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FERPA What is it and what should it mean to you? South Carolina State University Registrar’s Office/Veterans Affairs Division of Student Affairs Annie.

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Presentation on theme: "FERPA What is it and what should it mean to you? South Carolina State University Registrar’s Office/Veterans Affairs Division of Student Affairs Annie."— Presentation transcript:

1 FERPA What is it and what should it mean to you? South Carolina State University Registrar’s Office/Veterans Affairs Division of Student Affairs Annie R. Belton, Registrar

2 South Carolina State University Registrar’s Office/Veterans Affairs Division of Student Affairs  FERPA Overview  Handling requests for information  Holding “Directory Information”  Technology Challenges  Special Areas of Concern  Additional FERPA resources  Q&A Agenda:

3 What is FERPA?  It stands for the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. Also known as the Buckley Amendment.  The Act provides for the right to inspect and review educational records to seek to amend those records and to limit disclosure of information from the records.  The Act applies to all institutions that are the recipients of federal funding. South Carolina State University Registrar’s Office/Veterans Affairs Division of Student Affairs

4 South Carolina State University Registrar’s Office/Veterans Affairs Division of Student Affairs FERPA is not:  A law that only pertains to public institutions.  A law that is only applicable to offices that handle grades.

5 South Carolina State University Registrar’s Office/Veterans Affairs Division of Student Affairs FERPA gives students the...  right to inspect and review within 45 days educational records  right to seek to amend educational records  right to have some control over the disclosure of information from educational records  right to obtain a copy of the institution’s student records policy  right to file a complaint with Department of Education Rights granted to Students by FERPA:

6 South Carolina State University Registrar’s Office/Veterans Affairs Division of Student Affairs  Current students  Former students Whose records are protected?

7 South Carolina State University Registrar’s Office/Veterans Affairs Division of Student Affairs  Deceased student records.  Applicants who are denied admission  Applicants who never attend are not covered under FERPA FERPA does not apply to:

8 Who Needs to Be Aware of FERPA? South Carolina State University Registrar’s Office/Veterans Affairs Division of Student Affairs  Those create and maintain educational records.  Those who utilize educational records in performing their jobs.  Those who disclose information from educational records.  Those who are custodians of educational records.

9 Why the Need for FERPA Awareness? South Carolina State University Registrar’s Office/Veterans Affairs Division of Student Affairs  Ensure compliance with the regulations.  Protect the privacy of our students.  Facilitate good public relations and business practice.  Avoid penalty of noncompliance with FERPA.

10 Why Comply with FERPA?  It’s the Law.  Failure to comply could result in the withholding of Federal Funds including Student Financial Aid.  Lawsuits caused by violations cause time and $$$.  It is our ethical responsibility to hold student records in confidence in order to protect their privacy. South Carolina State University Registrar’s Office/Veterans Affairs Division of Student Affairs

11 South Carolina State University Registrar’s Office/Veterans Affairs Division of Student Affairs  Educational record  Sole source documents  Legitimate educational interest  Personally identifiable information  Directory information Key Terms

12 South Carolina State University Registrar’s Office/Veterans Affairs Division of Student Affairs  Information recorded in any form that is directly related to a student and maintained by a college or university and by those acting for the college or university.  personal information – anything that identifies the student  enrollment records  registration  academic information  schedules  confidential information What are educational records?

13  The storage medium in which you find this information does not matter. A student educational record may be:  a document in the registrar's office  a computer printout in your office  a class list on your desktop  a computer display screen  paper files  permanent records of academic performance (transcripts, grades, and supporting documents)  department files academic records, and progress reports  Admission, coop education, career planning, financial aid, resident life and housing, student activities, student account, library and student disciplinary files.  Personal Notes South Carolina State University Registrar’s Office/Veterans Affairs Division of Student Affairs What are educational records?

14 What are Education Records not:  Personal Notes – kept by a faculty/staff member if kept in the sole possession of the one who made the record. (FERPA is a “protection of records” law, not a “confidentiality” law.)  Law Enforcement Records – maintained solely for law enforcement purposes & revealed only to law enforcement agencies.  Employment Records – of those whose employment is not contingent upon being a student.  Medical Records - created by a health care professional used only for the medical/health treatment of the student.  Most information contained in Alumni Records (donations, etc).  Classroom activities and homework that do not become part of the student’s permanent record. South Carolina State University Registrar’s Office/Veterans Affairs Division of Student Affairs

15 South Carolina State University Registrar’s Office/Veterans Affairs Division of Student Affairs  Personal notes about a student  Not kept in a student’s record  Not shared with anyone  Not considered an “educational record”  Not subject to FERPA What are sole source documents?

