Reporting a FERPA Violation
Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), you are afforded certain rights. One of which is to report if you believe your information has been inappropriately released. The information provided below is a general set of procedures the Office of the Registrar uses when a student informs our office of a potential violation. How the investigation progresses can vary depending on the severity of the alleged violation, number of students involved, significance of the information released, etc. In many situations, complaints relative to FERPA can be resolved within the University on an informal basis by contacting the Office of the Registrar.
- Student reports the incident to the Office of the Registrar. Outreach may be completed via phone at (515) 294-1840 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- A member of the Registrar's Office who works with FERPA will likely meet with the student in person, via Zoom, WebEx, or Teams, or via phone - whatever is most convenient and desirable for the individual(s) filing the complaint.
- Students are welcome to invite someone, such as a supportive faculty member or advisor, to the discussions if that would make the student more comfortable.
- After hearing the initial complaint and examining the relevant information, the Office of the Registrar will look further into the situation to substantiate the claim to ensure we have an accurate and complete picture of the situation.
- When appropriate and necessary, we will involve other offices like IT Security, University Legal Counsel, and/or the Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost.
- If it is determined that a FERPA violation occured, we will meet with the individual(s) who caused the violation to talk through the reported incident and our findings and to discuss next steps around:
- Appropriate release of information
- Other appropriate next steps as deemed by our office or any others we have involved along the way
File a FERPA Complaint with the U.S. Department of Education
There is also a right to file a FERPA complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the University to comply with the requirements of FERPA. To file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education, an individual would need to contact the Office that administers FERPA at:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW.
Washington, DC, 20202