Request Public Records
How to Prepare Your Request
Public records requests are submitted online using our public records portal. The University requires requests to be in writing. If you are unable to submit a request in writing, please call us at (919) 962-8511 for assistance.
North Carolina law does not require the University to respond to a request for a public record by creating or compiling a record that does not exist.
Your correspondence to the University making a request is itself a public record and may be asked for by other requestors, along with the University’s response.
Where to Submit Your Request
Several University offices are responsible for responding to public records requests. They include Public Records, as well as the University Registrar (student records), Human Resources (employee records), and the Department of Public Safety (public police records). Questions from news media may be directed to the Office of University Communications.
UNC-Chapel Hill employees who receive a public records request from an individual should forward the request to the appropriate contact and respond to the requester with the appropriate contact information. University employees unsure of the appropriate office or contact should contact the Public Records Office.
About Student Information
Requests for student information should be submitted at https://nextrequest.unc.edu/. Users should tag their request with “Office of University Registrar” using the departments dropdown.
About Faculty and Staff
For employee information the University can provide under the State (North Carolina) Personnel Act, contact the Office of Human Resources:
About Police Records
For public University police records, contact the Department of Public Safety:
From the News Media
Media representatives may contact the Office of University Communications with media inquiries.
Public records requests should be submitted at https://nextrequest.unc.edu/. Records requests should not be submitted to University Communications.
All Other Requests
All other requests should be submitted to the University’s Public Records Office:
After You Make a Public Records Request
Generally, the University processes public records requests on a first-in, first-out basis. The University reserves the right to make exceptions when deemed essential. Under the University’s policy, we place the highest priority on requests from North Carolina citizens and North Carolina news media outlets.
Requests are reviewed for content prior to be posted publicly at https://nextrequest.unc.edu/. A requestor may always view their request by logging into the online records portal.
For requests made to the Office of Public Records, staff members contact the department, office or other units across campus that may have the records you seek to notify them about the request. That starts the process of identifying, collecting and sending potentially responsive materials to the Public Records Office.
A Public Records Office staff member will review the records and may be required to remove (redact) certain information from records to protect the privacy rights of students or employees, or information that is confidential under federal or state law.
In certain cases, the staff members may also need to notify third parties with an interest in the records you have requested.
When your records are ready for release, they will be uploaded to https://nextrequest.unc.edu/. The response time will vary on a case-by-case basis. The University will respond as systematically as possible based on factors including the availability of records, the complexity of the request, the volume of materials involved, the number of requests ahead of yours in the queue, the priority order of the request in cases in which a requester has submitted multiple requests, and the time required to review the materials for possible redactions to protect the privacy rights of students or employees or other information deemed confidential under federal or state law.
Our overarching goal is to be as responsive as possible to each and every request.
Charges for Records
Under the North Carolina Public Records Act, public agencies are authorized to charge minimal fees to cover the actual cost of reproducing public records or public information.
The University may charge a fee for searching for, gathering, and copying documents that are public records. This includes but is not limited to the time spent identifying and gathering records, or information from existing public records.
Requesters will be notified in advance of any service fees that will be assessed for cases involving extensive information technology resources or extensive clerical or supervisory assistance exceeding four hours. The hourly rate is $18. The University may not include the cost of redacting legally privileged or confidential information in calculating the service fee.
The Public Records staff will provide a requester with a written estimate and ask if he or she agrees to pay the charge. The requester may also choose to narrow the scope of the request.
In adopting the current policy in June 2013, the University drew from similar provisions in the policies for UNC General Administration, N.C. State and UNC-Wilmington. Some other UNC campuses also charge requesters for large volumes of public records.