16 South Carolina State University Registrar’s Office/Veterans Affairs Division of Student Affairs  Social Security Number  Campus Wide ID (CWID)  Grades/GPA  Student’s Class Schedule  Test Scores  Academic Standing What is personally identifiable information?

17 South Carolina State University Registrar’s Office/Veterans Affairs Division of Student Affairs  Data or information - the disclosure of which generally is not considered to be harmful or an invasion of privacy  Defined by the institution (within FERPA guidelines) What is “Directory Information”?

18 South Carolina State University Registrar’s Office/Veterans Affairs Division of Student Affairs  Name  Current mailing address  Phone number  Enrollment status (Full or Part-Time)  Dates of attendance  Major  Degrees and awards received  Participation in officially-recognized activities and sports  Athletes’ height and weight At SCSU “Directory Information” is…..

19 South Carolina State University Registrar’s Office/Veterans Affairs Division of Student Affairs An institution official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an educational record to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities. Who may have a legitimate educational interest?

20 South Carolina State University Registrar’s Office/Veterans Affairs Division of Student Affairs  Specifies the record to be released  States the purpose of the disclosure  Identifies the parties to whom the information may be released  Must be signed and dated by the student Written Consent To release educational records (non-directory) you must receive

21 When Student Consent is NOT Required. The exceptions: a. to school officials with a legitimate educational interest b. to officials of another school in which the student seeks to enroll c. to certain federal, state, and local authorities in connection with an audit or evaluation of state or federally supported educational programs d. to the Department of Veterans Affairs e. to agents acting on behalf of South Carolina State University (clearinghouses, degree/enrollment verifiers) f. to organizations conducting studies on behalf of SCSU g. to accrediting organizations h. to parents of a dependent i. to parents/legal guardians when their children under age 21 have violated the alcohol or drug policies of South Carolina State University South Carolina State University Registrar’s Office/Veterans Affairs Division of Student Affairs

22 When Student Consent is NOT Required. The exceptions continued : j. to comply with a judicial order or subpoena k. to appropriate parties in a health or safety emergency l. in connection with financial aid m. results of disciplinary hearings to an alleged victim of a crime of violence or non- forcible sex offense n. to the Immigration and Naturalization Service for purposes of the Student Exchange Visitor Information System o. to military recruiters who request “Student Recruiting Information.” Student recruiting information is defined as name, address, telephone listing, age, level of education, and major. p. to the Internal Revenue Service in compliance with the Taxpayer Relief Act South Carolina State University Registrar’s Office/Veterans Affairs Division of Student Affairs

23 South Carolina State University Registrar’s Office/Veterans Affairs Division of Student Affairs You are required to maintain a record of each request for access and each disclosure from an educational record (does not apply to “Directory Information”). This “record of access” must:  be maintained as long as the student’s record is maintained;  include the parties who have requested or received information;  include the legitimate interest the parties had in receiving the information;  record any access request created whether honored or denied. Maintain Requests

24 South Carolina State University Registrar’s Office/Veterans Affairs Division of Student Affairs  Cannot verify the person’s identity  Review policy by DOE regarding “electronic signatures” E-mail requests do not constitute “written consent”

25 South Carolina State University Registrar’s Office/Veterans Affairs Division of Student Affairs  Parents/family members: “I pay my son’s tuition. I would like to know his grades from last term.”  Spouses/partners: “My wife was approved for a grade forgiveness and asked me to check her GPA.”  3rd Parties: “Does our applicant have a “B” average or better?” Frequently received requests from:

26 South Carolina State University Registrar’s Office/Veterans Affairs Division of Student Affairs Prior written consent

27 South Carolina State University Registrar’s Office/Veterans Affairs Division of Student Affairs  FERPA rights transfer to the student at age 18 or once he or she attends a post- secondary institution, regardless of age.  Parents or legal guardian may obtain directory information at the institution’s discretion.  Parents or legal guardian may obtain non-directory information at the discretion of the institution, if –they can establish the student as a financial dependent or –by obtaining the student’s written consent What about parents?

