Release of Confidential Information

Montana State University Privacy of Student Records

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, a federal law that protects the confidentiality of a student's education record, and Montana state statutes, specify that the university may not release information from a student's record to anyone outside of the university without the express written consent of the student. This means that MSU generally must withhold such information from parents and others who believe their relationship with the student entitles them to have the information. As a result, we sometimes encounter frustrated parents, guardians, or spouses who question why they cannot have information about a student's grades, financial obligations, or standing with the University.

Education records covered by federal and state privacy laws include grades, housing information, financial status, results of disciplinary proceedings, class schedules and courses, etc. Health information maintained by the university, including medical and psychological records, is also protected under separate Montana statutes governing the release of health information.

Please understand that because of these laws, MSU CANNOT release this information without the express written consent of the student.

Federal law allows release of certain information referred to as directory information. This includes the student's full name, local address and phone number, dates of attendance and degrees honors, and certificates received, class level (e.g. freshman), and academic major(s). The student has the right to request the university not to release directory information by notifying the Registrar's Office in writing of this request. The University may also release information without the student's consent in connection with an emergency if necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals.