Student records maintained by Northern State University include directory information and educational records. As custodians of student records in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), NSU assumes the obligation to ensure full protection of student records, including maintaining the confidentiality of educational records. Student records are identified and accessed by student ID number.
FERPA Guidelines for Students and Parents
Directory information may be released publicly and includes the student's name, major field of study, grade level (undergraduate, graduate, etc.), academic honors/achievements, graduation date, diploma or degree, hometown, and dates of attendance. In addition to publishing academic awards and achievements on our website, Northern State University sends releases of academic achievements to local newspapers based on the hometown students list on their admissions application. We cannot guarantee what individual newspapers choose to publish. If students want particular newspapers notified, they should alert them themselves.
A student may request that directory information not be made public by completing the nondisclosure form in the Registrar’s Office asking that directory information be treated the same as educational records. While such a signed form is in effect, Northern State University will not release any directory information without the student's written permission (including publication on honors lists and graduation programs). This request will remain in effect until the student requests its removal in writing, or until such time as the student graduates or otherwise discontinues attendance at the institution.
Northern State University is required to provide recruiting information to all branches of the U.S. military (Amy, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, Reserves and National Guard) as requested, excluding students who have filed non-disclosure forms. Student recruiting information includes name, address, e-mail, telephone, age, level of education, and current major. List may be requested each semester of all students enrolled in 1 or more credits who are 17 or older.
Educational records are those records, files, documents, and other materials retained in the Registrar’s Office, Finance Office or Financial Aid Office, maintained in our student record systems, which contain information directly related to a student's academic progress or financial status. Educational records may not be released without the written consent of the student to any individual, agency, or organization other than the following exceptions:
1. University personnel/school officials who have legitimate educational interests;
2. Agents acting on behalf of the institutions (contracted commencement photographers, NSU Foundation, consultants);
3. Accrediting organizations for accreditation purposes;
4. Authorized representatives of the comptroller general, secretary of education, administrative head of an educational agency, or state education authorities;
5. Officials responsible for acting in conjunction with the student's application for, or receipt of, financial aid;
6. Officials of other institutions in which the student intends to enroll, or is already enrolled so long as the disclosure is for purposes related to the student's enrollment or transfer;
7. Parents of a dependent student, claimed as a dependent on federal income tax forms, upon providing a copy of those forms and proof of identity;
8. Parents when their student (under 21) is found to have violated the alcohol or drug policy of the institution;
9. Appropriate parties if a health or safety emergency exists and the information will assist in resolving the emergency;
10. An alleged victim of a crime of violence when the disclosure is the results of a disciplinary hearing regarding the alleged perpetrator of that crime with respect to that crime;
11. Anyone requesting the final results of a disciplinary hearing against an alleged perpetrator who has been found in violation of the campus code relating to a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offence;
12. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for purpose of complying with Request Form ICE relative to the institution’s participation in SEVIS;
13. Authorized individuals or organizations conducting studies for NSU for the purpose of developing, validating, or administering predictive tests; administering student aid programs; and improving instruction. These studies must be conducted so as to not permit personal identification of students and their parents by persons other than representatives of NSU, and the information is to be destroyed when it is no longer needed for the purpose for which it was collected. Authorization for such activities will come from the registrar.
As of Jan. 3, 2012, the U.S. Department of Education’s FERPA regulations expanded the circumstances under which your education records and personally identifiable information (PII) contained in such records – including your Social Security number, grades, or other private information – may be accessed without your consent.
First, the U.S. comptroller general, U.S. attorney general, U.S. secretary of education or state and local education authorities (“Federal and State Authorities”) may allow access to your records and PII without your consent to any third party designated by a Federal or State Authority to evaluate a federal- or state-supported education program. The evaluation may relate to any program that is “principally engaged in the provision of education,” such as early childhood education and job training, as well as any program that is administered by an education agency or institution.
Second, federal and state authorities may allow access to your education records and PII without your consent to researchers performing certain types of studies, in certain cases even when we object to or do not request such research. Federal and State Authorities must obtain certain use-restriction and data security promises from the entities that they authorize to receive your PII, but the authorities need not maintain direct control over such entities. In addition, in connection with Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems, state authorities may collect, compile, permanently retain, and share without your consent PII from your education records, and they may track your participation in education and other programs by linking such PII to other personal information about you that they obtain from other federal or state data sources, including workforce development, unemployment insurance, child welfare, juvenile justice, military service, and migrant student records systems.
14. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS), for purposes of complying with the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997;
15. Anyone, when the disclosure concerns information provided by sex offenders required to register under state or federal law.
