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FERPA

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Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

For questions or specific concerns about FERPA, please contact the Registrar’s Office.

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FERPA for Faculty & Staff

Definition of FERPA

Federal policy setting forth requirements regarding the privacy of student records. FERPA governs:

  1. release of educational records maintained by an educational institution
  2. access to these records

Definition of Educational Record

Any information provided by the student to the College for use in the educational process, such as:

  • personal information
  • enrollment records
  • grades
  • disciplinary records
  • financial aid records

These records may be available in various ways:

  • a document in the student’s record
  • a computer printout in your office
  • a class list on your desktop
  • a computer display screen
  • notes you have taken during an advisement session

Those Who Must Comply with FERPA

  • Any and all school officials
  • Maintaining confidentiality of student records is everyone’s responsibility whether you are faculty, staff, or student.

Definition of School Official

  • a person employed by the College in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position;
  • a person serving on an institutional governing body
  • a person employed by or under contract to the institution to perform a special task, such as an attorney or an auditor;
  • a person or organization acting as an official agent of the institution and performing a business function or service on behalf of the institution (the function or service must be one that the institution normally would perform itself);
  • a student serving on a committee; or
  • a student assisting another school official in fulfilling his or her professional responsibilities (e.g. work study)

Those Who May Have Access to Educational Records

  • School Officials – Although a person may be designated a “school official,” he or she does not have the inherent rights to any and all education record information. The school official must demonstrate to the records keeper a legitimate educational interest (as opposed to personal or private interest), and such a determination must be made on a case-by-case basis.
  • The student
  • The parent or guardian of a dependant student, as defined by the IRS.
  • A person in response to a lawfully issued subpoena or court order.
  • Any third party – only directory information or with the written and signed consent of the student.

Definition of Educational Interest

In accordance with FERPA, a school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an educational record in order to fulfill his/her professional responsibility.

Educational interest does not constitute authority to disclose information to a third party without the student’s written permission.

Definition of Huntingdon College Directory Information

A Student’s:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Telephone Number
  • Date and Place of Birth
  • Major Field of Study
  • Classification
  • Study Load
  • Dates of Attendance
  • Degrees and Awards Received
  • Most Recent Previous Educational Agency or Institution Attended
  • Participation in Officially Recognized Activities and Sports
  • Weight and Height of Members of the Athletic Teams

If a Student Blocks His/Her Directory Information

No information may be given out about the student. To the communities outside of the College, the student does not exist here at the institution. By blocking one’s directory information, all requests for disclosure MUST be with the written consent of the student. The student’s name CANNOT be listed in any material or media distributed or sponsored by the College. This includes references to the student’s name or picture. As an example for the extent to which this must be taken, a student who blocks his or her directory information may not be listed in any program information (athletics, dance, drama, music) or even in the Commencement Program at graduation.

The Registrar’s Office has updated information on who has blocked their directory information. Please check with this office prior to any disclosures. A student may change his/her directory block status with the Registrar’s Office at any time.

Guidelines for Releasing Information

  • To other Huntingdon College Employees – permitted only to School Officials and only if they have a legitimate educational interest.
  • To the student – upon request. If a student wished to review or investigate his/her file due to his/her concern for misinformation, the student must follow proper procedures.
  • To parents of a student – upon request. You must establish dependency, as defined by the IRS, before releasing information. If the student is independent of the parents, you must receive a written release from the student to supply the parent(s) with information, unless the parent(s) can provide appropriate documentation of the student’s dependency.
  • To a third party (not working with the College as a school official)
    • Directory Information may be released unless the student has blocked directory information. If this is the case, you MUST have the written and filed consent of the student.
    • If the information requested is something other than directory information, you must also have a written release on file from the student.

When in doubt, don’t give it out!

Do's and Don'ts

  • DO review Huntingdon College’s FERPA policy before responding to a request for educational records. If you have questions or concerns, contact the Registrar’s Office.
  • DON’T release directory information on a student without checking to see whether the student has requested his/her information be blocked.
  • DO obtain written permission from the student before sharing educational records information, including grades and grade point averages.
  • DO follow the confidentiality provisions of FERPA by not sharing educational records information with your colleagues unless a legitimate educational interest exists.
  • DO keep only those records pertaining to a student that are necessary for the fulfillment of your teaching or advising responsibilities. If these records are kept in your file for your own use and are not shared with anyone else (other than a substitute), they are not considered educational records and will not be subject to the release provisions of FERPA.
  • DON’T put purely personal notes (ex. from a committe meeting recommending students for a particular program) in a student’s file, as they will become accessible to the student. Such records can be kept confidential only if they are kept in the sole possession of the maker and are not accessible or revealed to any other person. Official committee minutes are likely to be considered accessible.
  • DON’T display student scores or grades publicly in association with names, social security numbers (or any portion of a SSN) or other identifiers. If scores are posted, use a code known only to you and the student.
  • DON’T leave grades, tests or assignments in a stack for students to pick up in a public place where a student’s name can be associated with a grade.
  • DON’T circulate a printed class list with students’ names, social security numbers or grades as an attendance roster.
  • DON’T provide anyone with a list of students enrolled in your classes. Refer them to the Registrar’s Office.
  • DON’T provide anyone with student schedules or assist anyone other than university employees (working in the capacity of educational or safety interests) in finding a student on campus.
  • DO refer all subpoenas or other legal process requests for educational records to the College’s legal counsel.
  • DON’T release information about a student’s disciplinary matter without conferring with the Dean of Students.
  • DO err on the side of caution if you are unsure about a situation, and contact the Registrar’s Office for guidance.

