The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 is a federal law that gives students certain rights with respect to their education records.
BLACKBURN COLLEGE FERPA POLICY
I. The rights provided to students are as follows:
- The right to inspect and review their education records;
- The right to control disclosure of personally identifiable information contained in their education records;
- The right to request amendments to their education records to correct inaccurate or misleading information;
- The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education if the College violates FERPA regulations.
II. Education Records are defined as follows:
- Career Services Office: test scores (GRE, GMAT, etc.)
- Education Department: teacher certification records
- Financial Aid Office: financial aid records
- Public Relations Office: student media release forms, P.R. information
- Records Office: academic transcript, registration information, application for admission, high school transcript, college transfer work, test scores, work evaluations, letters of recommendation, activities lists, general correspondence
- Student Life Office: disciplinary records, immunization records
- Work Office: work records
Records are not maintained in a central location on campus. Requests to review them must be made separately, in writing, to each office that maintains them. Written requests must be given with reasonable advance notice (at least 24 hours). A fee (ten cents per page) is charged for reproducing copies of records. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act grants offices forty-five days to honor requests to view and copy such information.
III. The following records are exempt from FERPA regulations and may not be viewed by students:
- personal notes of faculty and staff
- medical and counseling records used solely for treatment
- financial records of parents
- confidential letters and statements of recommendations placed in student files prior to January 1, 1975
- confidential statements of recommendation of admission, employment or honorary recognition placed in student files after January 1, 1975, for which the right to inspect and review has been waived by the student
IV. The College routinely releases the following directory information when requested:
- student name
- dates of attendance
- major field of study
- classification by year
- degrees, honors, awards, certificates earned
- address (home, local & campus)
- telephone number (home, local & campus)
- campus e-mail addresses
- athletic rosters (name, weight and height)
- participation in co-curricular activities
- Work Program participation
Directory information will be released unless the student files the appropriate form prohibiting the release of information to the public. That form is the “Student Information Sheet” and is available in the Records Office. Other student information except directory information as noted above will not be released without prior written consent of the student.
V. Release of Information to School Officials
The law permits school officials (defined as: any person who is a trustee, officer, agent or employee of Blackburn College—also included are students serving on college committees where legitimate “need to know” exists) to use information contained in the students’ educational records for internal use, and under certain circumstances to provide it to others, including the use of this information in the event of an emergency. This information will not, however, be used in the College Directory, in public releases or be made available to the public without consent of the student.
VI. Release of Information to Third Parties
Normally, education records, other than directory information, will not be released without the prior written consent of the student. However, education record information may be released, without consent, under the following circumstances:
- To faculty and staff with a legitimate educational “need to know” (Legitimate educational interest or “need to know” means the information or records requested is relevant and necessary to complete an assigned task and the task is an employment responsibility for the requestor or is properly assigned subject matter for the requestor’s employment or committee responsibility.)
- In accordance with a lawful subpoena or court order
- To representatives of agencies or organizations from which students have received financial assistance
- To others specifically exempted from prior consent requirements of the act (including certain federal and state officials, organizations conducting student surveys on behalf of the College, accrediting organizations, etc.)
- Of “directory information”
- To parents of dependent students, as determined by the Financial Aid Office according to the Internal Revenue Code of 1954
- To the United States Office of Immigration and Naturalization Service (for international students only)
- In emergencies where the information is necessary to protect health and safety of the student or others
VII. Release of Information to Parents
Blackburn College recognizes the importance of support and interest of parents and families of students in all areas of the College program. Students are encouraged to share information about their experiences and programs with their families. A large part of the educational process of college is learning to be independent and solve one’s own problems. therefore, College personnel will focus on working through problems with students. However, information (as designated on the student information sheet collected each semester by the Records Office) regarding student status and progress may be shared with the parents of dependent students under the following policies. Exceptions may be made in unusual circumstances upon request of the student and approval of the Dean of Students. The College does reserve the right to contact parent(s)/guardian(s) of dependent students who are experiencing difficulty with satisfactory academic or work program progress or difficulty with the Student Conduct Code and/or campus disciplinary system.
The College supports and follows the provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of the United States, which protects students from indiscriminate use of student records. The act permits, but does not require provision of information to parents of dependent students. Examples of information that may be released include, but are not limited to the following:
- Grades: Copies of end-of-term grades may be sent to parents, guardians, next-of-kin, or other persons designated by the dependent student. The address used will be that indicated for such individuals in the Records Office as amended from term to term. Address changes should be reported to the Records Office.
- Withdrawal: Student status is part of Directory Information which, under FERPA, is public information. Included is information about whether a student has been, is, or is expected to be enrolled. Parents of dependent students leaving school, including those approved for leaves of absence may be notified.
- Emergencies: Parents, guardians, or other persons indicated in student records will be notified in cases of emergencies. The Student Life Staff shall determine whether an emergency exists and if notification is necessary.
- Violations of College Regulations: Parents may be contacted in cases where a student has violated regulations and parental knowledge is deemed appropriate by the Student Life Staff or required by written policy. For purposes of clarification the only students with Independent Student Status are those deemed so by the Financial Aid Office based upon their legal tax status.
Students may challenge information in their files by filing a written request with the Student Life Office. The decision of the appropriate college official overseeing the file is final, but the student always has the opportunity to place a letter of protest in the file.