FERPA is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974; it is the federal law that requires colleges and universities to maintain the privacy of students' education records. FERPA guarantees students the right of access to the education records, the right to consent prior to the release of a record to a third party, the right to challenge information contained in their records, and the right to be notified of their privacy rights. This means that students must consent before a record is disclosed to the parents or legal guardians, unless they are a dependent of his/her parents for income tax purposes, prior consent to disclosure to parents or guardians is not required. This states that 'personal information shall only be transferred to a third party on the condition that such party will not permit any other party to have access to such information without the written consent of the student.'
Confidential information is not to be released. Confidential information consists of any academic information (grades, transcripts), current class schedules, disciplinary records, etc. We can verify directory information over the phone as long as the student has not asked that directory information be kept confidential. Directory information includes but is not limited to name, address, phone, dates of attendance, major and minor, degrees and awards received.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. They are:
- The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days of the day the university receives a request for access. Students should submit to the registrar, dean, head of the academic department or other appropriate official, written requests that identify the record(s) they wish 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 official shall 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 is inaccurate or misleading. Students may ask the university to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. They should write the university official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the university decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the university will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his or her right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
- Generally, schools must have written permission from the parent or eligible student in order to release any information from a student's education record. However, FERPA allows schools to disclose those records, without consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions (34 CFR § 99.31): School officials with legitimate educational interest; Other schools to which a student is transferring; Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes; Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student; Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school; Accrediting organizations; To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena; Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies; and State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific State law.
- 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 Avenue, SW.
Washington, DC, 20202-4605
In addition, the university has the right to disclose the following information about its students to third parties without the student's consent. This information includes: name, address, date and place of birth, major, participation in officially recognized activities/sports, weight/height of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, most recent educational agency or institution attended, photographs and parents' names and addresses. However, FERPA also grants you the right to refuse to permit Belmont to disclose this information to others without your consent.
If you wish to instruct the university not to disclose directory information about you, please contact the Office of the Registrar at 460-6619.