The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) enacted in 1974 provides three categories of information that fall within its statutory boundaries. 

Directory Information

FERPA defines Directory Information as information contained in the educational record that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of student privacy if disclosed. A university is able to release Directory Information regarding a student without prior student consent. Students may request that Directory Information not be disclosed by contacting the Assistant Registrar in the Emerson Administration Building, Room 10, or at

The following is considered Directory Information:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Telephone
  • E-mail Address
  • Major
  • Dates of Attendance
  • Enrollment Status
  • Degree/Awards Received
  • Photographs
  • Recent School Attended
  • Height/Weight of Athletes
  • School Activity Participation 

Personally Identifiable Information (PII)

Personally identifiable Information is protected under FERPA and may only be disclosed with written consent of the student.  FERPA permits school officials to disclose, without consent, personally identifiable information from education records to appropriate parties in connection with an emergency, if knowledge of that information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals.  

The following is considered Personally Identifiable Information:

  • Student ID Number
  • Social Security Number*
  • Date/Place of Birth
  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Nationality
  • Gender

*Northwest Nazarene University requests the voluntary submission of student Social Security Numbers to assist in validating students, administering student financial aid programs, collecting student debts, and reporting under the Tax Relief Act of 1997.

Educational Information or Record

FERPA defines "educational information" as "records, files, documents, and other materials" that are maintained by an education agency or institution or by a person acting for such agency or institution. This information must never be disclosed without the written consent of the student.  

The following is considered part of the student's Educational Record:

  • Students’ grades
  • Grade Point Average (GPA)
  • Social Security Number
  • Academic Evaluations
  • Disciplinary Records