Information contained in a student's file in AccessibleNU is considered part of their educational record and is protected under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Information may be released from the file in only three circumstances:

  1. Court order

  2. With the student's written permission

  3. Internally within Northwestern University based on a legitimate educational reason

In other words, AccessibleNU will not share a student's documentation or other information with a student's transfer institution, study abroad program, graduate institution, professional school, or any other agency unless the student requests, in writing, that we share this information and specifies exactly what information should be shared. Similarly, AccessibleNU does not automatically notify a student's professors once the student has registered for classes; students must make a separate request through our database for each individual course/professor whom they want notified.

Guidelines Governing Confidentiality

AccessibleNU has developed the following 5 guidelines regarding confidentiality, which are also delineated in the Student Handbook:

  1. All information including documentation, correspondence, and accommodation records are considered confidential. Northwestern University and AccessibleNU  have an obligation to maintain confidentiality of all disability- and condition-related information.

  2. Access to disability-related information within AccessibleNU is on a need-to-know basis and only for the purpose of assuring appropriate accommodations. (This is why accommodation notifications to professors do not specify the nature of the student's condition.)

  3. AccessibleNU is prohibited by law from releasing any disability records or identifying information to any outside entity. This includes documentation the student provides to AccessibleNU when registering with the office.

  4. The student may request, in writing, information to be released to specific persons or agencies by signing a release-of-Information form.

  5. With a signed accommodation agreement form, the AccessibleNU staff may discuss need-to-know information with University faculty or staff in order to assure appropriate academic accommodation.