FERPA Overview

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Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974

Students who are or have been in attendance at the University have certain rights to request, inspect, review and challenge the records maintained by the institution under the provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974.

The University does not permit access to, or the release of, a student's education records or personally identifiable information contained therein (other than Directory information) without the student's written consent, except to officials of the institution and those granted access by the Act.

Any student at the University may review the complete text of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 and implementing federal regulations at the Office of the Registrar. Questions regarding the act or student rights there under should be directed to the Registrar.

Notification of Rights Under FERPA

FERPA affords students certain rights with respect to their education records.  An individual accepted into an academic program and having completed all registration forms and having paid tuition is defined by Des Moines University as a student effective the first day of the first term of enrollment.

These rights are:

  1. The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days of the day the University receives a request for access. Students should submit to a University official a written request that identifies the record(s) they wish to inspect. If the records are not maintained by that official, he/she will advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed. The appropriate University official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.
  2. The right to request the amendment of the student’s 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 by the student, the University will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his/her right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing. The Amendment Request and Hearing procedure is available for review.
  3. The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception which permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement and health staff); a person or company with whom the University has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a discipline or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his/her tasks. 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. The second exception that permits disclosure without consent is “directory information”. Data considered by Des Moines University to be directory information:
    • Name
    • Local Address
    • Telephone Number
    • DMU Email Address
    • Major Field(s) of Study
    • Year in Program(s)
    • Enrollment Status
    • Degrees and Awards Received
    • Participation in Officially Recognized Activities
    • Residency/Match Results (DO students only; effective with the 2023-2024 academic year)
  4. Students who wish to have this information withheld from the public must contact the Office of the Registrar to complete and submit the “Restrict Directory Information” form.
  5. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Des Moines University to comply with the requirements of FERPA. Complaint address:
    Family Policy Compliance Office
    U.S. Department of Education
    400 Maryland Avenue, SW
    Washington, DC  20202-8520

A complete listing of all FERPA guidelines can be found on the U.S. Department of Education’s website.

How to Request Release of Education Records

Please visit the Office of the Registrar's Request page for information on how make official requests for transcripts, enrollment and graduation verification and diplomas. Please fill out this form to request a waiver of FERPA rights.

Des Moines University Directory Information

The following student information is available for release to the public:

  1. Name, local address, telephone number
  2. DMU email address
  3. Major field(s) of study
  4. Year in program(s)
  5. Dates of attendance
  6. Enrollment status
  7. Degrees and awards received
  8. Participation in officially recognized activities
  9. Residency/Match Results (DO students only; effective with the 2023-2024 academic year)

DMU prohibits the use of its name/address/phone directories by students and employees, spouses, friends and families, for solicitation purposes.

While student photos are not considered to be directory information at DMU and cannot be released to third parties without the student’s written consent, photos are accessed as required in the performance of job duties, and without student consent, by DMU employees.

How to Restrict Directory Information

Students who wish to have their directory information withheld from the public must complete and submit a Restrict Directory Information form to the Office of the Registrar.

Access to Student Records

Type of Record Responsible Official Persons Who Have Access Purpose of Access
Permanent Academic Registrar Faculty and Staff Academic Evaluation
Personal Dean Academic Administration & Student Services StaffPersons and/or organizations designated by the University Student Evaluation and AdvisementPerform management or administrative tasks authorized by the University
Student Accounts Controller Business & Finance Staff Accounting and Advisement
Student Financial Aid File Director of Student Financial Aid Financial Aid Staff Administrative and Record Keeping
Transcript Requests Registrar Registrar's Staff Administrative
Veterans File Registrar Registrar's Staff Veterans Correspondence

Records Not Available to Students 

  1. Financial records of the parents of the student.
  2. Confidential letters and statements of recommendation placed in the education records prior to January 1, 1975, if such letters or statements are used only for purposes intended.
  3. After January 1, 1975, confidential recommendations concerning admission, application for employment, or receipt of an honor or recognition are unavailable to student access if the student has signed a waiver of access.

Release of Information Without Consent

In addition to specific private individuals, government officials and agencies enumerated in the law may have access to student education records without consent. They are:

  1. Accrediting institutions.
  2. Parents of a dependent student (as defined in Section 152 of the IRS Code of 1954).
  3. Appropriate persons in case of an emergency if such information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other persons.

Release of Information with Consent

Students may submit a waiver of FERPA rights form in order to release information to designated representatives (e.g., spouse). The student must specifically name those individuals who may gain access to the student's academic information. The waiver must be signed by the student and kept in the permanent record in the Office of the Registrar.  Waiver forms are valid for six months from the date of the student’s signature.

