FERPA is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended. The federal law, also known as the Buckley Amendment, sets forth requirements regarding the privacy of student records. FERPA applies to all institutions that are recipients of federal aid administrated by the Secretary of Education.
What rights does FERPA afford students?
- The right to inspect and review their education record (within 45 days of a request).
- The right to request an amendment to their education records that they believe are inaccurate or misleading.
- The right to consent to disclosure of personally identifiable information contained in their education record, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
- The right to file a complaint with the United States Department of Education.
What is an education record?
Any record that is directly related to a student and is maintained by an educational agency or institution, or by a party acting for the agency or institution is an educational record.
What is not considered an education record?
- Sole possession records or private notes held by a school official that are not accessible or released to other personnel
- Medical or psychological treatment records that include those maintained by physicians, psychiatrists, and psychologists
- Employment records, provided that employment is not contingent upon being a student
- Law enforcement records
- Records collected after the person is no longer a student
Can Erskine disclose information without the consent of the student?
Erskine may disclose personally identifiable information, without the consent of the student, when the disclosure is:
- To the student
- To school officials who have a legitimate educational interest
- To federal, state, and local authorities involving an audit or evaluation of compliance with educational programs
- To organizations conducting studies on behalf of Erskine College
- To accrediting agencies
- To parents of a dependent student
- To school officials at other schools where the student seeks to enroll
- To comply with judicial orders or subpoena
- For the purpose of awarding financial aid
- In a health or safety emergency
- Releasing directory information
What is directory information?
FERPA has identified certain information that may be disclosed without student consent. Erskine has designated the following information as directory information and may release this information:
- Local, home, and email addresses
- Telephone number
- Date of birth
- Place of birth
- Major fields of study
- Dates of attendance
- Enrollment status
- Class standing
- Degrees and awards
- Sports/athletic information
- Expected graduation date
How can a student restrict the release of directory information?
Currently-enrolled students complete a Request to Prevent Disclosure of Directory Information Form in the Registrar’s Office to restrict access to their directory information or to remove their information from public directories. Forms must be submitted within the first two weeks of a term.
How can a student authorize release of his or her information to a specified third party?
The release of non-directory information to specified third party individuals can be authorized by selecting My Privacy in the student portal. Students may designate up to six authorized representatives or designate No Access if none is desired. Authorization may be changed at any time by selecting My Privacy in the student portal.
How can a student inspect their records?
Students should submit to the registrar, dean, head of the academic department (or appropriate official) a written request identifying the record(s) they wish to inspect. The Erskine College official will make the 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 official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
How can a student request an amendment of records that the student believes is inaccurate or misleading?
The student should write the College official responsible for the record, clearly identifying the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the College decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the College will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his or her right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. If the College still decides not to amend the record after the hearing, the student has the right to place a statement with the record setting forth his or her view regarding the contested information.
Who should I contact if I have questions?
Contact the Registrar at 864-379-8773 or firstname.lastname@example.org.