The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords eligible students certain rights with respect to their education records. These rights include:
- The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days after the day the University receives a request for access. A student should submit to the registrar, dean, chair of the academic department, or other appropriate official, a written request that identifies the record(s) the student wishes to inspect. The University official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the University official to whom the request was submitted, that person will advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
- The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes are inaccurate, misleading or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA. A student who wishes to ask the University to amend a record, should write to the University official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record the students wants changed, and specify why it should be changed. If the University decides not to amend the record as requested, the University will notify the student in writing of the decision and the student’s right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. A student’s request for a formal hearing must be made in writing to the academic vice president who, within a reasonable time of receiving such a request, will inform the student of the date, place and time of the hearing. The academic vice president, the vice president for student affairs, the associate deans for Graduate Programs, and the academic dean of the student’s college or school will constitute the hearing panels for challenges to the content of education records. Upon denial and subsequent appeal, if the University still decides not to amend the record, the student has the right to place a statement with the record setting forth their view about the contested information.
- The right to provide written consent before the University discloses personally identifiable information (PII) from the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. The University discloses education records without a student’s prior written consent under the FERPA exception for disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official typically includes a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person serving on the board of directors; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee. A school official also may include a volunteer or contractor outside of the University who performs an institutional service or function for which the school would otherwise use its own employees and who is under the direct control of the school with respect to the use and maintenance of PII from education records, such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent or a student volunteering to assist another school official in performing their tasks. A school official typically has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill their professional responsibilities for the University. Upon request, the University also discloses education records without consent to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll. The University may disclose student information to a student’s parent during health and safety emergencies, or when that student is a financial dependent of the parent, or when the student is under age 21 and has violated Federal, State or local law, or any rule or policy of the University – governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance.
- The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the University to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is: Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Ave. S.W., Washington D.C. 20202
- A student has the right to withhold directory information. The University has designated the following as directory information: student name, address (including e-mail address), telephone number, date and place of birth, photograph, major field of study, class year and enrollment status, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, the most recent previous educational institution attended, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, and weights and heights of members of athletic teams. A student may refuse to allow the University to designate the above information about them as directory information by notifying the registrar in writing within two weeks after the first day of class for the fall semester. Students must submit an annual written notification of refusal to allow the designation of directory information.
- The right to annual notification. The University must notify students annually of their rights under FERPA. The actual means of notification is left to the discretion of the University.