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Shenandoah is committed to protecting the privacy of every student’s education records. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) is the central piece of legislation that provides guidelines for protecting the privacy of a student’s education records.

FERPA is a federal law, also known as the Buckley Amendment. FERPA applies to all educational agencies or institutions that receive funds under any program administered by the Secretary of Education, including Shenandoah University.

Education records, as defined by FERPA, include, but are not limited to:

  • GPAs, transcripts, and final course grades
  • admissions materials
  • financial aid records
  • disciplinary records
  • attendance records
  • academic counseling records

Student Rights Under FERPA

Under FERPA, students have the following rights:

  • The right to inspect and review their own education records within 45 days of the day the university receives a request for access.
  • The right to request amendment of any education records the student believes are inaccurate or misleading.
  • The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student's educational records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception which permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to SU officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official has a legitimate interest if the official needs to review an educational record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility.
  • The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by SU to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is:

Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202-5920

Parental Rights Under FERPA

FERPA rights regarding a student’s educational records belong to the parent unless the student is 18 or older or attending any school beyond the secondary level. SU may release student information to parents if:

  • The student is claimed as a dependent for federal income tax purposes. If the student is not claimed as a dependent for federal tax purposes by either parent, parents may have access only if the student is willing to release information. The student must complete the FERPA (Consent to Release Education Records) form and submit it to the Registrar’s Office to be kept as part of their permanent file before parents may be provided any details.
  • There is a health or safety emergency.
  • The student is under 21 and has violated an SU rule related to alcohol or controlled substances.

Restrictions or permissions related to the sharing of educational records extend to Shenandoah alumni, as well, so any requests you make will remain in effect until you request a change in writing.

The information above is only a brief summary of the detailed federal law. For more information, please visit 

Directory Information

Under FERPA, Shenandoah may release directory information about students without notifying the student. Shenandoah defines directory information as:

  • student name, address and telephone number of record
  • date and place of birth
  • participation in officially recognized activities and sports; weight and height of members of athletic teams
  • major field of study, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received
  • most recent previous school attended
  • photograph

The university may disclose any of those items without prior written consent, unless notified in writing to the contrary.  You may opt out of sharing directory information by completing the Request to Withhold Directory Information form in the Registrar’s Office. However, we urge you to think carefully about such a request. If you make this request, we will not be able to publish news releases about student achievements, include you in articles about sports achievements, or print your information in the commencement brochure, for example.  The university's withholding of directory information may have unexpected or undesirable ramifications. Please contact the Registrar’s Office for more information.

Please understand that restrictions on directory information and the sharing of educational records extend to Shenandoah alumni, as well, so any requests you make will remain in effect until you request a change in writing. If you do not remove the restriction when you graduate, we will not be able to confirm any association with Shenandoah to future employers or graduate schools, for example.