FERPA Annual Notification

I. Rights

In establishing  University Policy 402, Student Education Records, UNC Charlotte adheres to a policy of compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, also known as FERPA, a federal law that affords students the following rights with respect to their education records:

A. To inspect and review the student’s education records:

Students should submit to the Office of the Registrar, dean of their college, chair of their major academic department, or other appropriate official written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect.  The appropriate University official will make arrangements 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 University official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.

B. To consent to disclosure of the student’s education records to third parties, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent, as follows:

1. Directory Information. Directory information (as defined in Section I of University Policy 402), including the student's name; major field of study; dates of attendance; enrollment status; degrees and awards (including scholarships and distinctions) received; and county of residence for award, scholarship, or distinction recipients, may appear in public documents and may otherwise be disclosed without student consent unless a student submits a request form to the Registrar to withhold such information from disclosure. A request for non-disclosure will be honored by the University indefinitely, unless the student submits to the Registrar a written revocation of such request for non-disclosure.

2. University Officials. University officials with legitimate educational interests in the student’s education records are allowed access to student education records. A “legitimate educational interest” is defined as an interest that is essential to the general process of higher education, including teaching, research, public service, academic advising, general counseling, discipline, job placement, financial assistance, medical services, and academic assistance activities. University officials who may have access to only those education records in which they have legitimate educational interests include, but are not limited to, personnel in the following offices:

  • Undergraduate Admissions
  • Graduate Admissions
  • Office of University Registrar
  • Office of Undergraduate Education
  • Financial Aid
  • Financial Services
  • Auxiliary Services
  • Student Employment Office
  • University Center for Academic Excellence
  • Career Center
  • Counseling Center
  • Office of Adult Students and Evening Services
  • Disability Services
  • OneIT, for technical support associated with maintaining student education records only
  • Internal Audit
  • Office of Enrollment Management
  • Office of Director of Athletics
  • Office of Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
  • Office of Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs
  • Office of Dean of Students
  • Office of Dean of Graduate School
  • Office of International Programs
  • Offices of Chairpersons of Departments
  • Offices of Deans of Colleges
  • Offices of Directors of Interdisciplinary Units
  • Office of Provost
  • Office of Chancellor
  • Office of Legal Affairs
  • Campus Police, for internal law enforcement or health and safety purposes only
  • University Advancement
  • Teaching and Learning Connection
  • Academic counselors and advisors
  • Campus Behavioral Intervention Team
  • Office of Institutional Research
  • Faculty members
  • Other academic and administrative personnel, as approved by the Chancellor

3. Parents of Dependents. Parents of a student who is a dependent for federal tax purposes, as defined by Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, may have access to that student’s education records without prior consent of the student. Parents may demonstrate the tax dependency of a student only by submitting to the University a copy of the first and signature pages of their most recently filed federal income tax return (with personal financial data removed). Alternatively, a student may demonstrate tax dependency, and thus allow parental access to the student’s records without prior consent of the student, by submitting to the University a signed statement of their tax dependency. If a dependent student’s parents are divorced, both parents may have access to the student’s records, so long as at least one parent claims the student as a dependent.

4. Other Institutions. The University may release a student’s education records to officials of another school, school system, or institution of postsecondary education where the student seeks or intends to enroll, or where the student is already enrolled, so long as the disclosure is for purposes related to the student’s enrollment or transfer.

5. Financial Aid. The University may release a student’s education records to persons or organizations in connection with that student’s application for, or receipt of, financial aid, but only to the extent necessary for such purposes as determining eligibility, amount, conditions, and enforcement of terms or conditions of such financial aid.

6. Accreditation Agencies. The University may release students’ education records to accreditation organizations or agencies for purposes necessary to carry out their accreditation functions.

