The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education. East Central University complies with the guidelines of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974.
Directory Information and Withholding Procedures
Directory information concerning students is information that may be disclosed by the University for any purpose, at its discretion. Compliant with FERPA, students have the right to refuse the release of information which has been identified as directory information. If the student chooses to exercise that right, he or she must appear in person in the Office of Admissions and Records (Administration Building, Room 111), with a valid photo id, by the tenth day of class in Fall and Spring (fifth day of class in Summer) and sign a form stipulating that information not be released. East Central University assumes approval for disclosure of directory information unless a student exercises this right.
East Central University has designated the following student information as directory information:
- Student’s name
- Telephone number
- Email address
- Date and place of birth
- Last school attended
- Major field of study
- Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
- Dates of attendance at East Central University
- Degrees awarded and date granted
- Awards granted (Honor Rolls, Who’s Who, etc.)
- Weight and height of members of athletic teams
Information concerning educational records which is personally identifiable with a particular student, other than directory information, will not be released to persons, agencies or organizations other than those hereinafter described unless:
- there is written consent from the student specifying the records to be released, the reason for the release and to whom the information is to be released, with a copy to the student, if requested, or
- such information is furnished in compliance with a judicial order or a subpoena, provided that advance notice of the receipt of the order of subpoena will be provided to the student prior to compliance if possible.
In accordance with FERPA, the University reserves the right to release personally identifiable information from the educational records of a student, without written consent, to University officials (faculty, staff, and agents of the University having responsibility for working with that student in admissions, registration, advisement, housing, counseling, student discipline, teaching, financial aid, payment of fees, or any other activity directly related to the student’s academic program, or pursuant to law or governmental regulation, including, but not limited to, contractors, consultants, volunteers, and other outside parties to whom the University has outsourced services or functions it would otherwise use employees to perform) with a legitimate educational interest.
A University official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review the contents of an educational record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities. The University reserves the right to disclose educational records, including, but not limited to, disciplinary records, to another
institution at which the student seeks or intends to enroll, without the consent of the student.
In addition to the aforementioned rationale, the University may elect to disclose educational records of a student without the consent of the student to the following parties or under the following
- Parent(s) of a student, who has been involved in an emergency health or safety incident;
- Parent(s) of a student, who has been found responsible for violating any institutional, local, state, or federal law and/or alcohol or controlled substance policies if the student is under 21 years of age;
- Parent(s) of a student, who has official verification that the student has been claimed as a dependent on the most recent income tax return forms;
- Alleged victims of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense, once a final decision has been made regarding the allegation of violence;
- Specified University officials for purposes of audit or evaluation;
- Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student;
- Organizations conducting certain studies for, or on behalf of, the University;
- Accrediting organizations;
- Appropriate court officials, in order to comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena;
- Appropriate University Officials in cases of health and safety emergencies; and,
- State and local authorities, within a juvenile system, pursuant to specific state laws.
Notice and Access Rights
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords eligible students certain rights with respect to their education records. (An “eligible student” under FERPA is a student who is 18 years of age or older or who attends a postsecondary institution.) These rights include:
- The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days after the day East Central University receives a request for access. A student should submit to the registrar, dean, head of the academic department, or other appropriate University official, a written request that identifies the record(s) the student wishes 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 of access of a student does not include access to:
- Financial records of the parents of the student or any information contained therein;
- Confidential letters and statements or recommendations concerning admission, employment or the receipt of an honor, which were placed in the records prior to January 1, 1975, or concerning which the student has signed a waiver of access;
- Administrative and educational personnel records ancillary thereto, which are in the sole possession of the maker thereof and which are not accessible to any person except a substitute;
- Records of law enforcement officials;
- Records relating exclusively to a person's employment at the institution when the person is not in attendance as a student of the institution and
- Records maintained by professional or paraprofessional health-related personnel which are made in connection with the provision of treatment of a student and not available to persons other than the health-related personnel.
- The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA.
- A student who wishes to ask the institution to amend a record should write the institution official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record the student wants changed, and specify why it should be changed.