Materials Not Included in Education Records

The following materials are not directly accessible to students:

  1. Personal notes and other materials, such as faculty daily records, created by individual college personnel as memory aids, provided they are not revealed to another person other than in the case of a substitute who performs another's duties for a temporary period.
  2. Law enforcement (including campus security) records, provided that they are kept separate from education records, are for law enforcement purposes only, and are available only to other law enforcement officials from the same jurisdiction.
  3. The employment records of a person who is employed but not enrolled at the college, if they are used for other than employment purposes.
  4. Records of physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, or other professionals or para-professionals used in treatment of the These records are available only to those providing treatment, but may be received by a second physician or other professional upon written release of said information by the student.

Academic Class Rank

Hospital Directors of Medical Education, Podiatric Medical Education or other designated medical and podiatric officers who require class standing information for a student may, upon written request to the Dean, and with the written concurrence of the student, be given the exact class ranking for that student in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. Rank is calculated for each class twice during an academic year, approximately January and July.

What is FERPA?

FERPA (Family Education Rights and Privacy Act), also known as the Buckley amendment, was passed by Congress in 1974. It grants four specific rights to a post-secondary student.

  • To see the information that the institution is keeping on the student
  • To seek amendments to those records and in certain cases append a statement to the record
  • To consent to disclosure of his/her records
  • To file a complaint with FERPA office in Washington

FERPA applies to all educational agencies or institutions, including Des Moines University, that receive funds under any program administered by the Secretary of Education.

FERPA governs what may be released but does not require that any information be released.

Student Information Types

Student education records include information provided by a student or created in the educational process such as:

  • Personal information
  • Enrollment records
  • Student’s exam or paper
  • Grades
  • Schedules
  • Disciplinary records
  • Financial Aid information
  • Notes taken during an advising session

Storage media for an education record may vary and can include one or more of the following:

  • Paper document
  • Electronic document or e-mail
  • Computer printout
  • Class list on your desktop
  • Computer display screen
  • Notes taken during an advising session

Directory/Public Information

“Directory information is…information contained in an education record of a student which would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed.” (FERPA Regulations, Code of Federal Regulations, Title 34, Part 99.3).

Directory information is considered public and can be released without the student’s written permission. However, the student may opt to keep this information confidential. Directory information can never include:

  • Social Security Number
  • Student Identification Number
  • Race
  • Date of Birth
  • Ethnicity
  • Nationality
  • Gender

Directory Information at DMU

Data considered by Des Moines University to be directory information:

  • Name
  • Local address
  • Telephone number
  • DMU email address
  • Major field(s) of study
  • Year in program(s)
  • Enrollment status
  • Degrees and awards received
  • Participation in officially recognized activities


As a faculty or staff member, you have a legal responsibility to protect the confidentiality of student education records in your possession.

You have access to student information only for legitimate use in the completion of your responsibilities as a University employee. Need to know is the basic principle. Student education records (other than directory information) are considered confidential and may not be released without written consent of the student. Student information stored in electronic format must be secure and available only to those entitled to access that information. Your access to student information, including directory information, is based on your faculty or staff role at the University.

Can directory or public information always be released?

The answer is NO! Before releasing any information about a student, check for a “Restriction” request signed by the student. If the student has requested that directory information be withheld, no information can be released

Students may request that directory information be withheld by completing the Restrict Directory Information form.

Students may grant third-party access to their records by completing the FERPA Waiver of Rights form.

Advising Notes

  • Notes taken during a session with a student are not private and are considered part of the official student record. These notes can be viewed by the student and other faculty or administrators with a legitimate need to know.
    • The only exception are sole possession notes, which are privately written notes kept by an employee separate from any official or shared files kept by the university. These notes may include personal observations that are not shared with anyone else. Note: if these notes are shared, they become part of the official student record.
  • Advising notes are meant to document the guidance you have provided your advisee.

In accordance with FERPA, do not:

  • Use the SSN or DMU ID number of a student in a public posting of grades or any other information.
  • Link the name of a student with that student’s SSN or DMU ID in any public manner.
  • Leave grades, tests, papers, or other student materials in a stack from which students are to collect their own, requiring that they sort through papers of all students.
  • Circulate a class list with student name and SSN or grades as an attendance roster.
  • Discuss the progress of any student with anyone other than the student (including parents/spouse) without the consent of the student.
  • Provide anyone with student schedules or assist anyone other than DMU employees in finding a student on campus. Please offer to relay a message.
  • Access the records of any student for personal reasons.
  • Release reports including student information.

Health and Safety Emergency

FERPA permits an institution the right to disclose protected student information without consent in the event of a health and safety emergency. It also allows for the institution to determine what constitutes a health and safety emergency and warrants such a release.

You can visit the FERPA website for more information (i.e. writing letters of recommendation, sole possession records).

For more information, contact Melinda Miller, Registrar, at 515-271-1461 or registrar@dmu.edu.

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