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University Counseling Center

Information About Confidentiality

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

  • Employee with legitimate need to know
  • Government officials for audit purposed
  • Accrediting organizations
  • Disclosure to lending institutions and government officials – financial aid
  • Compliance with judicial orders and subpoenas *
  • Health and safety emergency
  • Victims of crimes of violence
  • Directory information (limited)
  • Disclosure to parents or guardians who can prove the student is their dependent

Remley and Herlihy’s text, Ethical, legal and professional issues in counseling (p. 132-133)

The author’s say:

“…treatment records maintained by (mental health professional) separate from general educational records are exempt from FERPA….clinical case notes kept by counselors in educational institutions do not have to be shown to students, parents, or guardians under FERPA requirements.”

There are exceptions-“health and safety” (emergencies.) It would seem calling home after a suicide attempt would qualify as an emergency.

Definition of Health and Safety (99.36):

Including in the education records of a student appropriate information concerning disciplinary action taken against the student for conduct that posed a significant risk to the safety or well-being of that student, other students, or other members of the school community;


An administrator can call home if there is a verbal threat of suicide, eating concern, assault, alcohol intoxication, or potential violence on the part of a student.

Protected Health Information (PHI)

Standards for when an “Individual” authorization is required for disclosure of his/her treatment records.

  • Individually Identifiable Health Information
  • That is transmitted by electronic media or transmitted or maintained in any other form or medium
  • Health care provider that transmits any health information in electronic form have to be shown to students under HIPAA if the students requests to see them
  • Any information, whether oral or recorded in any form, that is created or received that relates to an Individual’s past, present, or future, physical or mental health

* The college is required to keep a record of the disclosure to include date, names and reasons for exceptions. The third party must also be notified that they may not further disclose the record without the student’s consent.

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