Cumberland University



What is FERPA?
FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, is a federal law that pertains to the release of and access to student educational records. The law, also known as the Buckley Amendment, applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education. Go to to learn more.

To which information does FERPA apply?
FERPA applies to personally identifiable information in educational records. Personally identifiable information includes items such as the student's name, names of family members, addresses, personal identifiers such as social security numbers, and personal characteristics or other information that make the student's identity easily traceable.

What are educational records?
Educational records are all records that contain information that is directly related to a student and that are maintained by an educational agency or institution or by a party acting on its behalf. A record means any information recorded in any way, including but not limited to handwriting, print, tape, film, microfilm, microfiche and digital image.

Educational records do not include the following:
  • Sole possession records (those records kept in the sole possession of the maker which are used only as a personal memory aid and are not accessible or reviewed by any other person except a temporary substitute for the maker of the record)
  • Medical or psychological treatment records that include but are not limited to records maintained by physicians, psychiatrists, and psychologists
  • Employment records, provided that employment is not contingent upon being a student
  • Law enforcement records
  • Records collected about an individual after the individual is no longer a student at Cumberland University

To whom does FERPA apply?
At Cumberland University, FERPA rights apply to a student; a student is a person who is, or has been, in attendance at the institution, regardless of the person's age.

What are a student's rights under FERPA?
Under FERPA, a student has a right to inspect and review his or her educational records; request to amend his or her educational records; have some control over the disclosure of information from his or her educational records.

If students believe that their FERPA rights have been violated, they may contact the Family Policy Compliance Office at the Department of Education, 400 Maryland Ave SW, Washington DC 2002-4605. Additional information is available at

Do students have a right to see and change their educational records?
Upon written request, the University shall provide a student access to his or her educational records except for financial records of the student's parents or guardian; and confidential letters of recommendation where the student has signed a waiver of right of access. If the records contain information on more than one student, the requesting student may inspect, review, or be informed on only the specific information about his or her own records. A student may obtain copies of his or her educational records, an official transcript of academic record and an unofficial copy of the permanent academic record. Educational records covered by FERPA normally will be made available within 45 days of the request. The contents of a student's educational records may be challenged by the student on the grounds that they are inaccurate, misleading or otherwise in violation of the privacy rights of the student by submitting a written statement to the custodian of records. The Director of Records, Registration, Research and Retention is the official custodian of records at the University.

What is directory information?
FERPA identifies certain information, called directory information, that may be disclosed without the student's permission. The University has designated the following information as directory information:
  • Student's name
  • Local and permanent addresses
  • Electronic mail address
  • Public user name (UT EID)
  • Telephone listing
  • Date and place of birth
  • Major field of study
  • Dates of attendance
  • Enrollment status
  • Degrees, awards and honors received (including selection criteria)
  • The most recent previous educational institution attended
  • Classification
  • Expected date of graduation
  • Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
  • Weight and height, if a member of an athletic team
  • The names and addresses of former students who are credited with funds remaining in their general property deposit
  •  Student parking information
How do I make my directory information confidential?
A currently enrolled student may request that all directory information be made confidential by coming to the Office of the Registrar, Memorial Hall, and completing the appropriate request to restrict release or revoke restriction of directory information form during the first 12 class days of any semester or the first four class days of any summer term. This request will remain in effect until revoked by the student. Students who request to restrict directory information should understand that their names will not appear in the printed directory or on-line student electronic directory. In addition, employers, credit card companies, scholarship committees and the like will be denied access to the student's directory information and will be informed that the University has no information to provide about that individual.

Who has access to student educational records?
According to FERPA, non-directory information may not be released without prior written consent from the student. Exceptions are listed in the Cumberland University catalog; they include access by appropriate University administrators, faculty members or staff members who require access to educational records in order to perform their legitimate educational duties; officials of other schools in which the student seeks or intends to enroll; and in connection with a student's application for, or receipt of, financial aid.

What is legitimate educational interest?
Legitimate educational interest is access to educational records by appropriate University administrators, faculty members or by appropriate administrators or staff members who require such access in order to perform their legitimate educational and business duties.

Whom should I contact with questions or concerns?
Direct general questions to the Director of Records, Registration, Research and Retention, as appropriate. Send comments or suggestions to the Director’s office.

How to contact us 
Tammi Pavan
Records, Registration, Research & Retention
Memorial Hall