Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the data practices act or MGDPA?

The Minnesota Government Data Practices Act (MGDPA) is our state’s public records law.  As a public institution, the University of Minnesota is subject to the MGDPA. More information about the MGDPA, including how to submit requests for information to the University, is available in the Public Access to University Information policy

 2. What records are covered under the MGDPA?

The MGDPA defines public records as "all data collected, created, received, maintained or disseminated by any government entity regardless of its physical form, storage media or conditions of use."

Under the MGDPA, information is presumed to be public unless there is a state or federal law that makes it private or another protected classification (i.e., confidential). If you would like more information, please see the Public Access to University Information policy.

 3. How can I make a data request?

Requests for public data can be submitted through the University’s Data Request Center

 4. How long will it take to complete my data request?

It depends on your request. If you are requesting data about yourself, then you are considered the data subject, and under Minn. Stat. 13.04, subd.3 you will be provided with data within 10 business days.

If you are a member of the public or media, under Minn. Stat. 13.03, subd. 3 your requested data will be produced in “appropriate and prompt, reasonable amount of time.” We prioritize requests based on the size and complexity of the request, with more targeted requests processed first. 

For example, requesting a copy of the Athletic Department’s Fiscal Year 2020 contract with ABC Consulting Company is a fairly narrow/focused request that we should be able to fulfill faster than if you requested copies of all University consulting contracts for several years, which might take a significant amount of time to collect and fulfill.      

 5. What University information can I get?

There are two primary laws governing University information: the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act (MGDPA), Minn. Stat. ch. 13, and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, Title 20 U.S.C. Sec. 1232. Each contains many detailed provisions, classifying information as private, public, or confidential. 

The University has designated Laurie Beyer-Kropuenske of the University's Data Access and Privacy team as the Responsible Authority under the MGDPA. The University's Public Access to University Information policy outlines procedures for obtaining public information and includes a list of examples of public, private, and confidential information in "Appendices." 

 6. Where can I find commonly requested public information?

The University of Minnesota provides many reports and other types of information on our websites. The Public Access to University Information policy includes an appendix that may provide you with an immediate resource for the information you need.

 7. I am a current University student and need a copy of my transcripts. Can I get them from this office? 

If you are a current student, please visit the One Stop Student Services site to request your transcripts. 

 8. I need a copy of my medical/health records. Can I get them from this office?

If you were a patient at the University of Minnesota Medical Center or University of Minnesota Physicians, please visit the M Health website for instructions on how to obtain a copy of your medical records.

 9. When I make a public records request, is my name private? 

No, data about public records requests are public. Any data you provide including your name, address, records requested and email address are public data. As with any public data, it can be shared, provided to anyone for any reason and also can be published publicly. 

 10. Can I make a public records request anonymously?

Yes, you can make a public data request without providing your name or any other identifying information.  However, you will be required to provide an email address to submit a request. If you wish to remain anonymous, it is your responsibility to provide us with an email address that is not associated with your name. (Ex. transparency.star@mail.com)  Requiring an email address ensures our anonymous requests receive the same level of service provided to requesters who voluntarily provide optional contact information, such as their name, company name, or mailing address.  

 11. I have an authorization from a former student for copies of their transcript and enrollment verification. Can you process this request?

Yes, we can process a student's signed authorization. Once you make your request you will receive an auto-generated confirmation email from our office. Please reply to that email and attach the authorization to it. With the student’s full name and date of birth, we can locate their records. In the interests of privacy, we request that you redact the student’s social security number if it appears on the authorization.  

 12. I am a news reporter. Are there any special instructions for submitting my requests?

Yes. When filing your data request, in the Departments drop-down menu, select University Relations (media requests).  In the request box, you can include the names of additional departments as well as the details on the specific record you are requesting along.  A member of our University Relations team will coordinate with other University programs to respond to your request.  

 13. Can I use this portal to request my own records? 

Yes, you can use this portal to make requests that you are the subject of.  We encourage you to use this portal to request records that you do not already have access to through University systems (e.g. OneStop, MyU). Examples of data you are the subject of include, job performance evaluations, letters of recommendation and employment contracts.    

 14. Are there special instructions for requesting emails?

Yes, University policy and procedures detail that requests to search emails must be submitted on an individual email account basis.  In order to process your request, please include:

  • The name of the current University employee whose emails you are seeking. Please file a new request for each individual you are seeking emails from. The University is unable to search emails on a University-wide basis.
  • A date range for emails. 
  • Information about the specific topic/keywords or issue you are requesting.  

Since emails can contain government data that is protected by state and federal law as well as personal emails, every email will be reviewed for private data as well as data that does not meet the definition of ‘government data’ under MN Stat. 13.02 subdivision 7. Given our legal obligation to protect private data, requests for emails are the most complex and time-consuming requests we process.  

Requests for emails are complex and time-consuming because emails can contain a wide range of data. The University can only release email data that are: (1) work-related and (2) not prohibited from disclosure by a state or federal law. As a result, we must review every single email before releasing them to you. 

They frequently contain data that is not “government data” under Minnesota law (like personal emails), or government data that is protected by state and federal law. As a result, we must review every single email before releasing them to you.  and data that is not “government data” under MN Stat. 13.02 subdivision 7.