Student Privacy and Educational Records

Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

As custodian of student records and in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, the university assumes the trust and obligation to ensure full protection of student records which includes maintaining the confidentiality of educational records. The administrative procedures outlined in this section are to be complied with by university personnel who have or accumulate educational records which are in a personally identifiable form. The term “student” in this section means an eligible student under FERPA (a student at VCSU).

Student records maintained by the university fall into two general categories: directory information and educational records. This policy defines Directory Information, as required under State Board of Higher Education Procedure 503.2 Student Records - Directory Information. Policies regarding Educational Records may be found in the Student Handbook.

Directory Information

Directory information is information concerning a student which may be released publicly. It includes the following:

  1. Student legal name (not to include preferred name)
  2. Hometown (city, state)
  3. Campus e-mail address
  4. Major field of study (all declared majors)
  5. Minor field of study (all declared minors)
  6. Class level
  7. Dates of attendance
  8. Enrollment status (withdrawn, half-time, full-time)
  9. Names of previous institutions attended
  10. Participation in officially recognized activities and sports (released as part of a team roster)
  11. Height, weight, and photos of athletic team members (released as part of a team roster)
  12. Honors/awards received (academic honors/awards released at the end of the term and graduation released at the end of the term or as part of graduation/commencement events)
  13. Degree earned (all degrees earned)
  14. Date degree earned (dates of all degrees earned)
  15. Directory photos, photographs, and video recordings of students in public or non-classroom settings (photographs from classrooms or class-related activities are NOT directory information)

Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, students have the right to request directory information not be made public by contacting the Office of the Registrar. Campuses will honor student requests to withhold directory information until the student makes the request in writing to lift the restriction.  

The university receives inquiries for ‘directory information' from a variety of sources including, but not limited to, prospective employers, other colleges and universities, graduate schools, licensing agencies, government agencies, news media, parents, friends, and relatives. VCSU has no responsibility to contact a student for subsequent permission to release directory information after the student has requested a restriction.

* If a student provides a preferred name, the college or university tries to use it when communicating directly with the student. The preferred name is also used in class/grade rosters, academic requirement reports, email addresses, etc. Preferred name is a supported business practice, unless there is a documented business or legal reason to use a student’s legal name. When communicating with outside third parties, including parents, the college or university generally uses a student’s legal name. Please note the collection and use of preferred names across campuses is an evolving practice.

Educational Records

Educational records are those records, files, documents, and other materials which contain information directly related to a student’s academic progress, financial status, medical condition, etc. and are maintained by Valley City State University or a party acting on behalf of the university. Educational records include more than academic records. Educational records, with the exception of those designated as directory information, may not be released without the written consent of the student to any individual, agency, or organization other than specifically authorized personnel. A complete copy of the VCSU Student Record Policy can be found in the Student Handbook.

Records of former students, including deceased former students, shall remain confidential for as long as the records are maintained. Such records may only be disclosed to the student or at the student’s written, signed request, except those records of deceased former students may be released or disclosed at the request of a parent, personal representative, or other qualified representative of the student's estate, or pursuant to a court order or subpoena.