Skip to content

Procedures

A Directory Exclusion Request form (also called a “non-disclosure” or “privacy” form) is available for download. When a directory exclusion request is filed, University Registrar personnel will flag the student’s record in the student information system to prevent the student’s directory information from being included in the creation of any directory based on data in the Student Information System, whether the directory is to be created by The University of Tennessee, Knoxville or an allowed outside entity. The University must continue to honor a Directory Exclusion Request after an individual no longer attends the University if the Directory Exclusion Request was made while the individual was in attendance at the University and the request has not been rescinded.

The Directory Exclusion does not prevent the student from being confirmed as a student at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. It only keeps the student’s directory information from being included in the online directory.

A student’s social security number may not be used either alone or in combination with other data to identify a student when disclosing or confirming directory information, unless the student has provided written consent. Instead, other directory information should be used to identify students. When a person submits a student’s social security number along with a request for directory information, the person should be informed that the University has not used the social security number to locate the student’s records and that the University’s response does not confirm the accuracy of the social security number supplied with the request for directory information.

Students who wish more stringent measures of privacy (such as a request that no information be released about the student) may meet with personnel in the Office of the University Registrar to discuss their needs. Students who have requested directory exclusion or more stringent privacy measures will still have their identities appear on class rolls, printed and otherwise. Additionally, if the student has filed a consent to release form for any type of record, the release will override the privacy request for the type of information indicated and for the party named in the release.

When a student believes his or her education record contains information that is inaccurate, misleading or in violation of the student’s rights of privacy, the student shall be entitled to challenge the content of his or her records if he or she believes there is an error in the content of the record. This ability to challenge the content is not meant to supplant any of the other appeals processes already in place at the University including grade appeals or academic dismissal appeals. Disputes concerning the content of a student’s education record may be settled informally between the University and the student. Should resolution through informal means not be possible, either the University or the student shall have the right to request a hearing in order to resolve the dispute.

A student shall be provided, upon request, with a copy of any part or all of his or her records but may be charged an amount not to exceed the University’s cost of producing the copy as a condition to receiving it. The charge for material copied will be ten cents per page. Other materials will be charged according to the actual cost involved in reproduction. There is no charge for copies of the student’s academic record.

However, either the University or the student shall have the right to request a hearing in order to resolve the dispute. A student can request an amendment to their records when the record in question is believed to contain information that is inaccurate, misleading or in violation of the student’s rights of privacy. This process does not supplant other appeal processes in place at the University including but not limited to grade appeals or academic dismissal appeals. When a formal hearing is requested by a student, it shall be granted through adherence to the following procedures.

  1. A challenge by a student of his/her records shall be submitted in writing by the student to the University official immediately in charge of the office or department wherein the particular records challenged are maintained.
  2. The written challenge shall specify as briefly and precisely as possible the nature of the claimed inaccuracy or other defect in the records and the date of submission.
  3. The challenge shall be signed by the student.
  4. The University official in charge of the office or department to which the challenge is submitted shall mark the date of submission on the front page of the challenge.
  5. The University official in charge of the office or department shall notify the Provost or the Vice Chancellor of Student Life, as appropriate, of the challenge.
  6. Within 10 days after receipt of the challenge, the official shall notify the student and the Provost or the Vice Chancellor for Student Life in writing:
    • When the hearing will be conducted. The hearing must be conducted within thirty days of the date on which notification is given or mailed to the student.
    • Where the hearing will be conducted.
    • Who will conduct the hearing. The official in charge of the office or department or his/her designee may act as hearing examiner. The hearing examiner shall not have an interest in the outcome of the hearing.
  7. The student shall be provided with a reasonable period of time for the hearing and shall be permitted to offer evidence in support of his/her challenge of  any records, testimony or witness, or other evidence which the student reasonably believes to support his/her challenge. The student has the right to be assisted or represented by any individual of his/her choice, including an attorney. Material which is redundant or immaterial need not be accepted or considered as evidence. The hearing examiner may require that voluminous material be summarized if he/she deems such action appropriate.
  8. The hearing examiner may request the presence at the hearing of witnesses in addition to those called by the student. In reaching a decision, the hearing examiner shall consider the testimony of witnesses and all other evidence presented at the hearing. The student shall be made aware of and have an opportunity to rebut any evidence considered by the hearing examiner which would serve to disprove the student’s challenge.
  9. Within 30 days of the conclusion of the hearing, the hearing examiner shall notify the student and the Office of the Provost in writing of the decision reached.
  10. A record of the hearing shall be maintained in the office or department concerned which notes all particulars of the challenge including date received, date of hearing, name of hearing examiner, names of witnesses, decision reached, and date on which notification of decision was sent. The record shall include a copy of the challenge, the decision, and any written or other tangible evidence submitted.
  11. Decisions of examiners shall be subject to review by the Student Life Council.
  12. If the result of the hearing is to deny the student’s request for amendment of the records, the student is permitted to insert a written statement commenting on information in the records he/she believes to be incorrect and setting forth his/her reasons for such belief. The appropriate University of Tennessee official may also insert an accompanying statement giving reasons for maintaining the written material as is recorded. Both statements will accompany the education record whenever it is released to any third party and will be maintained as long as the education record is maintained by the University.

