Skip to Content


This is an archived copy of the 2015-2016 catalog. To access the most recent version of the catalog, please visit

View PDF

Student Records

Iowa State University maintains various records concerning students, to document their academic progress as well as to record their interactions with university staff and officials. In order that their right to privacy be preserved and to conform with federal law, the university has established certain policies to govern the handling of student records. All policies conform with FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (also known as the Buckley Amendment).

Student Addresses

Students have the responsibility to notify the Office of the Registrar each time their information changes. Student information changes can be made in person to the Office of the Registrar, 214 Enrollment Services Center, or via AccessPlus . Complete this form online using Acrobat Reader 6.0 or later, then print (remember to sign it) and submit to the Office of the Registrar, 214 Enrollment Services Center; by FAX (515)294-1088.  ISU employees (graduate assistant or student worker), MUST also report an address change correction directly to the Office of Human Resource Services , 3810 Beardshear Hall.

When Records May Be Withheld

The appropriate university official may request that a student's record not be released if that student is delinquent in an account with the university or an affiliated organization. The effect of this action is that a transcript will not be released and registration will be withheld.

The appropriate official may also request that records be withheld in instances when official disciplinary action has been taken against a student. Authorization for these actions is supported by The Iowa Code and The Iowa Administrative Code.

In order for such an action to be rescinded, the Office of the Registrar must receive written authorization from the official who originally requested the action, indicating that the student has met the obligation. Further information about this policy can be obtained from the Office of the Registrar.

Review and Challenge of Records

A student may challenge the accuracy of handling of records maintained by the university on grounds that the records are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise violate the privacy or other rights of the student. The university has established the following procedures to provide an opportunity for the student to correct or delete inaccurate records, or to insert into the record a written explanation of the content. Students who question their records should discuss the issue first with the individual staff person who established or maintains the records. Presumably most issues can be resolved at this level. If a satisfactory resolution cannot be reached, the student should submit the question to the head of the department in which the record is maintained.

The department head will discuss the issue with the staff person and the student challenging the record. If resolution cannot be reached after meeting with the department head, the student may submit the question to the dean or director to whom the department head is responsible. The dean or director will investigate, and will respond in writing.

If the record has not been reconciled through these measures, the student may direct a written request to the president of the university. The president will convene an Ad Hoc Hearing Panel of Access and Confidentiality of Educational Records, composed of two faculty members, two students, and one administrator, appointed by the president for a period of one year, with the president or a designee serving as nonvoting chairperson. The student shall be given an opportunity to present to the panel evidence relevant to the issues raised, and the panel will issue a written response.

Posting Grades and Test Scores

Instructors who wish to inform students of their performance may post grades and test scores on a secure course web site as long as individual students may only access their own grades. The test scores or course grades of students may not be posted in any public location (World Wide Web or hard copy posting) unless the instructor posts the information using a code for each student that is known only by the instructor and the student.

Release of Grades

Students who choose to release their grades to parents or other trusted third parties may do so using the AccessPlus third party system. Reports of a student's grades are not routinely sent to the student's parents. Parents of students under 18 years of age may obtain grades by writing to the Office of the Registrar. The grades of other students will be sent to their parents only with written permission of the student, or by establishing dependency as outlined in item 9 under Confidential Information.

ISUCard and Identification Number

Each student is assigned a random university identification number on entry to the university. This number appears on the ISUCard that is provided to each student at the time of first registration. The ISUCard, may be required for some services and/or activities. At the time the ISUCard is issued each student also selects a university password, which is required for electronic access to personal student information.

Loss of an ISUCard should be reported immediately to the ISUCard Office, where the lost card will be invalidated and replaced for a charge. Disciplinary sanctions may be imposed for improper use of the ID card or attempts to obtain, by fraudulent means, any form of identification.

Social Security Number

Social security numbers are collected from prospective and current students, for administrative coordination and record identification purposes only. Although procedures have been established by the registrar for assignment of an alternative number upon request, students who wish to be employed on campus, desire to claim federal educational tax benefits, or are applying to receive financial aid, are required by law to provide their social security numbers for administrative use. The social security number is a confidential record and is maintained as such by the university in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

Policy on Student Names

Iowa Regent universities have a common policy regarding student names and name changes. The name on the student record should be the student's complete and legal name. In evaluating and processing all name change requests, the university reserves the right to require adequate and appropriate documentation as warranted.

