to any program that is "principally engaged in the provision of education," such as early childhood education and job training, as well as any program that is administered by an education agency or institution. Second, Federal and State Authorities may allow access to your education records and PII without your consent to researchers performing certain types of studies, in certain cases even when we object to or do 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.

Confidentiality of Records FAQ

If my child is a student, and I pay the bills why, can't I find out their grades?
We can only release academic information to a student and designated individual with a documented signed FERPA release.

Can you tell me what my GPA is?
We can release that information to you only in person with a valid ID.

Can you tell me my Student ID number?
Student ID numbers are confidential.  We can only provide that information with a valid ID. We never release academic information over the phone, however we can send your Student ID number to you using your RU email account.

I applied for a job and you couldn't verify I attended, why?
We cannot provide any information about anyone with restricted information. We can only provide information once their information is no longer restricted.

Can you tell me what classes I've had?
We can release this information in person with a valid photo ID.  However, we cannot release that information over the phone.  If you unable to come in person, another option is to view your unofficial transcripts online in the student information system or request official transcripts from our office.

Can I get a copy of my testing scores or transferred transcripts?
You may receive a copy of the information with:

  • Valid ID
  • Written request

What do I do if I can't find my question?
Email your question to  If enough persons have the same question, it might end up here.

FERPA Key Concepts


The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, also known as the Buckley Amendment, helps protect the privacy of student records.  The Act provides for the right to inspect and review educational records, to seek to amend those records, and to limit disclosure or information from the records.  The Act applies to all institutions that are the recipients of federal funding.


Information maintained in any way, including, but not limited to:

  • Audio Tape
  • Video Tape
  • Print
  • Microfiche
  • Handwriting
  • Microfilm
  • Film
  • Computer Media


To permit access to, release, transfer or allow any other type of communication of personally identifiable information contained in education records to any party by any means; including oral, written or electronic communication.

Directory Information

Is not generally considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Name, date of birth, address, email address, telephone listing
  • Dates of attendance, degrees, and awards
  • Major field of study
  • Participation in officially recognized activities & sports

Directory information cannot include:

  • Student Identification numbers
  • Social security numbers (whole or partial)
  • Ethnicity/race/nationality
  • Gender

Educational Records

All records which contain information directly related to a student; and are maintained by an educational agency or institution or by a party acting for the agency or institution.

This is considered as any information which makes a student personally identifiable, such as an ID number or home address, is considered an educational record.

Records which fall outside of the definition include:

  • Sole possession records or private notes held by educational personnel which are not accessible or released to other personnel
  • Law enforcement or campus security records which are solely for law enforcement purposes
  • Records relating to individuals who are employed by the institution (unless employment is contingent upon school attendance).
  • Records relating to treatment provided by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional and disclosed only to individuals providing treatment.
  • Records of an institution that contain only information about an individual obtained after that person is no longer a student at that institution (i.e., alumni records).

School Official

May be:

  • An employee of a college (administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff).
  • A person elected to the board of trustees.
  • A company or person employed/contracted by a college to perform a special task (i.e., attorney, auditor, or collection agency).
  • A person or student serving on an official committee (i.e., disciplinary/grievance, scholarship) or assisting an official in his/her tasks (i.e., work study students).

Legitimate Educational Interest

In accordance with FERPA, a school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his/her professional responsibility. This includes such purposes as:

  • Performing appropriate tasks that are specified in her/his position description or by a contract agreement.
  • Performing a task related to a student's education.
  • Performing a task related to the discipline of a student.
  • Providing services for the student or the student's family, such as health care, counseling, job placement, or financial aid.

A legitimate educational interest does not convey inherent rights to any and all student information. The law discriminates between educational interest, and personal or private interest; determinations are made on a case-by-case basis. Educational interest does not constitute authority to disclose information to a third party without the student's written permission.

FERPA Student Information

Release of Grades/GPA Information

Grades and grade-point averages are never released to agencies or persons outside the University without the written consent of the student. Grades and GPA information are not given out over the telephone to anyone.

Restriction of Directory Information

Under the 1974 Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the student has the right to request in writing that the disclosure of directory information be withheld from persons outside the University. Please note that this information can only be suppressed from the public, not from University officials. The University may disclose records to state agencies for the purpose of program review and evaluation and student preparation.

Student Rights under FERPA

Radford University fully complies with the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and with procedures recommended by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO). This legislation gives students the following rights with respect to their education records:

  • The right of access to their educational records.
  • The right to request an amendment to those records and to have a hearing if the request is denied.
  • The right to consent to disclosure of their information unless consent is not required by FERPA.
  • The right to file a complaint with the Family Policy Compliance Office.
  • The right to suppress directory information.

FERPA Faculty Information

FERPA Violations to Avoid

Special "Don'ts" for Faculty  
To avoid violations of FERPA rules, DO NOT:

  • Provide anyone with student schedules or assist anyone other than university employees in finding a student on campus.
  • Circulate a printed class list with student name and (whole or partial) social security number or grades as an attendance roster.
  • Leave graded tests in a stack for students to pick up by sorting through the papers of all students.
  • At any time use the (whole or partial) social security number or student id number of a student in a public posting of grades.
  • Link the name of a student with that student's (whole or partial) social security number in any public manner.
  • Provide anyone with lists of students enrolled in your classes for any commercial purpose.
  • Discuss the progress of any student with anyone other than the student (including parents) without the consent of the student.

Letters of Recommendation

Statements made by a person making a recommendation that are made from that person's personal observation or knowledge do not require a written release from the student. However, if personally identifiable information obtained from a student's educational record is included in the letter of recommendation (grades, GPA, etc.), the writer is required to obtain a signed release from the student which (1) specifies the records that may be disclosed, (2) states the purpose of the disclosure, and (3) identifies the party or class of parties to whom the disclosure can be made.
If this letter is kept on file by the person writing the recommendation, it would be part of the student's education record and the student has the right to read it unless he or she has waived that right to access.

Sample letter of recommendation  
I hereby give permission to Prof. Jones to write a letter of recommendation to:
Perpendicular Productions LLC.
1455 Anderson Ave.
Anytown, OH 12345

Prof. Jones has my permission to include my GPA and grades.

I waive (or do not waive) my right to review a copy of this letter at any time in the future.


Posting of Student Grades

The public posting of grades either by the student's name, Id number, or (whole or partial) social security number without the student's written permission is a violation of FERPA. This includes the posting of grades to a class website and applies to any public posting of grades for students taking distance education courses.

Instructors and others who post grades should use a system that ensures that FERPA requirements are met. This can be accomplished either by obtaining the student's written permission or by using code words or randomly assigned numbers that only the instructor and individual student should know. Grade postings should never be in alphabetical order by last names.

Notification of grades via a postcard violates a student's privacy rights. Notification of grades via e-mail is not recommended. There is minimal guarantee of confidentiality of e-mail. The institution would be held responsible if an unauthorized third party gained access, in any manner, to a student's educational record through any electronic transmission method.

Penalties for Violating FERPA Regulations

The Family Policy Compliance Office reviews and investigates complaints of violations of FERPA. If the Office finds that there has been a failure to comply with FERPA, it will notify the institution about the corrections that need to be made to bring the institution into compliance. The Office will establish a reasonable period of time for the institution to voluntarily accomplish the specified changes.

If the Secretary of Education finds, after this reasonable period of time, that an institution has failed to comply with FERPA and determines that compliance cannot be secured by any means, can, among other options, direct that no federal funds under his/her administrative control (financial aid, education grants, etc.) be made available to that institution.