What is FERPA?

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (Buckley Amendment) or FERPA is a federal law that protects the access and disclosure of your educational records maintained by the University. It states that all educational records and information can only be released to the student directly unless the student has given specific, written permission to release that information to a third party. FERPA does, however, allow the University to release information referred to as “directory information” without students’ permission. This type of  information is generally considered not to be harmful if released.

Your Rights?

As a Youngstown State University Student, your educational records are considered confidential and will not be released without your written and signed consent.

Under FERPA you have the right to:

  • access your educational records
  • seek to have records amended
  • consent disclosure of educational records

When is consent not required?

  • Directory information
  • School officials who have a legitimate educational interest with in the context of their role to fulfill their responsibility
  • Officials of educational institutions which the student seeks to enroll
  • Specified federal, state, or local officials for audit purposes
  • Organizations providing a source of financial aid to a student 
  • Organizations conducting studies for or on behalf of the institution 
  • Accreditation organizations
  • Individuals authorized through a judicial order and/or subpoena
  • Parents of a dependent student  (FAFSA/IRS information only) 
  • Parents of dependent students under the age of 21 who violate alcohol or drug policies. 
  • Appropriate individuals in connection with health/safety emergency
  • Additional conditions listed by FERPA

Directory Information

Can be released without your written consent:

  • Student Personal Information
    • Name
    • Address (local, home, and email)
    • Telephone (local and home)
    • Student Academic Records
      • Program of study (including college of enrollment, major, and campus)
      • Enrollment status (full-time, part-time, withdrawn)
      • Dates of Attendance and graduation
      • Degrees, honors and awards received
      • Previous educational agencies or institutions attended
  • Student Athlete Information
    • Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
    • Weight and height of members of intercollegiate athletic teams

Restrict Release of Directory Information

As a currently-enrolled student, you may restrict access to your directory information, or may remove your information from public directories. To request a privacy hold on your record, you must complete a STUDENT PRIVACY HOLD FORM. A confidentiality marker is placed on your record, preventing Youngstown State University from sharing any of your directory information and/or educational records to anyone expect you, the student, in person with a valid photo ID. This means your information is not permitted to be shared with anyone. 

Other examples of potential impacts include the following: no acknowledgement of enrollment, no verification of degrees to requestors, no printing of your name in the commencement program, and no press releases pertaining to graduation and/or honors. To remove a privacy hold on your record, you must come to the Penguin Service Center with a valid photo ID.

These forms must be submitted in person with a photo ID to the Penguin Service Center.  Students have the right to rescind these forms at any time.

Educational Records

Can be released with your written consent:

  • Student Personal Information
  • Student ID number
  • Race, gender, country of citizenship, or religion
  • Student Academic Records
    • Course schedule
    • Academic transcript
    • Grades, GPA, and credit hours
    • Academic standing
    • Academic holds
    • Test scores
  • Student Financial Records
  • Student Account & Billing Records
  • Academic Advising Information
  • Housing Information/Action

Release of Educational Records

In order for specified education records to be released to a third party, you must complete the Authorization and Request for Release of Records and Information or FERPA RELEASE FORM. On this form, you can designate up to two, third-party individuals to whom the University may share information. You select which of the following can be shared: academic records, financial aid records, billing records, academic advising, housing information, and student conduct information.

Certain educational records (grades, class schedule, and student ID number) can never be provided via phone or email phone to you or an authorized person.  You may need to visit the Penguin Service Center to obtain this type of information. 

There is no recognized mechanism for you to grant third-party access to your Penguin Portal. Accordingly, if you share your password information, this cannot be recognized by the University as permission to access educational records.

This form must be submitted in person with a photo ID to the Penguin Service Center.  Students have the right to rescind this form at any time.

Third-Party Bulk Student Record Requests

FERPA generally precludes an institution from disclosing or sharing personally identifiable information from a student record. Exceptions apply, including, for example:

  • If the institution has obtained the prior consent of the student, or
  • In response to requests for directory information provided the student has not withheld release of his/her directory information.

What data may be requested?

  • Student Personal Information
    • Name, address, telephone listing, email address, and photograph
    • Date and place of birth
  • Student Academic Records
    • Class rank, major, and college
    • Enrollment status and attendance dates
    • Expected graduation date and degrees
    • Honors and awards received
    • Most recent institution attended
  • Student Athlete Information
    • Participation in activities and sports
    • Weight and height

How a request for information should be made?

  • Student record requests must be in writing and emailed directly to the University Registrar at jmherman@ysu.edu. Please entitle the email “THIRD-PARTY STUDENT RECORD REQUEST” in all caps.
  • Please include the following in your written request:
    • A statement of your affiliation (such as, news media, government agency, educational or noncommercial scientific institution, or private business).
    • A description of the specific directory information you want and the format/layout you wish to receive it.
    • A date by which you would like to receive the data.  Please note, due to resource availability, a request may take from two to three weeks to fulfill from date of receipt.
    • The requestor’s contact information, name, postal mailing address, telephone number, fax number, and email address.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if my parent, spouse, or family member contacts YSU?
Youngstown State University has a long history and tradition of protecting student privacy and complying with federal law. The University cannot disclose any educational records without specific, written consent from the student. If someone contacts YSU, the school official will first verify if you have completed an Authorization and Request for Release of Records and Information form granting permission to release specific information to the parent, spouse, or family member. If there is not  a release on file, the school official will only discuss directory information. Also, under FERPA, a school official may reserve the right to not release this type of information if they believe it will not be in the best interest of the student.
What if my parent, spouse, or family member pays my YSU bill?
As noted above, YSU cannot release information without written consent from the student, even if that individual is paying the tuition. However, the University may disclose tax information only to the parents/guardian of a dependent student (under 24 years old), without the student’s consent for tax purposes.
Can I request educational records over the phone or email?
The public posting of certain educational records, such as grades, GPA, class schedule, and student ID number are strictly prohibited to any party, including the student, even at the student’s request. This includes email and phone conversation. This information can only be  given in person with a photo ID and proper consent or the student may obtain this information from the portal.
What happens to my records when I graduate or stop attending?
Your educational records are under the same protection as when you were a  current student.  As long as the educational institution maintains your education records, you may retain the right to review or amend their  education records, or consent to the disclosure of information.

For questions about FERPA, please contact the Penguin Service Center at (330) 941-6000.