Privacy and Confidentiality of Student Records & FERPA

Rush University takes seriously its commitment to protect the privacy of our students and their education records. In addition to upholding the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), Rush University has taken further steps to protect a person's privacy by extending similar benefits afforded to enrolled students under FERPA to individuals who are applying for admission. In addition, Rush has extended the period of time under which deceased students' education records can be released. If a specific privacy/confidentiality question is not answered in this document, please contact the Office of the Registrar.

Family Educational and Rights Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA)
FERPA is a federal law designed to protect the privacy of students' education records. Education records include any information or documentation that is recorded in any way, including records produced by handwriting, computer, e-mail, audio, and video, among others. Educational records contain information directly related to a student, and are maintained by Rush University or any party acting on its behalf.

FERPA protects the privacy of students' education records by setting forth strict instructions and limitations governing the release of information about students. Although FERPA contains exceptions for the release of “directory information” without a student's prior written consent, students have the right to request that even such directory information be withheld from disclosure to third parties.

Given the restrictions of FERPA, faculty and staff should assume that all students must provide written consent that follows the format specified in FERPA before any education records may be released to anyone other than the student. Information cannot be released to any third party, including the students' parents, relatives, and friends. Particularly sensitive information includes students' social security numbers, race or ethnicity, gender, nationality, academic performance, disciplinary records, and grades.

Privacy During the Admissions Process
Rush University has chosen to take additional steps to protect a person's privacy by extending to individuals who are applying for admission similar benefits afforded to enrolled students. This privacy protection covers all applicants and their application materials throughout the admissions process. The application process exists between the applicant and a Rush University admissions office; therefore, any communication about candidates and their application status to parties beyond these entities is not acceptable unless a school official has a legitimate educational interest to know this information in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities. All those involved in the admissions process (e.g. admissions committee members, interviewers, admissions staff, etc.) must adhere to these guidelines.

Directory Information
Certain information classified by Rush University as “directory information” may be disclosed to the public without obtaining the student's permission. The items classified as directory information include:

  • student's full name
  • local and permanent addresses
  • local and permanent phone numbers
  • pager number (only relevant for third and fourth year medical students)
  • Rush e-mail address
  • date and place of birth
  • photograph or other electronic images*
  • major and minor field(s) of study including the college, division, department or program in which the student is enrolled and the student's classification (e.g. junior, senior, etc.) or by number referring to such
  • Rush Medical College postgraduate appointment (program/institution/state)
  • dates of attendance and graduation, and degrees received
  • honors and awards received
  • previous colleges/universities attended
  • degrees earned at previous colleges/universities

* Rush University records both visually and audibly many campus events and daily activities such as classes, commencement, convocations, student events, and other public occasions. These images, as well as other information about students, are published (e.g. print media; Rush Web site) regularly as part of the University's coverage of campus life and portrayal of the University to a variety of audiences. The University's policy is to restrict the use of any photograph/electronic image to the representation, marketing, or promotion of Rush activities only.

Students may restrict the release of any item of information considered directory information by completing and submitting the Directory Information Restrictions form available in the Office of the Registrar (or online at: http://www.rushu.rush.edu/registrar/forms.html). The decision to restrict directory information will apply to all requests for directory information from within and outside the University community, including prospective employers. These restrictions will remain in effect until the Office of the Registrar is informed in writing to remove the restrictions.

Annual Notification of Student Rights under FERPA
FERPA affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. These rights include:

  1. The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days of the day the University receives a request for access.

    Students should submit to the registrar, dean, head of the academic department, or other appropriate official, written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The University official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the University official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.

  2. The right to request the amendment of the student's education records that the student believes is inaccurate.

    Students may ask the University to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate. They should write the University official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate. If the University decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the University will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his or her right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.

  3. The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.

    One exception, which permits disclosure without consent, is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the University has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility.

  4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Rush 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

Commencement/Graduation Activities
The Intent to Graduate form signals that a student is ready to graduate. By signing the Intent to Graduate form, the student is giving permission to the University to print the following information in any Rush graduation program and/or announce this information at any Rush graduation ceremony: the student's name as indicated on the Intent to Graduate form, any honors or awards received, the Rush degree and major the student is earning, previous colleges/universities attended, and degrees earned at those previous colleges/universities.

If a Directory Information Restrictions form was previously submitted, the student's signature on the Intent to Graduate form temporarily releases (for graduation ceremony/program purposes only) the directory information restrictions enacted by the student so that the information can be published in any Rush graduation program and/or announced at any Rush graduation ceremony. In addition, the student's signature permits Rush University to release the student's name and address to the external photography vendor with whom Rush contracts, and to have the vendor place graduation photographs of the student on its Web site. The student's signature also allows the University to publish the student's picture in a picture composite and the student's image in a DVD that is created and distributed of the Commencement ceremony. The recording of the graduation ceremony could also appear on the Rush University web site and/or social media sites including but not limited to YouTube and Facebook. Finally, if the student is a medical student, the student's signature permits publication of the student's name, photograph, previous degrees earned, and other information in the Rush Medical College yearbook.

If there are questions about how the information will used for graduation or commencement purposes, please speak with the Office of the Registrar before signing and submitting the Intent to Graduate form.

Education Records
Rush University does not maintain education records in one central office. Education records are maintained in the Office of the Registrar and in the respective college and department offices. Other education records are maintained in the Office of Student Financial Aid (financial aid information, student employment), Office of Student Financial Affairs (financial account payment information), Office of International Services, and other offices. Questions regarding individual student records should be directed to the appropriate location.

Students should obtain copies of transcripts from previously attended colleges/universities from the institution that holds the original records. Other portions of a student's record will be copied upon request. The request must be in writing and signed, must specifically identify the record desired and include the student's major, year, date of birth, and social security number. There is no charge for a copy of the student's Rush transcript. Other reproductions cost 75 cents per page. The University honors requests providing there is no outstanding obligation to Rush University/Rush University Medical Center. Students within commuting distance may be asked to review the desired information in person. Requests for information are kept with the records.

Deceased Student Records
Rush University does not permit the release of education record information of a deceased student until 25 years after his/her death unless required by law and/or authorized by the executor/administrator/executrix/administratrix of the deceased student's estate or parents, or next of kin, if an executor/administrator/executrix/administratrix has not been appointed. Inquiries to this policy should be made to the Office of the Registrar.

Mailing Lists
Rush University does not release the names, addresses, phone numbers or e-mail addresses of its current or former students as mailing lists unless required to by law (i.e. the Solomon Amendment).

Resources for Faculty and Staff

a) Letter of Recommendation Release

Additional Questions
The Office of the Registrar is the compliance office for FERPA for Rush University. If there are additional questions, please contact the Office of the Registrar at:

600 South Paulina, Suite 440
Chicago, Illinois 60612
(312) 942-5681
registrars_office@rush.edu