FERPA and Privacy Information
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
FERPA (also known as the Buckley Amendment) provides for confidentiality of student records and the right of students to have access to their records. The Luther College Student Handbook describes the policies that govern maintenance of, and access to, student’s personal and academic records. In general, information from a student’s record may not be released to any other person, agency, or organization without written consent of the student. Additionally, a student has a right to have access to their own file. Institutions may disclose educational records without written consent of the student to: personnel of the institution determined to have legitimate educational interest and parents who have dependent children, as determined by the IRS for tax purposes. Questions about issues of confidentiality of academic student records should be addressed to the Registrar.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 requires educational institutions to give public notice to students of the categories of personally identifiable information which the institution has designated as public/directory information.
Students have the right to withhold the disclosure of any of this information; you must give notice to that effect in writing to the Student Life Office. Please consider very carefully the consequences of withholding directory information. The ready availability of such information will almost always be to your advantage. Categories include:
- phone numbers and addresses (college and permanent)
- e-mail address
- classification (year in school)
- major(s), honors, awards, degrees conferred, dates of attendance
- participation in sports and activities
- height and weight of athletic team members
- date and place of birth
- photographs and other visual images*
*Luther College records visual images during many campus events and daily activities, such as convocations, concerts, classes, athletic events, and other public events on and off campus. These images are regularly used and published as part of Luther’s coverage of campus life for a variety of audiences, including but not limited to – the Luther Magazine, the Luther official website, and admissions materials.
References and FERPA
Luther employees are frequently asked to provide references to external organizations for scholarships, employment, or professional and graduate school opportunities for current and former Luther students. Verbal or written communication of this nature that includes student academic record information (e.g. courses completed, grades earned, and class rank) without the consent of the student is a violation of FERPA.
Luther employees must receive a signed Reference Consent Form prior to providing references that include non-directory student record information for current and former Luther students to external recipients. This form and process are not required for internal references if the recipient is a Luther official and has a legitimate “need to know.” Please contact the Registrar’s office if you are unsure of the need to use the form.
Please follow one of the procedures outlined below:
- On-campus students. The student must complete and sign a printed version of the form, including the name of the Luther employee providing the reference. One form must be completed and delivered to each person serving as a reference. The Luther employee makes a copy of the form for their records and forwards the original to the Registrar’s office for the student’s file.
- Off-campus current and former students. The student must complete and sign a printed version of the form, including the name of the Luther employee providing the reference. A scanned copy of the form is emailed, as an attachment, to firstname.lastname@example.org and the Luther employee providing the reference for the student.
The Parent Portal is available for parents to assist their son or daughter with their financial responsibilities as well as to view grades and class schedule. The student must grant permission for a parent to view their information.