Confidentiality and Release of Records
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
Q: Are My Disciplinary Records Confidential?
A: That's a good question -- one we hear frequently in Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution Services. In order to help us help you, please take a moment to review the information below. It will give you a better understanding of the federally mandated protection for AU students and in so doing, explain why, when you may want information, we cannot always provide it for you.
Except as noted below, disciplinary records are maintained by
Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution Services for seven
years from the date of the letter providing notice of final disciplinary
action. Release of disciplinary records to third parties is
provided in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and
Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, (FERPA) until a student has
graduated from the university, or as required by law.
Records for a student who is suspended, dismissed, or who
withdraws with a disciplinary case pending are maintained
indefinitely; release of these categories of disciplinary records to
third parties is provided in accordance with FERPA. [See also
the Confidentiality of Student Records policy for additional
Q: What is FERPA?
A: FERPA is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, also known as the "Buckley Amendment." As the U.S. Department of Education notes, "The FERPA is a federal law designed to protect the privacy of a student's education records. The law applies to all schools which receive funds under applicable program from the U.S. Department of Education." Essentially, any institution which receives federal financial aid funds must comply with FERPA.
Q: Do my parents have a right to access my Disciplinary files?
A: "The FERPA gives certain rights to parents regarding their children's education records. These rights transfer to the student or former student who has reached the age of 18 or is attending any school beyond the high school level."
In other words, AU students are subject to the FERPA legislation.
American University complies fully with the FERPA. Information about confidentiality of students records is published in the Student Conduct Code, page 11.
For further information about FERPA, please contact:
Family Policy Compliance Office U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20202-8520