NOTIFICATION OF STUDENTS – The University of Tennessee, Knoxville will notify students of their FERPA rights and responsibilities on an annual basis using a range of appropriate communication means, including but not limited to:

  • email notification;
  • posting on the University’s FERPA web site;
  • in the official student handbook, Hilltopics; and
  • during new student orientation sessions.

NOTIFICATION OF FACULTY AND TEACHING ASSISTANTS – Faculty and teaching assistants will be notified of their responsibilities with regard to FERPA on an annual basis. Notification will be via new faculty and teaching assistant orientation and via email. Faculty and teaching assistants may also be required to complete additional training regarding proper maintenance of student records or to access electronic student records.

NOTIFICATION OF STAFF – Exempt and non-exempt staff will be notified of their responsibilities on an annual basis via email notification. Staff members that regularly work with student records will be required to complete additional training in order to access electronic student records.

Inquiries into a student’s record or directory information shall be directed to The University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Office of Communications and Marketing or the Public Relations Office in the Athletic Department.

Legitimate educational interest is the guiding principle for access to education records. In general, faculty and staff should have the minimum access to education records necessary to do their job in as efficient a manner as possible. University employees who have access to all education records include the President, Chancellor, Provost, Vice Chancellor for Student Life, and their designees.

University employees who have access to all academic records include Academic Deans, Dean of Students, Directors of Advising Centers, Director of the Student Success Center, University Registrar, and their designees. Department Heads will have access to academic records for students’ majoring within their respective departments.

University employees who have access to all disciplinary records include the Dean of Students, Director of Student Judicial Affairs, and their designees.

University employees who have access to all financial records include the University Bursar and the Director of Financial Aid and Scholarships and their designees.

Information technology staff responsible for the maintenance and development of systems containing education records will also have access to all education records for these purposes.

FACULTY – Most faculty members will generally only need access to the class roster and grade records for courses they are currently teaching. Faculty members with advising duties will also have access to advising records for their advisees. Departmental chairs, college deans and others with administrative duties will regularly only have access to education records in their department, college, or area of administrative responsibility.

STUDENT LIFE STAFF – Staff members in the Division of Student Life will generally only have access to student records pertaining to their functional area (for example, career information, disciplinary records, and disability accommodations).

ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT STAFF – Appropriate staff members in the Athletic Department will generally have access to the appropriate student records for student-athletes that have filed consent to release forms (waivers), generally including educational records relating to academic eligibility, medical status, and financial records.

ACCESS TO RECORDS FOR OTHER STAFF OR FACULTY – Other staff or faculty requesting information from education records other than directory information must obtain approval from one of the following: Chancellor; Provost; Vice Chancellor for Student Life; Director of the Student Success Center; Dean of Enrollment Management; Director of Financial Aid and Scholarships; University Registrar; University Bursar; or their designees.

ACCESS TO ELECTRONIC STUDENT RECORDS – Access to student records in electronic format will be controlled by the office responsible for the records. According to IT Security Policy IT0115, education records defined as “Directory Information” is classified as Public (level 1), and should be handled as such. Protected records include not just the the original sources, but also the display of records on monitors and view screens and screens should be protected to prevent records being viewed by unauthorized individuals. All other education records are defined as Proprietary (level 2), and should be handled in accordance with the data security procedures outlined by the Information Security Office.

DISTRIBUTION OF PRINTED OR ELECTRONIC FILES TO FACULTY OR STAFF – In order to receive copies of education records (in printed or electronic format), faculty or staff members must be recognized to the satisfaction of personnel in the appropriate office or provide official University identification. Employees approved to receive education records may designate via written instruction on official University letterhead another person, such as staff in that respective office, as approved to physically obtain copies of the requested education records. When records are transmitted electronically or in digital format, secure transmission methods should be used per the requirements of the Information Security Office.

