FERPA Information for Students

The following information constitutes official public notice of the University’s compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). 

What is FERPA? 

The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law passed in 1974. As amended, the law protects the privacy of student records and sets requirements for the release of student information. It applies to K-12 schools and post-secondary institutions (colleges/universities). 

FERPA governs the disclosure of education records maintained by an education institution, as well as access to these records. FERPA rights belong to the student at a postsecondary institution regardless of the student’s age. FERPA applies to all students, including continuing education students, students auditing a class, distance education students, former students and alumni. 

Education records under FERPA are defined as records directly related to a student, which are maintained by an educational agency or institution, or by a party acting for the agency or institution, if certain conditions are met. 


Students’ Rights under FERPA 

FERPA affords eligible students certain rights with respect to their education records.  

FERPA takes effect on the first day of classes for newly admitted students who are registered for, or enrolled in, at least one class. (Visit the Academic Calendar for specific dates.) Individuals who have applied for admission, but who have not been accepted to UAlbany, have no rights under FERPA.  

Eligible students’ rights under FERPA include: 

The right to inspect and review your education records

FERPA affords eligible students the right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days after the day the University at Albany receives a request for access.  

A student should submit their written request to the University Registrar, Dean, head of the academic department or other appropriate official.  

The written request must identify the record(s) the student wishes to inspect. Requests for "all" records will be returned to the student for clarification.  

The school official will arrange for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.  

If the records are not maintained by the school official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed. 

Please complete and submit Request to Inspect and Review Non-Confidential Education Records form to get the process started. 

The right to request amendments to your education records if you believe they are inaccurate

FERPA affords eligible students the right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes is inaccurate.  

While a school is not required to amend education records in accordance with a student's request, the school is required to consider the request.  

A student who wishes to ask the University to amend a record should write the school official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed and specify why it should be changed.  

If the University decides not to amend the record as requested, the University will notify the student in writing of the decision and their right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment.  

The FERPA amendment procedure may only be used to challenge facts that are inaccurately recorded, it may not be used to challenge a grade, an opinion or a substantive decision made by a school about an eligible student.  

FERPA was intended to require only that schools conform to fair recordkeeping practices — not to override the accepted standards and procedures for making academic assessments, disciplinary rulings or placement determinations.  

Thus, while FERPA affords students the right to seek to amend education records which contain inaccurate information, this right cannot be used to challenge a grade, an individual's opinion or a substantive decision made by a school about a student.  

Additionally, if FERPA's amendment procedures are not applicable to a student's request for amendment of education records, the school is not required under FERPA to hold a hearing on the matter. Information regarding hearing procedures is provided to the student when they are notified of the right to a hearing. 

The right to provide written consent for disclosures of personally identifiable information

FERPA affords eligible students the right to provide written consent before the University discloses personally identifiable information (PII) from the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.  

The University discloses education records without a student’s prior written consent under the FERPA exception for disclosure to school officials with a legitimate educational interest.  

A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill their professional responsibilities for the University. 

The right to file a complaint

FERPA affords eligible students the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the University to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is: 
Family Policy Compliance Office 
U.S. Department of Education 
400 Maryland Avenue, SW 
Washington, DC 20202

Families’ Rights under FERPA 

One of the most significant changes that families experience when a student enrolls in college is who has the right to access the student’s educational records. 

Under FERPA, parents, guardians and other family members do not have access to their students’ postsecondary (college/university) education records. All rights belong to the student, regardless of their age. 

UAlbany employees are required to be vigilant in protecting students’ academic records. The University provides students with secure, 24/7 access to MyUAlbany. Students can use this portal to view and manage their registration, class schedule, grades, degree audit, bills, financial aid, refunds, etc. 

If a parent, guardian or family member contacts the University and requests access to their students’ academic record, we refer them back to the student and encourage an open dialogue. 

Students can choose to share an unofficial transcript, degree audit and/or enrollment verification with their family members to demonstrate their academic performance and progress. 

The University may not disclose information from a student’s records to any third party unless we have the student’s written consent using the form below:

Consent to Disclose Education Records Form

The Registrar’s Office then must authenticate a family member’s identity by reviewing a valid, non-expired photo ID, either in person or via video call. 

Family members who need access to student billing information must ask their student to set up an authorized user in E-Pay. Authorized users can make payments on behalf of their student and access the student’s billing statements, payment history, account activity and tax statements. 

For more information, watch the Registrar’s FERPA for Families video presentation. You can also access the slides from the presentation



Directory Information  

FERPA permits schools to disclose “directory information” without students’ consent. In accordance with the law, UAlbany has designated the following information about students as public, or “directory,” information: 

  • Name 
  • Address (local and permanent) 
  • Academic status (undergraduate, graduate, general studies, full-time, part-time, etc.) 
  • Dates of attendance 
  • Degrees completed 
  • Program of study 
  • Honors and awards 

The University receives inquiries for directory information from a variety of sources, including friends, parents, relatives, prospective employers, news media and others.  

Students have the right to have this directory information withheld, or suppressed, from the public. To do so, submit a Request to Withhold Directory Information form. Note: This form requires notarization. 

If a student makes such a request, the University will withhold all directory information from the public. Therefore, we advise students to carefully consider the consequences of this decision.  

Students who request the suppression of directory information will not be listed in the Commencement brochure or in any University or media publications and will not be eligible for degree verification by the University. Note: Employers, background screening firms and other third-party entities should visit our Services for Third-party Entities page. 

Directory information will be withheld until the request is rescinded by the student. To do so, submit a Request to Release Directory Information form. Note: This form requires notarization. 

Suppression of directory information does not preclude a school official with a legitimate educational interest from inspecting students’ education records. 

The University, in all good faith, will not release suppressed directory information, unless under the provisions described below: 

Notice of Disclosure

Generally, schools must have written permission from a student in order to release any information from a student’s education record.  

However, FERPA permits the disclosure of personally identifiable information (PII) from students’ education records, without consent of the student, if the disclosure meets certain conditions found in §99.31 of FERPA regulations, some of which are listed below: 

  • School officials with a legitimate educational interest 

  • Other schools to which a student is transferring (Upon request, the University at Albany will also disclose education records, without student consent, to officials of another college/university in which a student seeks or intends to enroll. The University will do so upon request, without notification to the student.) 

  • Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes 

  • Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student 

  • Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school 

  • Accrediting organizations 

  • To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena 

  • Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies 

  • State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific State law  

FERPA Definitions

School Officials with a Legitimate Education Interest

A school official is defined as a person employed by the University at Albany and/or the State University of New York (SUNY) in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person serving on the board of trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee. 

A school official also may include a volunteer or contractor outside of the University at Albany who performs an institutional service or function for which the school would otherwise use its own employees and who is under the direct control of the school with respect to the use and maintenance of personally identifiable information (PII) from educational records, such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent or a student volunteering to assist another school official in performing his or her tasks. 

A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill their professional responsibilities for the University at Albany and/or the State University of New York (SUNY). 

Review SUNY’s Policy on Compliance with FERPA for more information. 

When does FERPA take effect?

FERPA becomes effective on the first day of classes for newly admitted students who are registered for at least one class. Visit the Academic Calendar for exact dates.

Individuals who have applied for admission but have not been accepted have no rights under FERPA. 

Note: “Student” applies to all students, including continuing education students, students auditing classes, distance education students and former students. The University considers “registered” and “enrolled” to be equivalent terms when it comes to the administration of FERPA.