FERPA for Current Students

What is FERPA?

FERPA (The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) is a federal policy setting forth requirements reguarding the privacy of student record. FERPA governs:

  • release of educational records maintained by an educational institution
  • access to these records

What is Considered an Education Record?

Any information provided by the student to the College for use in the educational process, such as:

  • personal information
  • enrollment records
  • grades
  • disciplinary records
  • financial aid records

Who May Have Access to My Educational Records?

  • You
  • Your parents/guardians if you are considered a dependent, as defined by the IRS.
  • School Officials
  • Any person in response to a lawfully issued subpoena or court order.
  • Any third party – only directory information or with the written and signed consent of the student.

School Officials: Who Are They?

  • any person employed by the College in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position;
  • any person serving on an institutional governing body
  • any person employed by or under contract to the institution to perform a special task, such as an attorney or an auditor;
  • any person or organization acting as an official agent of the institution and performing a business function or service on behalf of the institution (the function or service must be one that the institution normally would perform itself);
  • any student serving on a committee; or
  • any student assisting another school official in fulfilling his or her professional responsibilities (e.g. work study)

Although a person may be designated a “school official,” he or she does not have the inherent rights to any and all educational record information. The school official must demonstrate to the records keeper a legitimate educational interest (as opposed to a personal or private interest), and such a determination must be made on a case-by-case basis.

What is Considered Educational Interest?

In accordance with FERPA, a school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an educational record in order to fulfill his/her professional responsibility.

Educational interest does not constitute authority to disclose information to a third party without the student’s written permission.

What Information is Considered Directory Information?

Your:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Photograph
  • Telephone Number
  • Date and Place of Birth
  • Major Field of Study
  • Classification
  • Study Load
  • Dates of Attendance
  • Degrees and Awards Received
  • Most Recent Previous Educational Agency or Institution Attended
  • Participation in Officially Recognized Activities and Sports
  • Weight and Height of Members of the Athletic Teams

Can I Block My Directory Information?

A student may choose to block his/her directory information at any time. A written statement to this effect must be turned in to the Registrar’s Office. Request for non-disclosure will be honored for currently enrolled students by the institution until otherwise notified.

What Does it Mean to Block My Directory Information?

  • To the communities outside of the College, you will not exist here at the institution. By blocking your directory information, all requests for disclosure MUST be accompanied by written consent from you.
  • Your name CANNOT be listed in any material or media distributed or sponsored by the College. This includes references to your name or picture. As an example for the extent to which this must be taken, a student who blocks his or her directory information may not be listed in any program information (athletics, dance, drama, music) or even in the Commencement Program at graduation.
  • If you choose to block your directory information, a written and signed request form must be received for each information request – this means every time someone checks on your enrollment (for insurance purposes, credit card purposes, etc.).

Can I Review My Records?

The law provides students with the right to inspect and review information contained in their educational records, to challenge the contents of their educational records, to have a hearing if the outcome of the challenge is unsatisfactory, and to submit explanatory statements for inclusion in their files if they feel the decisions of the hearing panels to be unacceptable. The Registrar at Huntingdon College has been designated by the institution to coordinate the inspection and review procedures for student education records, which include admissions, personal, academic and financial files, and academic cooperative education, and placement records. Students wishing to review their education records must make written requests to the Registrar listing the item or items of interest.  Only records covered by the Act will be made available within forty-five days of the request. Students may have copies made of their records with certain exceptions (e.g., a copy of the academic record for which a financial “hold” exists, or a transcript of an original or source document which exists elsewhere). These copies would be made at the students’ expense at prevailing rates. Education records do not include records of instructional, administrative, and educational personnel which are the sole possession of the maker and are not accessible or revealed to any individual except a temporary substitute; student health records; employment records; or alumni records. Health records, however, may be reviewed by physicians of the students’ choosing.

Students may not inspect and review the following as outlined by the Act: Financial information submitted by their parents; confidential letters and recommendations associated with admissions, employment or job placement, or honors to which they have waived their inspection and review; or education records containing information about more than one student, in which case the institution will permit access only to that part of the record which pertains to the inquiring student.

After reviewing the educational records, any student who believes his/her educational records contain information which is inaccurate or misleading, or is otherwise in violation of their privacy or other rights may discuss his/her problems with the Dean of the College.

See The Huntingdon College Institutional Policy on FERPA for more detailed information.

Where Are My Records Located?