- If the official decides not to amend the record as requested, the official will notify the student in writing of the decision and the student’s 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 (see Section 4).
- The right to provide written consent before the university discloses personally identifiable information (PII) from the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
- The institution discloses education records without a student’s prior written consent under the FERPA exception for disclosure to institution officials with legitimate education interests. An institution official is a person employed by East Central University in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee. An institution official also may include a volunteer or contractor outside of East Central University who performs an institutional service or function for which the institution would otherwise use its own employees and who is under the direct control of the institution with respect to the use and maintenance of PII from education records, such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent or a student volunteering to assist another institution official in performing his or her tasks. An institution official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities for East Central University.
- The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by East Central 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
- FERPA permits the disclosure of personally identifiable information (PII) from students’ education records, without consent of the student, if the disclosure meets certain conditions found in §99.31 of the FERPA regulations. Except for disclosures to institution officials, disclosures related to some judicial orders or lawfully issued subpoenas, disclosures of directory information, and disclosures to the student, §99.32 of FERPA regulations requires the institution to record the disclosure. Eligible students have a right to inspect and review the record of disclosures. A postsecondary institution may disclose PII from the education records without obtaining prior written consent of the student –
- To other institution officials including teachers, within East Central University who the institution has determined to have legitimate educational interests. This includes contractors, consultants, volunteers, or other parties to whom the institution has outsourced institutional services or functions, provided that the conditions listed in §99.31 (a)(I)(i)(B)(I) – (a)(I)(i)(B)(2) are met. (§99.31 (a)(I))
FERPA Annual Notice Addendum
As of January 3, 2012, the U.S. Department of Education’s FERPA regulations expand the circumstances under which your education records and personally identifiable information (PII) contained in such records, including your Social Security Number, grades, or other private information – may be accessed without your consent. First, the U.S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or state and local education authorities, (“Federal and State Authorities”) may allow access to your records and PII without your consent to any third party designated by a Federal or State Authority to evaluate a federal- or state- supported education program. The evaluation may related to any program that is “principally engaged in the provision of education,” such as early childhood education and job training, as well as any program that is administered by an education agency or institution. Second, Federal and State Authorities may allow access to your education records and PII without your consent to researchers performing certain types of studies, in certain cases even when we object to or do not request such research. Federal and State Authorities must obtain certain use-restriction and data security promises from the entities that they authorize to receive your PII, but the Authorities need not maintain direct control over such entities. In addition, in connection with Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems, State Authorities may collect, compile, permanently retain, and share without your consent PII from your education records, and they may track your participation in education and other programs by linking such PII to other personal information about you that they obtain from other Federal or State data sources, including workforce development, unemployment insurance, child welfare, juvenile justice, military service and migrant student records systems.
Records Access Procedures
Prior to acquiring access to their records, students must provide the department which maintains the desired educational record(s) with documentation to verify the identity of the requesting and eligible student. In addition, the department may require that requesting and eligible students submit a signed and dated written request or a completed Personal Record Access Request form prior to receiving access to the educational record. The Personal Record Access Request form may be acquired from the Student Development Office (Administration building, Room 103, or (580) 559-5208). These aforementioned procedures shall serve as a safeguard to protect the privacy of student educational records. Attempts by other individuals or organizations to gain access to student records without the express written consent of the student are considered a violation of University policy and federal law. Examples of violations include, but are not limited to:
- Illegally accessing information from student or faculty information terminals;
- Misrepresentation to obtain another student’s transcript, semester grades, or class registration; and,
- Using a student’s ID number without his or her permission to gain access to any University services.
Request to Amend Content of Records Hearing
- The hearing shall be conducted and decided within a reasonable period of time following the request for the hearing;
- The hearing shall be conducted and the decision rendered by a University official or other party who does not have a direct interest in the outcome of the hearing;
- The eligible student shall be afforded a full and fair opportunity to present information relevant to the issues raised under subpart C, Section 99 of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974; and,
- The decision shall be rendered in writing within a reasonable period of time after the conclusion of the hearing.