Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
What is FERPA? (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended
- FERPA is a Federal Law
- Also known as the Buckley Amendment
- Protects the privacy of a student's educational records
- Applies to all educational agencies or institutions that receive funds under any program administered by the Secretary of Education
What are education records?
- Handwriting, print, computer, videotape, audiotape, film, microfilm, microfiche or e-mail – of an institution that
- Contain information directly related to the student and
- Are maintained by an agency or institution or party acting on its behalf.
- Education records do not include
- Records/notes in sole possession of maker not accessible or revealed to any other person except a temporary substitute
- Medical records
- Employment records when employment is not contingent on being a student, provided the record is used only in relation to the individual's employment
- Records created and maintained by a law enforcement unit used only for that purpose, is revealed only to law enforcement agencies of the same jurisdiction, and the enforcement unit does not have access to education records
- Information on a person that was obtained when no longer a student (i.e., alumni records) and does not relate to the person as a student
What rights do parents have under FERPA?
- FERPA gives certain rights to parents regarding their children's educational records.
- Rights transfer to the student upon reaching 18 years of age or attending any school beyond the secondary level.
How can a parent access student information if the student is not being claimed by either parent for Federal income tax purposes?
- Parents can have access only if the student is willing to release information.
- A parent may access student information but may not act on the student's behalf except in emergency situations.
What is Directory or Public Information?
" . . . information contained in an education record of a student which would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed." (1988 Final Regulations)
Directory Information can NEVER include:
- Social security number
- Student identification number
Shawnee State University Directory Information may include:
- Address (local, home and university-assigned e-mail)
- Telephone (local and home)
- Program of Study (including college of enrollment, major and concentration)
- Enrollment status (e.g. full-time, part-time, withdrawn)
- Class rank (freshman, sophomore, etc)
- Dates of attendance
- Degrees and honors awarded
- Previous educational agencies or institutions attended
- Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
- Weight and height of members of intercollegiate athletic teams
Please note that class schedule and next-of-kin information are not open directory information and cannot be released to anyone in the Shawnee State University that does not have a "need to know" or to anyone outside of the University except as provided by law.
Can directory information be released to anyone who requests it?
- YES - If: the student has NOT requested that directory information be withheld.
- NO - If: the student has requested that directory information be withheld, no information can be released
- outside of SSU except as provided by law.
- to anyone within SSU who does NOT have a need to know.
How can a student request that their information be withheld?
- The student must request that directory information be withheld by completing a Request to Prevent Disclosure of Directory Information (available in the Office of the Registrar).
- The withhold information directory flag will be put on the student's academic record whenever the student requests it; however, we cannot be responsible for any information released prior to receipt of this form in the Registrar's Office.
- The withhold directory flag remains in effect until the student requests in writing that it be removed.
What information can be released without student consent?
The law allows disclosure without consent to:
- School employees who have a legitimate educational interest
- Other schools, upon request, in which a student is seeking or intending to enroll
- Accrediting organizations
- Organizations doing certain studies for or on behalf of the University
- Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student to determine eligibility, amount or conditions of financial aid, or to enforce the terms and conditions of aid.
- Certain government officials of the U. S. Department of Education, the Comptroller General, and state and local educational authorities, in connection with an audit, authorized representatives of the U. S. Attorney General for law enforcement purposes or state or federally supported education programs
- Individuals who have obtained a judicial order or subpoena
- School officials who have a need to know concerning disciplinary action taken against a student
- Appropriate parties who need to know in cases of health and safety emergencies when necessary to protect the health and safety of the student and/or others
- State and local authorities, within the juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific state law
- Alleged victim of a crime of violence the results of a disciplinary proceeding with respect to that crime
- Parent or legal guardian of a student under the age of 21, information regarding any violation of university policy or state, federal or local law, governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance
- Those requesting directory information on a student provided the student has not requested his or her information be withheld
What are the 2 basic steps that SSU must follow to be in compliance with FERPA?
- Notify current students annually in writing of their rights under FERPA.
- Right to seek amendment or correction of educational records
- Right to have some control over the disclosure of information from education records except when release is permitted by law
- Right to file complaints with the Family Policy Compliance Office, United States Department of Education, within 180 days of alleged violation
- Since SSU has a policy of disclosing personally identifiable information to school officials:
- The criteria for determining school officials
- A description of what constitutes legitimate educational interest
- Student rights are published in the SSU Chronicle (student newspaper) each Fall under "Public Information Policy and Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act."
- Students and former students have the right to inspect and review their education
records through established procedures.
- Within a maximum of 45 days after written request is received.
- Institution or agency is not required to provide a copy of the education record unless
failure to do so would deny access.
- Records cannot be destroyed if request is pending.
- Fee can be charged unless cost prohibits access.
- Students and former students have the right to review records of requests for disclosure
of their personally identifiable information.
- Institution needs to maintain records of requests and make them available to students.
What documents does a student not have a right to see?
- Financial information submitted by parents
- Confidential letters and recommendations placed in student's file before 1/1/75
- Confidential letters, etc., associated with admissions, employment, job placement or honors to which a student has waived rights of inspection and review
- Educational records containing information about other students such as Grades, Test scores, etc.
Institutional Policy & Notification Requirements
- As of November 21, 1996, an institution is no longer required to have a written institutional policy.
- The benefit of having a policy is that we have guidelines to follow. SSU has a written policy 3.04 available on the Board of Trustees website.
- SSU notifies students of their rights under FERPA in the SSU Chronicle.
What can happen if we fail to follow the law?
- Loss of Federal funding (including several types of Financial Aid)
- Conviction of a misdemeanor under the Public Information Act:
- Confinement in the county jail not to exceed 6 months or
- Fine not to exceed $1,000 or
When in doubt, don't give it out! If you have any questions on what you can or cannot release, check with your supervisor or the University Legal Counsel (X3283), or the Registrar's Office (X4734).
After reviewing the information on the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, please:
- Print the Acknowledgment Form (PDF).
- Complete and sign the form indicating that you understand the information contained in this training session.
- Return it to the Registrar's Office, Room 230, University Center, or FAX it to (740) 351-3435.
When the form is received in the Registrar's Office, Jenzabar CX (CARS) and MySSU access will be assigned.
For more information on FERPA, visit the website of the Family Policy Compliance Office.