Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 is a Federal law, which states
(a) that a written institutional policy must be established and (b) that 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. Richard Bland College of The College of William and Mary in Virginia accords all the rights under the law to students who are declared independent. No one outside the institution shall have access to education records, nor will the institution disclose any information from education records without the consent of the student, with the following exceptions:
|1. Authorized personnel within the institution;|
| 2. Officials of other institutions in which students
were enrolled and/or seek to enroll;
| 3. Persons or organizations providing student
| 4. Accrediting agencies carrying out their
|5. Persons complying with a judicial order;|
|6. Military personnel; or,|
| 7. Persons in an emergency in order to protect the
health or safety of student or other persons.
All these exceptions are permitted under the Act.
Within the Richard Bland College community, only those members individually or collectively acting in the student's educational interest are allowed access to a student's education records. These members include personnel in the Office of the Registrar, the Office of the Provost, the Financial Aid Office, the Division of Student Affairs, the Faculty Advisors, and other academic personnel within the limitations of their need to know. At its discretion, the College may provide directory information in accordance with the provision of the Act to include:
|1. Student name, address, telephone number;|
|2. Date and place of birth;|
|3. Major field of study;|
|4. Dates of attendance;|
|5. Degrees and awards received;|
| 6. The most recent previous education agency or
institution attended by the student; and/or
| 7. Participation in officially recognized activities
Students may withhold directory information by notifying the Registrar in writing within two weeks after the first day of class for each term.
The law provides a student the right to inspect and review information contained in his/her education record, to challenge the contents of the education record, and to have a hearing if the outcome of the challenge is unsatisfactory. The student may submit explanatory statements for inclusion in the files if the student feels the decision of the hearing panel to be unacceptable. The Registrar at Richard Bland College has been designated by the institution as the individual responsible for coordinating the inspection and review procedures for student educational records. These records include admissions, personal, academic, and financial files, as well as academic 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 within certain exceptions (e.g., copy of the academic record for which a financial hold exists, or a transcript of an original or source document that exists elsewhere). Education records do not include records of instructional, administrative, and educational personnel who are the sole possession of the maker and are not accessible or revealed to any individual except a temporary substitute, records of the law enforcement unit, student health records, employment records, or alumni records. Physicians designated by the student may review health records.
Students may not inspect the following as outlined by the Act:
|1. Financial information submitted by their parents|
| 2. Confidential letters and recommendations
associated with admissions, employment, or
job placement honors to which they have
waived their rights of inspection and review
| 3. Records containing
information about more
than one student
In such cases, the institution will permit access only to that part of the record that pertains to the inquiring student.
A student who believes an educational record contains information that is inaccurate or misleading or is otherwise in violation of privacy or other rights may discuss the problem informally with the Registrar. If the decision is in agreement with the student's request, the appropriate record will be amended. If not, the student will be notified within a reasonable period of time that the record will not be amended, and the student will be informed by the Registrar of the right to a formal hearing. A student request for a formal hearing must be made in writing to the Provost who, within a reasonable period of time after receiving such request, will inform the student of the date, place, and the time of the hearing. A student may present evidence relevant to the issues raised and may be assisted or represented at the hearing by one or more persons of their choice, including attorneys at the student's expense. The hearing panel that will adjudicate such challenges will be the Provost, the Assistant Provost for Student Affairs, and the Registrar.
The decision of the hearing panel will be final, and will be based solely on the evidence presented at the hearing. Notification will consist of written statements summarizing the evidence and stating the reasons for the decisions. The decision will be delivered to all parties concerned. Education records will be corrected or amended in accordance with the decision of the hearing panel if the decision is in favor of the student. If the decision is unsatisfactory to the student, the student may place in the education records statements commenting on the information in the records, or statements setting forth any reasons for disagreeing with the decision of the hearing panel. The statements will be maintained as part of the student's record and released whenever the record in question is disclosed. Students who believe the adjudication of their challenges was unfair or not in keeping with the provisions of the Act may submit written requests to the President of the College for assistance. Students who believe their rights have been abridged may also file complaints with The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Office (FERPA), Department of Education, Room 3011 FOB6, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20202, concerning the alleged failures of Richard Bland College to comply with the Act. Revisions and clarifications will be published as experience with the law and institution's policy warrants.
Copies of the College's policy and procedures are available to students (and authorized parents of students) upon request at the Office of the Registrar.