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.
  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 is name, local address, telephone number, DMU email address, major field(s) of study, year in program(s), dates of attendance, enrollment status, degrees and awards received and participation in officially recognized activities.  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.
  4. 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.

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

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 RecordResponsible OfficialPersons Who Have AccessPurpose of Access
Permanent AcademicRegistrarFaculty and StaffAcademic Evaluation
PersonalDeanAcademic Administration & Student Services StaffPersons and/or organizations designated by the UniversityStudent Evaluation and AdvisementPerform management or administrative tasks authorized by the University
Student AccountsControllerAccounting StaffAccounting and Advisement
Student Financial Aid FileDirector of Student Financial AidFinancial Aid StaffAdministrative and Record Keeping
Transcript RequestsRegistrarRegistrar’s StaffAdministrative
Veterans FileRegistrarRegistrar’s StaffVeterans 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 one year 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.