Family Educational Rights And Privacy Act (FERPA)

Access to Records by Students

Students may inspect all education records pertaining to them that are maintained by Buena Vista University. Student education records are defined as records, files, documents, and other materials that contain information directly related to a student and are maintained by Buena Vista University or by an entity acting for the University.

Student education records do not include records of instructional, supervisory, and administrative personnel, and ancillary educational personnel, that are in the sole possession of the maker and that are not accessible or revealed to any other person except a substitute.

Other exclusions include:

  • Notes of a professor/staff member concerning a student and intended for the professor/staff member’s own use are not subject to inspection, disclosure and challenge.
  • Records of security services, except in instances where they are transmitted within the University for administrative purposes.
  • Records relating to an individual who is employed by an educational agency or institution, not a result of his or her status as a student that:
  1. Are made and maintained in a normal course of business;
  2. Relate exclusively to the individual in that individual’s capacity as an employee; and,
  3. Are not available for use for any other purpose.
  • Records on students that are made or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional acting or assisting in that capacity are not subject to the provisions of access, disclosure and challenge. Such records, however, must be made, maintained or used only in connection with the provision of treatment to the student and are not available to anyone other than the person providing such treatment or a substitute. Such records may be personally reviewed by a physician or other appropriate professional of the students’ choice.
  • Application records of students not admitted to the University; however, once a student has enrolled in an academic offering of the University, application information becomes a part of the student’s educational records.
  • Alumni records.


Buena Vista University students have the right to inspect their institutional academic records and to obtain copies if unable to come to campus to personally view them. This right of inspection extends to all items in the academic file for which the student has not previously signed a waiver of this right. See the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) section of this handbook for more information.

Access to Student Records by Others

Directory information (name, address, telephone listing, electronic mail address, date and place of birth, field of study, dates of attendance, enrollment status, expected date of completion, class rosters, participation in officially recognized activities, photographs, weight and height of members of athletic teams, degrees, honors, awards received, and the most recent educational institution attended) is public, unless the student expressly prohibits its publication in writing no later than seven days after the beginning of classes each semester/term to the Registrar’s Office. All other personally identifiable information is held in confidence by all Buena Vista University personnel and is not released to others except with the authorization of the student. This authorization is indicated by the student providing a signed release, or by the student providing to these authorized individuals a ‘personal authorization number,’ (PAN) which is accessed and maintained by the student via Campus Connect and the student’s BVU GroupWise account. 

However, the University may grant access to student records without the consent of the student to the following parties:

  • Members of the faculty and administration and the personnel of their offices shall have such access as may be necessary in the normal course of the educational and administrative functioning of the University.
  • Parents of financially dependent students (as defined by the Internal Revenue Service).
  • Officers of other educational institutions in which the student seeks or intends to enroll.
  • Parties in connection with the granting of financial aid to the student.
  • Persons conducting educational or research studies about universities and students, including accrediting organizations, with the provision that only aggregate (not personally identifiable) data will be made public.
  • When there exists a bona fide health or safety emergency. This includes alcohol and controlled substance violations.
  • Certain state and federal officials as mandated by law (law enforcement officers are not included; they are granted access to student records only with the written consent of the student or in case of a court order or subpoena). In the event of a lawful subpoena, with which the University must comply, Buena Vista University attempts to notify the student that a subpoena has been served. The exception to this notification includes the Patriot Act and other restrictions on notification.
  • Disclosure of the final results of a disciplinary proceeding to a victim of an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense. The institution may disclose to the victim the final results, regardless of whether the institution concluded a violation was committed. 

Record of Requests for Access to Student Records

Buena Vista University maintains, as part of the educational record of the student, a record of all requests for access (whether or not the requests were granted), with the exception of requests for directory information. This record includes the name of the party requesting the information, the date, and the legitimate interest this party had in requesting the information.

Such records are not maintained when the student personally inspects his or her records, when disclosures are made at the request of the student, and when disclosures are made to Buena Vista University personnel or other parties with legal access.

Rights to Inspection

Students have the right to inspect and review their education records within 45 days of the day the University receives a request for access. 

Students should submit to the Registrar written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The Registrar will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.

Questions about Record Accuracy: Challenges to Content

Students have the right to request the amendment of their education records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading. 

Students may ask the University to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading.  They should write the University official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. 

If the University decides not to amend the record as requested, it shall inform the student of its decision. The student then has a right to a hearing before the University and to challenge the content of the student’s educational record on the grounds that the information contained in the records is inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the privacy rights of the student.

If, as a result of the hearing, the University decides that the information is inaccurate, misleading or otherwise in violation of the privacy rights of the student, it shall amend the record accordingly and inform the student in writing of the amendment. Conversely, if, as a result of the hearing, the University decides the information in the educational record is not inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the privacy rights of the student, it shall inform the student of his or her right to place a statement in the record commenting on the contested information in the record or stating why he or she disagrees with the decision of the University, or both.

Note: The above policies and procedures are, to the best of our knowledge, consistent with the requirements mandated by Section 438 of the General Education Provisions Act, as amended (The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974—FERPA), and the regulations pursuant thereto as issued by the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, June 17, 1976. 

A student may file a complaint with the following governmental office regarding an alleged violation by the University of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The complaint must be made in writing and addressed to: Family Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20202-4605. The complaint must contain specific allegations of fact giving reasonable cause to believe that a violation of FERPA has occurred. The complaint must be submitted within 180 days of the date of the alleged violation or the date the student knew or reasonably should have known of the alleged violation; the Family Policy Compliance Office may extend this time limit for good cause shown.