Office of the Registrar

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Third-Party Access

What About a Health or Safety Emergency?

The U.S. Department of Education made a conscious decision in 1988 to allow colleges to determine whether there is, in fact, a health or safety emergency that justifies disclosing non-directory information without the student's written consent. USD considers the following criteria in determining whether an emergency situation exists:

  • Is the emergency a serious threat to the health or safety of the student or other individual(s)?
  • Is the information to be disclosed necessary to meet the emergency?
  • Are the parties to whom the information is to be disclosed in a position to deal with the emergency?
  • Is time of the essence in dealing with the emergency?

Contact USD Public Safety for assistance in evaluating potential emergency situations.

Student's Authorization for Third-Party Access to His/Her Records

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) prohibits an educational institution from releasing confidential, non-directory information about a student without the student's consent. Under FERPA, a school is permitted to provide access to third parties authorized by a student, but the school is not required to do so. The school is required only to provide students access to their own education records.

A student can authorize faculty and staff to use their education records to write letters of recommendation or serve as professional references by completing the Authorization for Recommendations and References [PDF] form. The student should give a copy of the form to each person asked to serve in this capacity. The authorization remains in effect until cancelled by the student.

A student can also authorize access for parents, guardians, or other family members by completing the Authorization to Release Records to a Third Party [PDF] form and submitting it to the appropriate registrar's office. The authorization remains in effect until the student re-submits the form and cancels the authorization.