7. Judicial Orders. Information concerning a student shall be released in response to a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena, subject to the conditions set forth in 34 CFR § 99.31(a)(9). The University will make reasonable efforts to notify the student of a subpoena before complying with it, except that the University shall not notify a student of a subpoena if it is from a federal grand jury or is for law enforcement purposes, and it provides that the University shall not disclose to any person the existence or contents of the subpoena or any information furnished in response to the subpoena.

8. Litigation. If the University initiates legal action against a parent or student, or if a parent or student initiates legal action against the University, the University may disclose to the court, without a court order or subpoena, the education records of the student that are relevant for the University to proceed with the legal action as plaintiff or to defend itself in such legal action.

9. Health and Safety. The University may, subject to the conditions set forth in 34 CFR § 99.36, disclose student information to appropriate persons, including parents of a student, in connection with an emergency if knowledge of the information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals.

10. Student Conduct Hearing Results.

a. Disclosure to Victims: The University may disclose to an alleged victim of any crime of violence (as that term is defined in Chapter 1, Section 16 of Title 18, United States Code), or a non-forcible sex offense, the final results of any student conduct proceeding conducted by the University against the alleged perpetrator of such crime or offense with respect to such crime or offense, regardless of whether the alleged perpetrator was found responsible for violating the University’s rules or policies with respect to such crime or offense.

b. Disclosure to Third Parties: The University may disclose the final results of any student conduct proceeding against a student who is an alleged perpetrator of any crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense (as those terms are defined in 34 C.F.R. 99.39), if the student is found responsible on or after October 7, 1998, for violating the University’s rules or policies with respect to such crime or offense. Such disclosure shall include only the name of the student, the violation committed, and any sanction imposed by the University on that student. Such disclosure may include the name of any other student, such as a victim or witness, only with the written consent of that other student.

11. Alcohol and Drug Violations. The University may disclose to a parent or legal guardian of a student, information regarding any violation of any Federal, State, or local law, or of any rule or policy of the University, governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance, regardless of whether that information is contained in the student’s education records, if the student is under the age of 21 at the time of disclosure to the parent, and the University determines that the student is responsible for a student conduct violation with respect to such use or possession.

12. Federal, State, and Local Officials and Educational Authorities. Subject to the requirements of 34 CFR § 99.35, the University may disclose education records to authorized representatives of (i) The Comptroller General of the United States; (ii) The Attorney General of the United States; (iii) The Secretary; or (iv) State and local educational authorities.

13. Institutional Studies. The University may disclose education records, but only under the conditions set forth in 34 CFR § 99.31(a)(6), to organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, educational agencies or institutions to (A) Develop, validate, or administer predictive tests; (B) Administer student aid programs; or (C) Improve instruction.

14. Contractors. The University may disclose education records to a contractor, consultant, volunteer, or other party to whom the University has outsourced institutional services or functions, provided that the outside party:

  • Performs an institutional service or function for which University would otherwise use employees;
  • Is under the direct control of the University with respect to the use and maintenance of education records; and
  • Is subject to the requirements of 34 CFR § 99.33(a) governing the use and redisclosure of Personally Identifiable Information from education records.

15. Registered Sex Offenders. The University may disclose education records concerning sex offenders and other individuals required to register under Section 170101 of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, 42 U.S.C. 14071, if the information was provided to the University under 42 U.S.C. 14071 and applicable Federal guidelines.

C. To request amendment of the student’s education records to ensure that they are not inaccurate or misleading:

A student who wishes to ask the University to amend a record should make a request to the University Registrar pursuant to the procedures in Attachment B to University Policy 402. The student should clearly identify the part of the record the student wants 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 the student’s 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.

D. To be notified of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA, as indicated by this Notification.

E. To file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the University to comply with the requirements of FERPA. Complaints may be filed via email by completing the form at https://studentprivacy.ed.gov/file-a-complaint and emailing to FERPA.Complaints@ed.gov. Complaints may also be filed by mail at the following address:

U.S. Department of Education

Student Privacy Policy Office

400 Maryland Avenue, SW

Washington, DC  20202-8520

II. Definitions

“Directory Information” means information in a student's education record that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. At UNC Charlotte, directory information consists of the student's name,  major field of study, dates of attendance, enrollment status, and degrees and awards (including scholarships) received.