Information Disclosure

Iowa State University is required by law to make available to enrolled students, prospective students, and their parents certain information about the university. The information disclosure policy is available at . Students without electronic access can obtain the information from the Office of the Registrar, 214 Enrollment Services Center, 515-294-1840 or from the Office of Admissions, 100 Enrollment Services Center, 515-294-5836. A paper copy of the information will be provided upon request.

Public Information

Certain information concerning students is considered to be open to the public upon inquiry. This public information is of two types: directory information and other information not included in the ISU Directory.

ISU directory information includes student name, local address, telephone number, campus e-mail address, college, curriculum, year in school, and enrollment status.

Other public information includes mailing address, date and place of birth, home town, dates of attendance at Iowa State, expected date of graduation, names of advisers, awards and academic honors, Iowa State degree(s) and date(s) awarded, previous educational institutions attended, degrees received, dates of attendance, full- or part-time status, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, and weight and height of members of athletic teams.

Public information will be released by the registrar to anyone upon inquiry, unless students have requested that their information not be released. Students can withhold public information through the Address Change link on Access Plus

For the purposes of FERPA, Iowa State University defines directory information to include both ISU directory information and other public information as defined above.

It is the policy of the university to respect the privacy of students; therefore, only lists containing names of students and their directory information will be made available to members of the public who request address lists. This directory information will be provided for the cost of producing the information as provided by the university's public records policies. Directory information is available using the online phonebook .

Disclosures Permitted by FERPA

Iowa State University retains the discretion to disclose both directory and confidential information as indicated in Section 4 of Iowa State University's Notification of Rights Under FERPA. Specifically, the university may disclose to the public or to specific individuals, directory or confidential information for reasons of safety if the disclosure meets the criteria under Section 4 .

Confidential Information

With the exception of the information noted above, all student records are considered to be confidential and are open only to school officials. A school official is a person employed by the university in 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; 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. Iowa State University's notification of rights under FERPA can be found at .

The following policies govern access to student records:

1. Each type of student record is the responsibility of a designated school official, and only that person or the dean or director to whom that person reports has authority to release the record. The following is a list of the responsible officials:

a. Academic records: registrar
b. Admissions records: director of admissions
c. Financial aid records: director of student financial aid
d. Business records: university controller
e. Traffic and security records: director, ISU Department of Public Safety
f. Medical records: director, Thielen Student Health Center
g. Counseling records and test scores: director, Student Counseling Service
h. Actions of Academic Standards Committees: college deans
i. Disciplinary records: dean of students
j. Residence hall records: director of residence
k. Placement records: college placement officers
l. Evaluations for admission to ISU graduate or professional programs: deans or department chairs
m. Special academic programs: faculty member in charge of the program and the dean of the college

2. The designated official may release records to other school officials who have a legitimate need for the information. A list of those persons who normally have access to each type of student record is available in 214 Enrollment Services Center.

3. All student records are reviewed periodically. Information concerning the frequency of review and expurgation of specific records is available in 214 Enrollment Services Center.

4. Students have the right to review upon request any records that pertain directly to them, and may obtain a copy of the record for a fee. This provision does not apply to records to which the student has waived his or her right to review, nor does it apply to medical and counseling records.

5. A student may waive the right to review a specific record by submitting in writing a statement to this effect to the official responsible for that record.

6. A file containing copies of records pertinent to advising is maintained on each student for use by the student's adviser. This file may be maintained in hard copy or electronic format. Ordinarily this file is kept in the possession of the adviser, but for convenience it may be stored elsewhere such as in the dean's office or department office. When the student changes majors, or changes advisers within the same major, the file is transferred to the new adviser. Under the university's student records policy, the student is considered to have the right of access to this file.

7. Medical and counseling records shall be released at the written request of the student to medical or psychological professionals outside the university or to university officials.

8. University personnel who have access to student records in the course of carrying out their university responsibilities shall not be permitted to release the record to persons outside the university, unless authorized in writing by the student or unless one of the exceptions stated earlier is involved.

9. Confidential information may be released by students to their parents or other trusted third parties through the AccessPlus third party system. Confidential information may also be released by obtaining the student's written consent or by having the parent establish the student's dependency as defined by the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, section 152, by furnishing a certified copy of the parent's most recent federal income tax return.

10.The officials responsible for custody of student records will maintain records of requests and disclosures of personally identifiable nonpublic information. The records of requests, whether granted or not, shall include the person or agency requesting the information and the purpose of the release. These records of requests and disclosures will be available to the student on request. Records of requests and disclosures are not necessary for requests made by the student, by school officials in carrying out their official responsibilities, by persons employed by agencies and offices conducting audits and accreditations of university programs, or any of the other exceptions listed previously.