FERPA – A Student’s Right to Privacy

UMS Administrative Practice Letter (APL) on FERPA Guidelines

Training Materials for Protecting Student Privacy (U.S. DoE)

Release of Directory Information

The University of Maine has designated certain information contained in the education records of its students as directory information for purposes of FERPA. Such directory information may be publicly shared by the University unless the student has taken formal action to restrict its release.

Directory information includes:

  • Name*
  • Mailing Address
  • University email
  • Program of study
  • Dates of attendance
  • Degrees and awards received (including dates)
  • Most recent previous educational institution attended
  • Participation in sports and activities
  • Class level
  • Enrollment status (full-time or part-time)
  • Appropriate personal athletic statistical data

* If a student provides a preferred/chosen name, that will be considered Directory Information instead of the legal name. The University will use/release the legal name in cases where the use of the legal name is required (e.g. State and Federal reporting, subpoenas, tax documents, etc.)

Students can make a formal request to the Office of Student Records that their directory information not be released at any time while they are an enrolled student at the University. The request will be honored until such time as the student requests otherwise in writing. In the event that such written notification is not filed, the University assumes that the student does not object to the release of the directory information. Once a student is no longer enrolled at the University, they can no longer request that their directory information not be released.

Students have three choices pertaining to the release of directory information:

  • Do not release any directory information
  • Release all directory information
  • Release all directory information except address (including email address)

The default setting is set to “Release all directory information.”  The setting may be changed using the MaineStreet Student Center.  A quick guide is available which describes this process.

Considerations to be made when selecting “Do not release any directory information:”

  • No employee at the institution can acknowledge a student’s existence at the university without written permission for each request stating the exact circumstance and person(s) with whom to share the directory information.
  • Directory information requested by insurance and loan companies will not be provided without written permission.
  • A student’s existence will not be acknowledged for verification of degree or degree earned which may be requested for employment.
  • Students will have their names withheld for distribution to any publication or newspaper which may affect announcements of recognition to local community news outlets.

Student Information Release

The Student Consent To Release Information Form (PDF) form allows students to give access to their educational records to specified individuals. This access is permanent and remains in effect until the student revokes permission in writing.  Once the Registrar’s Office receives the completed form, the information will be documented in MaineStreet.

Guidelines for Faculty and Staff

FERPA Indicator

Students have the option to restrict the release of all of their directory information or just their address.  Instructions for staff on determining the information release restrictions and to whom a student has given permission to release information are available in PDF format:

Tips on Managing Student Records

Do Not

  • Post students’ grades using any part of their social security number or MaineStreet ID.
  • Leave papers, graded exams books, or lab reports containing student names and grades in publicly accessible places.  Students are not to have access to the scores and grades of others in their class.
  • Request information from the education record custodian without a legitimate educational interest and the appropriate authority to do so.
  • Share education record information, including grades or grade point averages, with other faculty or staff members of the University unless their official responsibilities identify their “legitimate educational interest” in that information for that student.
  • Release GPA information for any reason i.e. Academic Reference.  This information is not Directory Information and cannot be released to anyone without a signed Letter of Recommendation Release form.


  • Check for a FERPA Indicator and for the Student Information Release in MaineStreet before discussing a student’s record or releasing any information about the student.
  • Keep only those individual student records necessary for the fulfillment of your teaching and advising responsibilities.
  • Keep any personal professional records relating to individual students separate from their educational records.  Private records of instructional, supervisory, and administrative personnel and ancillary educational personnel are to be kept in the sole possession of the maker and are not to be accessible or revealed to any other person, except a substitute.
  • Change factual information regarding grades and performance in an education record when the student is able to provide valid documentation that information is inaccurate or misleading.  The substantive judgment of a faculty member about a student’s work, expressed in grades and/or evaluations, is not within the purview of students’ right to challenge their education records.
  • Contact the Office of Student Records for guidance and when in doubt, err on the side of caution.

Questions about FERPA can be addressed to the Office of the Registrar, 207.255.1223.

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