Photographs, videos, or other media containing a student’s image or likeness (collectively, “student images”) and University-issued student electronic mail addresses (“email addresses”) are designated by UNC Charlotte as “Limited Use Directory Information.” Use and disclosure of Limited Use Directory Information will be restricted to:

  1. publication in official University publications or on social media sites or websites hosted or maintained by, on behalf of, or for the benefit of the University, including the University’s online directory and internal email system;
  2. University officials who have access, consistent with FERPA, to such information and only in conjunction with a legitimate educational interest; and
  3. external parties contractually affiliated with the University, provided such affiliation requires the sharing of Limited Use Directory Information.  

In addition, the following shall be considered Limited Use Directory Information that may be disclosed only to other students enrolled in the same course (regardless of whether such students are enrolled in the same class section or break-out group) that has been audio or video recorded by the University, for instructional and educational purposes only:

  1. name, to the extent it is referenced or captured during the audio or video recording; 
  2. any photograph or image of the student captured during the audio or video recording; 
  3. any audio or video recording of the student participating in the course; and 
  4. any online chats or other recorded communications among participants in the course captured during the audio or video recording.

A student who requests to withhold this Limited Use Directory Information from disclosure pursuant to Section II.B.1 of University Policy 402 may limit the extent to which they will be able to participate in the course.

To protect the privacy of other students, students are not permitted to make their own recordings of class sessions or to share or distribute University recordings of class sessions.

Education Records” include records directly related to a student that are maintained by UNC Charlotte. Education records do not include:

  1. Records of instructional, administrative, and educational personnel that are in the sole possession of the maker (i.e. file notes of conversations), are used only as a personal memory aid, and are not accessible or revealed to any individual except a temporary substitute;
  2. Records of the UNC Charlotte campus police;
  3. Student medical and counseling records created, maintained, and used only in connection with provision of medical treatment or counseling to the student, that are not disclosed to anyone other than the individuals providing the treatment. (While a student may not inspect their medical records, these records may be reviewed by a physician of the student’s choice);
  4. Employment records unrelated to the student’s status as a student;
  5. Records created or received by an educational agency or institution after an individual is no longer a student in attendance, and that are not directly related to the individual’s attendance as a student;
  6. Grades on peer-graded papers before they are collected and recorded by a teacher.

Personally Identifiable Information” includes, but is not limited to:

  • The student’s name;
  • The name of the student’s parent or other family members;
  • The address of the student or student’s family;
  • A personal identifier, such as the student’s social security number, student identification number, or biometric record;
  • Other indirect identifiers, such as the student’s date of birth, place of birth, and mother’s maiden name;
  • Other information that, alone or in combination, is linked or linkable to a specific student that would allow a reasonable person in the school community, who does not have personal knowledge of the relevant circumstances, to identify the student with reasonable certainty; or
  • Information requested by a person who the University reasonably believes knows the identity of the student to whom the education record relates.

Student” means an individual who is or who has been in attendance at UNC Charlotte. It does not include persons who have been admitted but did not attend at the University.  For the purposes of this policy, “attendance” includes attendance in person or by paper correspondence, videoconference, satellite, Internet, or other electronic information and telecommunications technologies for students who are not physically present in the classroom; and the period during which a person is working under a UNC Charlotte work-study program.

III. Compliance

UNC Charlotte intends to comply fully with these requirements.  University Policy 402, Student Records, explains the procedures for compliance.  Students may obtain copies of the policy in the Office of the Registrar or online at legal.charlotte.edu/policies/up-402.  That policy includes a list of the locations of all education records maintained by the institution.

All questions concerning this FERPA Annual Notification may be directed to the attention of the Office of the Registrar.

Updated February 22, 2023