FERPA for FAQ





FAQs for Students

Do my parents have access to my records?
Generally, no. Your parents may be granted access to your records if:

  • You give us a form granting them access
  • They provide us with proof that you are their financial dependent


Does my spouse have access to my records?
No. Your spouse is still considered a third party, and UAB requires your written permission to release any non-directory information to a third party. (Non-directory information includes your class schedule and your financial obligations to UAB.)

How can someone else pick up my transcript/class schedule for me?
If you want someone else to collect your transcript/class schedule, you need to send a letter of authorization to the Registrar's Office either by mail (HUC 207, 1530 3rd Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35294) or fax (205-975-6168). Please remember to name the person collecting on your behalf, and to sign the letter, otherwise we will not be able to help. Anyone collecting a transcript or class schedule will be asked to present valid photo ID.

I requested an official transcript, and my request was denied because I have an outstanding balance. Isn't this a breach of FERPA?
No. FERPA requires an institution to allow you to access your records, but does not require official copies to be issued while payment is due. You can access your transcript and print an unofficial copy from BlazerNET at any time.

Will anyone know I have a financial hold?
No. UAB only releases this information to you, or to someone you have authorized to access your student records. We will never tell an employer/insurance company/another school that you have a financial hold.

Why won't you send my ACT scores to my new school?
UAB has a policy of not forwarding third-party data. As we do not own your test scores, we cannot send them to anyone else.

I'm a work-study student. Do I have the same responsibilities under FERPA as regular staff?
Yes. You may only access student educational records if you have a legitimate educational interest to do so.

Back to top

FAQs for Parents

Can I access my child's records?
Unless UAB has received written permission from the student to release this part of the education record to you, or you have proven that the student is your financial dependent, we cannot give you this information.

How can I pay the tuition bill if you won't tell me how much is owed?
If your child will not - or cannot - give you the information directly or sign a parental release then you may submit proof that the student was claimed as your financial dependent on your most recent tax return and complete the accompanying form. UAB may then, at our discretion, release the information to you.

My child signed a parental release. Why won't you give me the information over the phone?
To ensure that we are not releasing information to an unauthorized party, UAB staff require the request to be in writing and will only reply in writing to the address on file. This is to protect both you and your child.

Back to top

FAQs for Faculty and Staff

Am I allowed to let students grade each other's work?
Yes, if the work is an informal quiz where the grade is not recorded.

Is there a restriction on returning assignments?
You may not leave personally identifiable graded papers where access is unlimited. This means, for example, that you cannot leave completed assignments in a box outside your door for each student to pick out his or her own, even if they are in sealed envelopes with the student's name on the outside. You may leave them with a secretary or other staff member who will return each assignment to the individual student upon request.

What may I include in a letter of recommendation?
You may state whether the student is, for example, attentive or punctual. You may not include a student's GPA, grades, class standing, or any reference to progress or deficiencies, without written permission from the student.

What information may I disclose to parents?
Without express written permission from the student, you may only disclose directory information. Always check the student's account to see if there is a privacy hold in place before releasing information - if you see a pop-up box in Banner, or the word "Confidential" above the BannerID in the key block, then even directory information may not be released.

Is the same restriction in place for releasing information to other staff/faculty members?
Yes. All third parties - that is, anyone who is not the student - is treated the same under FERPA. The exception would be School Officials (as designated by UAB). School officials who need access to students' educational records to fulfil their professional responsibility may have higher levels of access than other UAB employees; therefore always be careful when releasing any information as the person asking may not be entitled to know.

I've received an urgent request for restricted information to contact a student - it's an emergency situation. What can I do?
Take down all the details, and pass the information to UAB Campus Police. You may not give out the restricted information. If in doubt, check with the Registrar's Office first (934-8152).

May I release confidential information to officially recognized student groups?
No. Students do not have legitimate educational interest and may not be given any non-directory information unless they have explicit written consent from each student.

Do I have to record each request for information for a student's educational record?
Yes. A record must be kept of each request, unless the request/disclosure was made by:

  • the student
  • a school official with legitimate educational interest
  • a third party with written permission from the student

What do I say if someone asks for information about a student with a privacy hold?
"There is no information available regarding that individual." Nothing more.
You cannot even confirm whether that person is, or has been, a student at UAB.

I'm an advisor and sometimes make notes for myself regarding students. Are the students entitled to see these notes?
If you make the notes during a meeting with a student, then yes - they have been made in conjunction with the student and the student is entitled to see them on request. If you make the notes after the meeting, they are for your own personal use AND no-one else has access to them, then they are considered "sole possession notes" and are separate from educational records.

I have access to student records through a computer system (Banner, OptiDoc, Xtender, etc.). Are there any restrictions?
You should not use your logon privileges to access student records for any reason other than legitimate educational interest. For example, you may need to check a student's transcript to see if he or she meets the pre-requisite to take a certain course. This is acceptable, and a necessary part of your job. Looking up the class schedule of a friend who happens to be registered at UAB is not acceptable and is a breach of FERPA.

Is there anything else?
You should be extremely careful when sending any student information by email or fax. Normal email is not a secure method of transmission, and even sending within UAB still has certain risks. Good practice involves excluding items such as social security/student numbers from emails or faxes whenever possible. It is marginally safer to fax rather than email.


Contact Details

Email any FERPA comments, questions or suggestions to FERPA@uab.edu.
Please do not include any confidential information such as SSN or student number in the email.

Back to Top