28 South Carolina State University Registrar’s Office/Veterans Affairs Division of Student Affairs You may release “Directory Information.” You are not required to do so. Use your own discretion.

29 South Carolina State University Registrar’s Office/Veterans Affairs Division of Student Affairs  Err on the safe side  “I am unable to release any information on this individual.”  Avoid confirming the existence of the student  This hold remains in force until the student rescinds it in writing.  Common Results:  student does not appear in the Commencement Program.  The University cannot confirm degrees awarded for prospective employers. If a student has put a hold on all directory information

30 South Carolina State University Registrar’s Office/Veterans Affairs Division of Student Affairs  Send the student to the Registrar’s Office  Complete “Request to Prevent Disclosure of Directory Information Form” Requesting a Directory Information hold

31 South Carolina State University Registrar’s Office/Veterans Affairs Division of Student Affairs SPECIAL "DON'TS" FOR FACULTY AND STAFF To avoid violations of FERPA rules  Do Not leave confidential information displayed on an unattended computer.  Do Not use the SSN/Student ID to post grades.  Do Not leave graded tests in a stack for students to sort through.  Do Not circulate a printed class list with the Student Name and SSN/Student ID.  Do Not provide anyone with student schedules.  Do Not provide anyone with lists of students enrolled in your classes.  Do Not include confidential information (i.e. grades, #of credits) in a recommendation letter without the written consent of the student.  Do Not discuss the progress of any student with anyone other than the student (including parents) without the consent of the student  Do Not provide anyone with lists of students enrolled in your classes for any commercial purpose  Do Not provide anyone with student schedules or assist anyone other than university employees in finding a student on campus

32 South Carolina State University Registrar’s Office/Veterans Affairs Division of Student Affairs To avoid violations of FERPA rules, DO’S:  Do refer requests for information from the educational record of the student to the proper educational records custodian, health, and campus police etc.  Do keep only those individual student records necessary for the fulfillment of teaching and advising responsibilities. Private notes of a professor/staff member counseling a student and intended for a professor’s staff member’s own use are not part of the student’s educational records.  Do keep any personal professional records relating to individual students separate from their educational records. Private records of instructional, supervisory and administrative personnel and ancillary educational personnel are to be kept in the sole possession of the maker and are not accessible or revealed to any other person, except a substitute. Guidelines for Faculty and Staff

33 South Carolina State University Registrar’s Office/Veterans Affairs Division of Student Affairs  Unintentional new student records  Data warehouses/data marts  Shadow systems/replicated databases  Online directories Technology Challenges to FERPA

34 South Carolina State University Registrar’s Office/Veterans Affairs Division of Student Affairs  Archiving records  Outsourcing, i.e. service providers  Picture-taking cell phones Technology Challenges to FERPA continued

35 South Carolina State University Registrar’s Office/Veterans Affairs Division of Student Affairs  E-mail  Course Management Tools, i.e. blackboard  Online grading by Instructors Technology Challenges to FERPA continued

36 South Carolina State University Registrar’s Office/Veterans Affairs Division of Student Affairs  Explosion of record creators and record keepers  Hack attacks  FAX  Distance learning Technology Challenges to FERPA continued

37 South Carolina State University Registrar’s Office/Veterans Affairs Division of Student Affairs  Letters of Recommendation  Statements made by a person making a recommendation that are made from that person's personal observation or knowledge do not require a written release from the student. However, if personally identifiable information obtained from a student's educational record is included in the letter of recommendation (grades, GPA, etc.), the writer is required to obtain a signed release from the student to the Registrar’s Office  The Media  Nothing in FERPA allows an institution to discuss a student's educational record publicly, even if a lawsuit has made the information a matter of public record. A school official may not assume that a student's public discussion of a matter constitutes implied consent for the school official to disclose anything other than directory information in reply. Additionally, university employees should follow university policy regarding the release of information to the media. The official spokesperson for the University is the Director of Public Relations. Special Areas of Concern

38 South Carolina State University Registrar’s Office/Veterans Affairs Division of Student Affairs  Catalogs  Schedule of Classes and Campus Guide  www.ed.gov  www.ed.gov/offices/ OM/fpco Additional Resources:

39 South Carolina State University Registrar’s Office/Veterans Affairs Division of Student Affairs Annie R. Belton, Registrar 803-536-7185/803-536-8406 E-mail: zs_abelton@scsu.eduzs_abelton@scsu.edu To return to the FERPA webpage Click here.Click here


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