At times, it will be necessary to disclose FERPA-protected information to students or third-parties via phone or email.

GENERAL STATEMENT ON EMAIL – Email is an official means of University communication.  FERPA does not prohibit the use of email for transmitting FERPA-protected information to a student or authorized third-party.  However, like information disclosed over the telephone or via U.S. mail, information disclosed via email can be inadvertently be disclosed to someone other than the intended recipient.

Faculty and staff should use email with the amount of caution appropriate to (1) the level of sensitivity of the information being disclosed, (2) the likelihood of inadvertent disclosure to someone other than the intended recipient, and (3) the consequences of inadvertent disclosure to someone other than intended recipient.
As a general rule, email should contain the least amount of FERPA-protected information as possible. The subject line of an email should not include FERPA-protected information. The body of an email should not contain highly sensitive FERPA-protected information, such as a student’s social security number.

AUTHENTICATION – Before disclosing FERPA protected information to a student or third party via phone or email, faculty and staff must authenticate that the person with whom they are communicating is, in fact, the student or third party.

DISCLOSING FERPA-PROTECTED INFORMATION TO THIRD PARTIES – A student’s FERPA-protected information may be disclosed to a third-party whose identity has been authenticated when there is either:

  • a valid, written FERPA consent to release on file for the student listing the third-party as an authorized recipient of the information, and the third-party correctly provides the secret word listed on the consent to release; or
  • a FERPA exception that would allow the University to disclose the information to the third-party without the written consent of the student (e.g., a third-party contractor who qualifies as a school official with a legitimate educational interest in the information).

Authenticating a Student’s Identity – When a student calls to request FERPA-protected information about their own record, at a minimum, two pieces of information should be used to authenticate the identity of the student, in addition to the student’s name. This information can include: Student ID number, Date of Birth, Parent’s name, Home Address, Current or Previous class schedule, or other information that is not widely available but the University can reasonably expect the student to know.

When a student uses email to request FERPA-protected information about their own record, one way to authenticate the student’s identity is to verify that the student’s request was sent from the student’s official University email account.  If a student does not have an official University email account, University faculty and staff should use another method of authenticating the student’s identity (e.g., require the student to answer authenticating questions by telephone).

How to Send FERPA-Protected Information to a Student by Email – Faculty and staff should use their official University email account to transmit FERPA-protected information to a student.
Faculty and staff should send the email to a student’s official University email address, if one exists. When replying to a student’s email request for information, University faculty and staff should create a new email message to the student (i.e., do not use the “reply” function). If there is doubt about the student’s email address, faculty and staff should use the University’s online directory to search for the student’s official University email address.

The release of FERPA protected information to third-parties, including parents, requires adherence to one of the following:

  • An exception in the FERPA law or UTK FERPA policy or
  • A fully-executed consent to release form filed by the student with the following information:
    •  Name of student,
    • Type of record to be disclosed,
    • Person to whom the information can be disclosed,
    • the relationship between the person and the student,
    • a ‘secret word’ for authentication, and
    • the student’s signature and date.

All releases to third-parties are in effect for one (1) year from the date filed except for releases related to financial records. The University of Tennessee, Knoxville has set the expiration date on consent to release forms for financial information to ten (10) years. The student can, at any time, provide written revocation of a consent to release form thereby canceling the release and restricting access to the student’s information.

ACADEMIC RELEASE – In general, release of academic information shall be handled in the Office of the Provost, the Student Success Center, the Office of the University Registrar, the college advising office or the academic department office. An academic consent to release shall expire within one (1) year of its execution or by an expiration date listed in the consent instructions. Students can grant access to parents or guardians using the FERPA Academic Record Release online by going to MyUTK and choosing FERPA Academic Release Form located in the Academic Links box on the main page. Completing the form will provide access to the student’s academic records for a period of one (1) year or until revoked by the student. The form requires the name of the person(s) to whom consent is given and a “secret word” to verify that person’s identity.

