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The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act The Office of the Registrar James Madison University Warren Hall 504A

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Presentation on theme: "The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act The Office of the Registrar James Madison University Warren Hall 504A"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act The Office of the Registrar James Madison University Warren Hall 504A

2 What is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act ? The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (also known as FERPA or the Buckley Amendment) is a federal law passed in 1974 designed to protect the privacy of a students educational records.

3 Who is protected under the Act? Students who are now attending or who have attended* a postsecondary institution. Applicants who are denied admission or who never attend are not covered under the act. *Attendance begins when the student registers for the first time.

4 Compliance Requirements An institution must… … notify current students annually in writing of their rights under FERPA. JMU distributes FERPA Annual Notification to all enrolled students after the third week of Fall Semester classes. The Annual Notice is also printed in the Graduate and Undergraduate Catalogs and in the Registration and Student Record Services Handbook. … give students access to their own education records.

5 What are Educational Records? With certain exceptions, educational records are: all records maintained by the University (or an employee or agent of the University) relating directly to a student that are shared with or accessible to another individual. The records may be handwritten, printed,magnetic, video, or audio tape, film, microfilm microfiche, diskette, electronic.

6 What is not an educational record? The following are not considered educational records: Private notes or records that are not shared with any other person (i.e., instructor notes); Medical records; Records relating to employees unless employment is contingent upon being a student; Law enforcement records used only for law enforcement purposes; Information obtained when the person was no longer a student and unrelated to the person as a student (i.e., alumni records).

7 Student Rights under FERPA (1) With some exceptions, the student has the right to have some control over the disclosure of information from the educational record. except for Directory Information, personally identifiable information cant be released without the students prior written consent.

8 Student Rights under FERPA (2) The student has the right to inspect and review their records. Students may inspect and review their education records by submitting a written request to the office responsible for the specific record desired. The responsible office has 45 days to respond to the request.

9 Student Rights under FERPA (3)A student has the right to challenge the contents of an education record. Students may challenge the contents of an education record which they consider to be inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of their privacy rights.

10 Student Rights under FERPA (4)The student has the right to file a complaint. Students have the right to file a complaint with the Family Policy Compliance Office concerning alleged failures of the University to comply with the requirements of the Act. U.S. Department of Education 400 Maryland Ave., SW Washington, DC 20202-4605

11 Personally Identifiable Information Personally identifiable information includes the name of the student, and the student's parent(s) or other family members; the student's address; a social security number or student ID number; or a list of personal characteristics, that would make the student's identity easily traceable.

12 What is Directory Information? Directory Information is personally identifiable information contained in the students record that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed, and may be released without prior written consent from the student* * provided the student has not filed a Request to Withhold Directory Information form with the registrars office.

13 Directory Information includes Student's name, addresses, and telephone numbers, Degree sought and time, Major/minor fields of study, College of major and year (freshman, sophomore, etc.), Enrollment status (full-time/part-time) including credit hours, Dates of attendance, Degrees, awards and honors conferred, Participation in officially recognized activities and sports, Weight and height of members of athletic teams, The most recent previous educational agency or institution attended by the student, Fraternity and/or sorority and educational societies.

14 Who may have access to student information? The student or another person who has the students written consent; School officials who have a legitimate educational interest in the information; A person in response to a lawfully issued subpoena or court order.

15 What is a School Official? A university employee who has responsibility for performing a task related to the educational objectives of the university, such as people in administrative, supervisory, academic, research or support staff positions; members of university committees; sponsors of official university clubs or organizations; people or agencies employed or under contract to perform a specific task for the institution (such as the Student Loan Clearinghouse).

16 What is legitimate interest? Legitimate interest is the employees need to review information in order to fulfill a responsibility as part of his or her employment. examples include teaching, research, academic advising, general counseling, discipline, vocational counseling and job placement, financial assistance and advisement, medical services; co-curricular activities such as varsity and intramural sports, social fraternities, specific interest clubs, and student government.

17 What about Parents? Under FERPA, only directory information may be released to anyone, including parents, without the students written consent (provided the student has not exercised the right to restrict the release of directory information). The University may release information to parents of dependent students as defined by the Internal Revenue Code of 1954. The most recent federal income tax return is required to establish dependency.

18 FERPA in a Nutshell All information about a student should be treated confidentially and should not be released without the students prior written consent. The consent should be dated and should specify the records to be released, the reasons for release and the name of the person to whom the records are to be released. Information defined by the University as directory information may be released without prior written consent as long as the student has not filed a Request to Withhold Directory Information with the registrars office. Requests for information about students other than Directory Information should be directed to the office maintaining the official university records in question.

19 Record Custodians Permanent Record - Office of the Registrar Academic (transcript) - Office of the Registrar Disciplinary - Director of Judicial Affairs Financial Aid - Financial Aid & Scholarships Financial Accounts – University Business Office Placement - Academic Advising & Career Development Graduate - College of Graduate & Professional Studies Police - Public Safety Assessment – Assessment and Research Studies

20 A few important notes … Access to the student administration system does not authorize unrestricted use of information Curiosity is not a valid reason to view student information.

21 Some more important notes… Dont… … leave confidential information displayed on an unattended computer. … throw records containing SSNs and grades in the trash; shred them instead. … use the SSN or student ID to post course grades. … leave graded tests in a stack for students to sort through. … circulate a printed class list with the student name and SSN or student ID. … include confidential information in a recommendation letter without the written consent of the student. … provide anyone with student schedules or lists of students enrolled in classes.

22 Remember When in doubt, dont give it out!

23 Additional sources of information Office of the Registrar JMU Policy 2112 Family Policy Compliance Office, Department of Education

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