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The Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA) A course presented for the faculty, staff and administration of Western University of Health Sciences.

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Presentation on theme: "The Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA) A course presented for the faculty, staff and administration of Western University of Health Sciences."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA) A course presented for the faculty, staff and administration of Western University of Health Sciences

2 Course Objectives In this course you will learn… What is FERPA? Who must comply with FERPA? What are educational records? Guidelines for the release of educational records. Who has legitimate educational interest?

3 Course Objectives (cont’d) What constitutes directory information? What to do in an emergency situation? How to maintain confidentiality? How to avoid FERPA violations? Who to contact for additional information?

4 What is FERPA? The Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act of 1974 or FERPA sets forth requirements for the privacy of student records. FERPA governs the release of and access to educational records maintained by Western University of Health Sciences.

5 What is FERPA? FERPA provides three basic rights to students including: ◦ The right to inspect and review their education records. ◦ The right to request to amend their education records. ◦ The right to limit disclosure of some ‘personally identifiable information’ known as directory information.

6 When do these rights begin and end? Western University of Health Sciences affords applicants their FERPA rights upon receipt of their first deposit. FERPA rights do not cease; however, information gathered on a student after they have attended WesternU is not covered by FERPA.

7 Who must comply with FERPA? Any educational institution that receives funds under any program administered by the U.S. Secretary of Education. In other words, any educational institution that receives federal financial aid. Any agency acting on the part of an educational institution must also comply with FERPA.

8 What are educational records? Educational records are “those records directly related to a student and maintained by the institution or by a party acting for the institution.” (AACRAO, 2001). Some examples of educational records include: Transcripts Disciplinary Records Grades Correspondence with student Entries in Information Systems (Banner, Academic Progress Portals, Blackboard, etc.)

9 What isn’t an educational record? Sole Possession Notes “Records of instructional, supervisory, administrative and certain educational personnel which are in the sole possession of the maker and are not accessible or revealed to any other individual.” (AACRAO, 2001). Note: Comments made about a student which are stored on an information system are NOT considered sole possession notes. For example, if a faculty member meets with their advisee and enters notes about the conversation in a database, and these notes can be viewed by other users within the system, they are now considered part of the student’s educational record. Employment Records Law Enforcement Records Records relating to a student that were created and/or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional acting in his/her professional capacity.

10 Releasing Educational Records Educational records can only be released as follows:  Directly to the student.  To a third party if the student has given written permission.  To agencies acting on behalf of the institution (i.e. AOA, AVMA, National Student Loan Clearinghouse).  To school officials with legitimate educational interest.  Student requests for their educational records must be completed within 45 days of their request.

11 Legitimate Educational Interest Legitimate educational interest is defined as “the demonstrated ‘need to know’ by those officials in the institution who act in the student’s educational interest, including faculty, administration, clerical and professional employees or agents, who manage student record information.” (AACRAO, 2001). Not Legitimate Interest ◦ A DO Professor asking for the grades of a DVM student Legitimate Interest ◦ A faculty advisor asks for their advisee’s GPA and class rank

12 Directory Information Certain information, called ‘Directory Information’ can be released without the student’s written permission. Directory Information at Western University of Health Sciences includes:  Name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, full or part-time status, major field of study, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, and the most recent previous educational institution or agency attended by the student.

13 Directory Information Waivers ◦ Students have the right to request that their directory information be kept confidential. ◦ The waiver form is located on the Registrar’s website in the forms section.

14 Releasing Directory Information Although directory information may be released without the student’s written permission, Western University of Health Sciences maintains a strict privacy policy. All requests for directory information should be directed to the Registrar’s Office.

15 Emergency Procedures If the emergency is life-threatening, call 911, contact Campus Security, then call the Office of University Student Affairs at x5340. If a health or safety emergency exists (including calls from family members) contact the Office of University Student Affairs at x5340.

16 Health or Safety Emergency In an emergency, FERPA permits school officials to disclose, without student consent, educational records, to protect the health or safety of students or other individuals. At such times, records and information may be released to law enforcement officials, public health officials, and trained medical personnel. In addition, the school officials may disclose information to parents if a health or safety emergency involves their child. This exception to FERPA is limited to the period of emergency.

17 Confidential Information The confidentiality of our students’ records is a key component of the relationship between the student and the University. Student information should never be discussed openly and should always be safeguarded. When viewing or accessing student data remember to :  Minimize screens when others are in the viewing area.  Secure student files and documents.  Do not share passwords!  Shred documents containing student information that do not need to be retained. Do not throw them in the trash!

18 Some Specific Issues for Faculty Posting Grades: Since grades can never be directory information, it is inappropriate to post grades in a public area. An instructor may, however, post grades if the grades are posted in a manner that only the instructor and the individual student can view their grade. Grades should never be posted with any portion of the SSN. Web-based Tools to Support Classes: Only directory information can be available to the general public and other class members. Letters of Recommendation If the letter includes the student’s GPA and class rank, you must obtain a signed release form from the student.

19 Students Requesting Confidentiality in a Classroom Setting Students cannot choose to be anonymous in the classroom setting. If a student has completed a directory information waiver form to restrict access to his/her directory information, that doesn’t mean that an instructor can’t call on him or her by name in class or that the student’s WesternU email address can’t be displayed on an electronic classroom support tool such as a discussion board, blog, or chat feature.

20 Avoiding FERPA violations… The following are simple steps to avoiding FERPA violations:  Do not release information about students to anyone without their written permission.  Do not post grades in public using the student’s ID or SSN number.  Do not e-mail grades or other confidential information to students.  Do not release grade, GPA or other student information to students over the telephone.

21 Avoiding FERPA violations…(cont’d) ◦ NEVER release personally identifiable information: race, ethnicity, gender, date of birth, SSN, or GPA without the student’s written permission. ◦ Remember that educational records can be in electronic or written form. ◦ Remember that just because you have deleted an e-mail, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be retrieved. ◦ Use good judgment when entering comments into a student information databases. These comments are considered part of the student’s educational record and can be viewed by the student. ◦ Remember to refer all requests for directory information to the Registrar’s Office. ◦ When in doubt, check with the Registrar’s Office!

22 Contact Information If you receive a subpoena, or a request for information on any WesternU student from an outside source, contact: Office of the Registrar (909) 469-5342 or or Keith Johnson, Legal Counsel (909) 469-5465 or

23 Contact Information If you have any questions regarding FERPA, please contact the Kimberley de Kruif, University Registrar at (909) 469-5342 or

24 Test your knowledge! To ensure that you have mastered the key concepts discussed in this presentation and complete the course, select the COURSE MATERIALS link above this window and take the quiz. You have completed your FERPA training requirement when you have received 8 out of 10 correct answers on the quiz. You can take the quiz as many times as necessary.COURSE MATERIALS

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