FINANCIAL RELEASE – In general, release of financial information shall be handled by the Office of the Bursar or the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships. Consent to release for financial information is in force for the life of the record or until the student files a written revocation of the release with the Office of the Bursar. A student may release financial information through the MyUTK portal: https://myutk.utk.edu/. Students will choose “View/Pay Fees” and then the tab labeled “Authorize Users” under Account Activity to give consent. In addition to allowing the University to disclose financial information to the authorized user, this financial release grants the authorized user access to view the student’s account information with their own individual login id and password, receive e-statements, enroll in a deferred payment plan, view 1098-T records and make payments on the student’s behalf. A student can decide which information can be viewed by a third party by responding yes or no to the three levels of access; however, this is only for purposes of logging into the system. Adding an authorized user is the student’s written consent to give others the ability to access his/her financial account information across the University.

DISCIPLINARY RELEASE – In general, release of student conduct or disciplinary records will be handled in the Office of the Dean of Students or the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Life. A disciplinary consent to release shall expire within one (1) year of its execution or by an expiration date listed in the consent instructions. Consent forms are available for the student to complete and sign. The original form should be maintained (1) in the office where it was filed, (2) entered into the Banner electronic tracking system; or (3) if the form is used for a single-day release, it should not be entered into Banner, but the consent form should be kept in the student’s file for the life of the record.

ATHLETIC RELEASE – In general, release of information regarding student-athletes shall be coordinated by the Athletic Department. Any particular consent to release should expire in one (1) year of its execution or by an expiration date listed in the consent instructions.

STUDENT INFORMATION RELEASE FOR SPONSORED PROJECTS – Departments are to ensure The University’s FERPA policy is followed to protect the privacy of our students. The process will require department payroll administrators or those who process payroll to request all students complete a “Student Information Release Form for Sponsored Projects”. Departments will maintain a copy of the form for the student as long as the individual is a student. If the student was used on an awarded project, the department will retain the document for three years after the final audit of the sponsored project.

OTHER RELEASE – Other records maintained by the University may, from time to time, require release with the consent of the student. In general, release of these records shall be coordinated with the University office responsible for maintaining the records in conjunction with the Office of the Chancellor, the Office of the Provost, or the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Life or their designee as appropriate. All consent to release forms shall expire within one (1) year of its execution or by an expiration date listed in the consent instructions.

FERPA Consent Release Forms should be maintained in the following manner

  • Consent to Release Financial Information Procedure: 
    A student may release financial information through the MyUTK portal: https://myutk.utk.edu/. Students will choose “View/Pay Fees” and then the tab labeled “Authorize Users” to give consent to an individual to view the student’s account information and make payments on the student’s behalf. Adding an authorized user is the student’s written consent to give others the ability to access his/her account information.
  • Academic, Disciplinary, and Other Consent Forms should be entered into the electronic tracking system and the original form should be 1) maintained in the office where it was filed; 2) scanned into the electronic document management system; or 3) if the form is used for a single-day release it should NOT be entered into the electronic tracking system, but the consent form should be kept in the student’s file for the life of the record.

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville shall provide training to faculty, staff, and students in a variety of manners. General training about FERPA requirements will be provided by the Office of Human Resources workshops, via an online education program, and new employee orientation. When undergraduate students have access to FERPA protected information because of official duties assigned by the University, special care should be taken to train and protect these students.

Additional training will be provided by the employee’s Division, College, or Departments that pertains to the employee’s duties and expectations regarding FERPA and appropriate access to education records.

The list of offices below is a summary of the custodian and location of education records at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. It is not meant to be an exhaustive list, but is intended to highlight which office is responsible for the maintenance of the major types of student records.

Academic Permanent Record – Office of the University Registrar
Admissions (Law School) – Office of Law School Admissions
Admissions (Graduate) – Office of Graduate Admissions
Admissions (Undergraduate) – Office of Undergraduate Admissions
Advising Records – College Advising office
Counseling Information Record (Non-FERPA) – Counseling Center
Financial – Office of the Bursar
Financial Aid and Scholarship – Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships
Immigration Records – Center for International Education
Placement Record – Career Services
Readmissions – Office of Undergraduate Admissions
Residency – Office of the University Registrar
Student Disciplinary Records – Office of the Dean of Students, Student Conduct and Community Standards
Student Health Records (Non-FERPA) – Student Health Services
Student Housing Records – Office of University Housing
Student Organization Records – Office of the Dean of Students
Student Athletics (Men’s and Women’s) – Athletic Department

FERPA 1001 REVSION #: 1.2 – Revised: 30 April 2009

Web page revised 5-10-13

The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System and partner in the Tennessee Transfer Pathway.

Report an accessibility barrier