Student Records

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 through the Address Change link on the Student tab in AccessPlus.

Graduate Assistants and student employees must also report an address change to the office of University Human Resource Services. Information changes can be made through the Personal Information application in Workday.

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In order for such an action to be rescinded, the Office of the Registrar must receive written authorization from the official who originally requested the action, indicating that the student has met the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 website 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 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. 

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. 

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; however, we understand and respect that not all students identify with their legal name. If a student does not have the official legal documentation required in the standard Name Change Policy to support their legal name change, the Office of the Registrar will work with the student to still process the name change. In evaluating and processing all name change requests, the university reserves the right to require adequate and appropriate documentation, as warranted. After a name change, a current student must obtain a new ISUCard; a replacement fee may apply.

Consumer Information

The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA) requires that postsecondary institutions participating in federal student aid programs make certain disclosures to enrolled and prospective students, parents, employees, and the public. The consumer information 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.

Iowa State University Online Directory Information

The ISU Online Directory differentiates between verified and guest users:

Verified Users - those accessing the directory from an on-campus server or via Iowa State University's virtual private network (VPN) or other authenticated means.

Information available for display to verified users include:

  • Name
  • Major
  • Classification
  • ISU Email Address

Guest Users - those who are external, unauthenticated individuals.

Information available for display to guest users include:

  • Name
  • Major
  • Classification

Guest users do not have access to view Iowa State University email address, but they do have the ability to send an email to the student via a webform.

Public Information at Iowa State University

Online directory information and public information may be released to the public upon request, except in cases where the student has suppressed the release of their information. Iowa State reserves the right to review and respond to the requests for release of public information on a case-by-case basis. While FERPA may authorize the release of student information, it does not obligate a school official to do so. See list below for specific types of public data.

Online Directory Information

  • Name
  • Major
  • Classification
  • ISU Email Address (for verified users)

Other Public Information

  • Hometown
  • Dates of Attendance at ISU
  • Expected date of graduation
  • College
  • Awards and academic honors
  • Iowa State degree(s) and date(s) awarded
  • Previous educational institutions attended, degrees received, dates of attendance
  • Full-time or part-time status
  • Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
  • Weight and height of members of athletic teams

Students can withhold public information through the Address Change link on the Student tab in Access Plus.

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: University Registrar
b. Admissions records: Director of Admissions
c. Financial aid records: Director of Student Financial Aid
d. Student financials: Director of Accounts Receivable
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, Office of Student Conduct
j. Residence hall records: Director of Residence
k. Evaluations for admission to ISU graduate or professional programs: College Deans or Department Chairs
l. Special academic programs: Faculty member in charge of the program and the Dean of the college
m. Student employment: Director of University Human Resources

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 from the Office of the Registrar.

3. All student records are reviewed periodically. Information concerning the frequency of review and expurgation of specific records is available from the Office of the Registrar.

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 their right to review (e.g. letters of recommendation), 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 advisor. This file may be maintained in hard copy or electronic format. Ordinarily this file is kept in the possession of the advisor, 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 advisors within the same major, the file is transferred to the new advisor. 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.

For the purposes of FERPA, Iowa State University defines Directory Information to include both Online Directory and Other Public Information as defined above.

It is the policy of the university to respect the privacy of students; therefore, only lists containing Directory Information may be made available to members of the public when deemed appropriate and necessary, and in accordance with all applicable Iowa State policies and procedures. While FERPA allows for the release of such information, it does not obligate the university to do so; Iowa State University reserves the right to review and respond to requests for release of information on a case-by-case basis.

Directory Information will be provided at a cost. A sub-set of Directory Information is available via the Online Directory; please note that the Online Directory differentiates between verified and guest users and displays information accordingly. More information on this can be found in the Public Information section of the University Catalog.

Disclosures Permitted by FERPA

Iowa State University retains the discretion to disclose 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 and Confidential Information for reasons of safety if the disclosure meets the criteria under Section 4.