Type of RecordLocationRecord Keeper
Admission and Academic RecordsOffice of the Registrar – Wilson Center 105Registrar
Financial RecordsBusiness Office and Office of Financial Aid – Wilson Center 108Vice President for Business and Finance
Progress and Advising RecordsFaculty Office of Academic AdvisorIndividual Advisor
Learning and Physical Disability RecordsOffice of the 504 Coordinator – Weil Center 102A504 Coordinator
Admission and Academic RecordsOffice of the Registrar – Wilson Center 105Registrar

Huntingdon College Institutional Policy on FERPA

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, is a federal law which states (a) a written institutional policy must be established and (b) a statement of adopted procedures covering the privacy rights of students be made available. The law provides that the institution will maintain the confidentiality of student education records.

Huntingdon College accords all the rights under the law to students who are declared independent. Except for Directory Information, defined below, no one outside the institution shall have access to nor will the institution disclose any information from students’ education records without the written consent of students, except to personnel with the institution, to officials of other institutions in which it is known students seek to enroll, to the parent(s) of a dependent child, to persons or organizations providing students financial aid, to accrediting agencies carrying out the accreditation function, to persons in compliance with a judicial order, to certain government agencies, and to persons in an emergency in order to protect the health or safety of students or other persons. All these exceptions are permitted under the Act.

Within the Huntingdon College community only those members, individually or collectively, acting in the students’ educational interest are allowed access to student education records. These members include personnel in the Offices of the President, Provost and Dean of the College, Registrar, Vice-President for Student Life and Dean of Students, Senior Vice-President for Business and Finance/Treasurer, Comptroller, Chief Accountant, Student Account Manager, Vice President for Enrollment Management, Director of Evening Studies, Director of Financial Aid, coaches of athletic teams, and academic personnel within the limitations of their need to know.

At its discretion the institution may provide Directory Information in accordance with the provisions of the Act to include: Student name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, major field of study, classification, study load, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, the most recent previous educational agency or institution attended by the student, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, and weight and height of members of athletic teams. Students may withhold Directory Information by notifying the Registrar in writing at the beginning of each term. Request for non-disclosure will be honored for currently enrolled students by the institution until otherwise notified.

The law provides students with the right to inspect and review information contained in their educational records, to challenge the contents of their educational records, to have a hearing if the outcome of the challenge is unsatisfactory, and to submit explanatory statements for inclusion in their files if they feel the decisions of the hearing panels to be unacceptable. The Registrar at Huntingdon College has been designated by the institution to coordinate the inspection and review procedures for student education records, which include admissions, personal, academic and financial files, and academic cooperative education, and placement records. Students wishing to review their education records must make written requests to the Registrar listing the item or items of interest. Only records covered by the Act will be made available within forty- five days of the request. Students may have copies made of their records with certain exceptions (e.g., a copy of the academic record for which a financial “hold” exists, or a transcript of an original or source document which exists elsewhere). These copies would be made at the students’ expense at prevailing rates. Education records do not include records of instructional, administrative, and educational personnel which are the sole possession of the maker and are not accessible or revealed to any individual except a temporary substitute; student health records; employment records; or alumni records. Health records, however, may be reviewed by physicians of the students’ choosing.

Students may not inspect and review the following as outlined by the Act: Financial information submitted by their parents; confidential letters and recommendations associated with admissions, employment or job placement, or honors to which they have waived their inspection and review; or education records containing information about more than one student, in which case the institution will permit access only to that part of the record which pertains to the inquiring student. The institution is not required to permit students to inspect and review confidential letters and recommendations placed in their files prior to January 1, 1975, provided those letters were collected under established policies of confidentiality and were used only for the purposes for which they were collected.

Students who believe their education records contain information which is inaccurate or misleading, or is otherwise in violation of their privacy or other rights may discuss their problems informally with the Dean of the College. If the decisions are in agreement with the students’ requests, the appropriate records will be amended. If not, the students will be notified within a reasonable period of time that the records will not be amended; and they will be informed by the Dean of the College of their right to a formal hearing. Students’ requests for a formal hearing must be made in writing to the Dean of the College, who within a reasonable period of time after receiving such requests, will inform students of the date, place, and time of the hearing. Students may present evidence relevant to the issues raised and may be assisted or represented at the hearings by one or more persons of their choice, including attorneys, at the students’ expense. The hearing panels which will adjudicate such challenges will be the Dean of the College, Dean of Students, and Registrar. Decisions of the hearing panels will be final, will be based solely on the evidence presented at the hearing, and will consist of written statements summarizing the evidence and stating the reasons for the decisions, and will be delivered to all parties concerned. The education records will be corrected or amended in accordance with the decisions of the hearing panels, if the decisions are in favor of the students. If the decisions are unsatisfactory to the students, the students may place with the education records statements commenting on the information in the records, or statements setting forth any reasons for disagreeing with the decisions of the hearing panels. The statements will be placed in the education records, maintained as part of the students’ records, and released whenever the records in question are disclosed.

Students who believe the adjudications of their challenges were unfair, or not in keeping with the provisions of the Act, may request in writing assistance from The President of the institution. Further, students who believe their rights have been abridged, may file complaints with the Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20202-4605, concerning the alleged failures of Huntingdon College to comply with the Act.

Revisions and clarifications will be published as experience with the law and institution’s policy warrants.

September 2015

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