The disclosure of educational records to family members and in response to subpoenas will be carried out as follows:
1. NSU officials are expected to comply with judicial orders and subpoenas. Students affected by such action shall be notified of the Universities intention to comply with court orders, unless the subpoena specifies that the student should not be notified.
2. Spouses or other family members of students may receive student record information when a written consent form is submitted by the student. This consent remains in effect until a written request revoking the permission is submitted to the Registrar’s Office, or until the student graduates or otherwise discontinues attendance.
3. Records of former students, including deceased students, are confidential except that records of deceased former students may be released or disclosed at the request of a parent, personal representative, or other qualified representative of the student's estate(with appropriate documentation including proof of death and relationship to the deceased), or pursuant to a court order to subpoena.
Upon written request, NSU shall provide student access to a student's own educational records with the exception of:
1. Financial aid records of the student's parents or guardian;
2. Confidential letters of recommendation where the student has signed a waiver of right-of-access, or letters of recommendation written prior to January 1, 1975.
NSU personnel must produce records for inspection in a timely manner (within 45 days of the receipt of a written request), with the exception of those previously noted. The following procedures should be followed when students are seeking access to records:
1. Student must provide proper identification;
2. Designated staff should review and interpret the contents of the record with the student;
3. Students should be free to examine the content of the record and receive a copy if requested. No materials should be removed from the record.
When a student has challenged specific data and has requested amendment of the record:
1. The designated department or staff member may agree to amend selected information; or,
2. The student may request an administrative hearing before the Educational Records Appeals Committee.
3. If the hearing results in a record being amended, the student shall be so advised. If the record is not amended, the student will be notified and informed of his/her right to place a statement with the record commenting on the contested information.
Each NSU office which releases student records must maintain with the student file a written form indicating the date of release for records (except when released to entities for which written consent is not required or for which written consent has been received) and the legitimate educational or other interest of the person seeking the information.
Each student has the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Northern State University to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is: Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20202-5901. The FERPA Act may be accessed at U.S. Department of Education Protecting Student Privacy.
Medical and Counseling Services Records
A student's medical record is confidential and any portion of the record is available to the student through the Health Services Office. Medical information will only be released to a third party with the written consent of the student. Medical records are subject to subpoena. In situations where a student's life is in danger or in which his/her condition results in a danger to others, the facts pertaining to this danger may be communicated to the student's nearest responsible relative, without the student's consent, if judged necessary by the vice president for student affairs. Information in a student's Health Service record may be released by the president of Northern State University or the vice president of student affairs in response to a health or safety emergency.
All counseling records are confidential, and any portion of the student's counseling record used in connection with treatment is available to the student for review. Counseling records are released to a third party only with written consent from the student. The counseling staff may discuss pertinent information about the student for the purposes of treatment planning and feedback.
Disciplinary and Hearing Records
Disciplinary and hearing records are confidential in accordance with Board of Regents' policy. These records are available for student inspection, and are maintained in accordance with policies outlined in the section "Educational Records" above. Copies of records created by the Aberdeen Police Department while on duty on the NSU campus may be part of disciplinary files and as such are accessible and maintained in accordance with policies outlined in the section "Educational Records" above.
Official Transcripts of Academic Records
The registrar compiles, maintains, and administers official transcripts of record. Each student's official transcript of record contains the following information:
1. Name and address of student
2. Transcript level, e.g., graduate or undergraduate
3. Degrees awarded
4. Date of graduation from NSU
5. Majors and minors
6. Transfer credits accepted, if any, and
7. Courses taken, hours completed, grades received, grading system, and NSU, transfer and cumulative grade point averages
The Office of the Registrar shall send, issue or release an official transcript only at the student's written request, or in accordance with procedures outlined in the section "Educational Records" above. A transcript shall contain only the information listed above, and shall not be furnished with information omitted or deleted. The registrar shall maintain a register of requests for official transcripts; this register is part of the student record. A student who fails to pay a debt owed to NSU may have his/her official transcript withheld until the debt is paid.
The registrar is responsible for ensuring that Northern State University gives students annual notice of rights under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). This is done via email to active students each semester.
If you wish to give permission to a third party to have access to your grades and/or billing information, you may sign and submit this release form to the Registrar’s Office in DH 103.
Unless identity can be verified (photo identification or knowledge of key data elements) no records will be released over the phone or by email.
Faculty and advisors are not required to share personal records on student progress with third parties, even if the student has signed the attached release. Students are encouraged to engage directly with faculty and advisors and may share this information with third parties as they wish.