FERPA and Access to Student Records

FERPA and Access to Student Records

Excelsior University complies with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). This Act affords students over 18 years of age ("eligible students") certain rights, with respect to their education records. They are:

They are:

  1. The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days of the day Excelsior receives a request for access. Students should submit to the Registrar signed written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The Registrar will plan for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records requested are not maintained by Excelsior, the Registrar shall advise the student of that fact.
  2. The right to request the amendment of the student's education records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading. Students may ask Excelsior to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. They should write to the Registrar, clearly identifying the part of the record they want to be changed and specifying why it is inaccurate or misleading. If Excelsior decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, Excelsior will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his or her 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.
  3. The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. In accordance with the Act, the following directory information will be released upon request unless a written notice to the contrary is received by the Excelsior University Registrar: name, address (permanent, mail, temporary, and email), telephone number, enrollment status, degree program and concentration, major area of study, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, and date and place of birth. An exception which permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by Excelsior in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom Excelsior has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Excelsior University Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance FERPA committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility.
  4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Excelsior to comply with 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 20202-5920

Students who would like a copy of the Excelsior University Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act compliance policy can receive this information by writing to Excelsior University, Office of the Registrar, 7 Columbia Circle, Albany, New York 12203-5159. Excelsior University is committed to providing a learning environment that is free from illegal discrimination based upon an individual's race, ethnicity, national origin, age, religion, gender, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, or veteran status in the educational programs and activities which it operates. This policy is in compliance with Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1971.

Right to Access

With a few exceptions as provided by law, students may see any of their educational records upon request. Access will be granted upon a signed written request to the Office of the Registrar. In some cases, students are also entitled to copies (at their own expense) of all records to which they have access. Students have the right, under established procedures, to challenge the factual accuracy of the records and to enter their viewpoints in the records. Students may waive their right to access recommendations and evaluations in the cases of applications for employment and application to other colleges and universities that have been placed in their educational records.

Listing of Education Records

At Excelsior University, the permanent record and official file for each student is maintained by the Office of the Registrar. The file contains copies of documents relating to the student. It may also include information supplied to Excelsior, copies of transcripts for academic work completed, and copies of letters related to academic or disciplinary action taken against the student. Other offices may hold such information as is necessary to provide services or assistance to students or for the administration of various programs. Incidental and/or official files may also be kept by academic advisors, other staff members, and academic deans.

Disclosure of Student Records

With several exceptions, identified in the following paragraphs, Excelsior cannot release information concerning students to prospective employers, government agencies, credit bureaus, or other third parties without the written consent of the eligible student. Students and alumni applying for jobs, credit, graduate school, etc., must provide Excelsior with signed and dated written consents to release their records, specifying the records that may be disclosed, the purpose of the disclosure, and the party or class of parties to whom disclosure may be made. Excelsior has designated the following categories of information as "directory information," which, at Excelsior's discretion, may be released without consent of the student: student's name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, enrollment status, degree program and major (major area of study), dates of attendance, end date, and degrees and awards granted. A student may request that directory information not be released without his or her written consent. Such requests must be submitted in writing to the Office of the Registrar at the time of admission and must include the student's name, address, student identification number, date, and signature. Excelsior University accords to its students all rights under this law. No one outside the institution shall have access to students' educational records, nor will Excelsior University disclose any information from these records without the written consent of students except, in accordance with the Act:

  1. to personnel within the institution or appropriate officials of the colleges and universities in which the student seeks to enroll;
  2. to persons or organizations providing student financial aid;
  3. to accrediting agencies carrying out their accreditation function;
  4. to persons in compliance with a judicial order or a lawfully issued subpoena (provided that Excelsior will first make a reasonable attempt to notify the student);
  5. to organizations conducting studies to develop, validate, and administer predictive tests, to administer student aid programs, or to improve instruction;
  6. to authorized representatives of federal or state government agencies for the purpose of audit and evaluation of government programs; and
  7. to persons in an emergency, in order to protect the health or safety of students or other persons.
  8. to the victim of an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense concerning the final results of a disciplinary hearing with respect to the alleged crime.
  9. to any third party the final results of a disciplinary proceeding related to a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense if the student who is the alleged perpetrator is found to have violated the school’s rules or policies. The disclosure of the final results only includes: the name of the alleged perpetrator, the violation committed, and any sanction imposed against the alleged perpetrator. The disclosure must not include the name of any other student, including victim or witness, without the written consent of that other student.
  10. In addition to permitting the disclosure of directory information, as set forth above, FERPA permits disclosure of educational records without a student’s knowledge or consent under certain circumstances. For example, disclosure is permitted to Excelsior University officials with a legitimate educational interest in the records, meaning that the person needs the information in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities, including instructional, supervisory, advisory, administrative, academic or research, staff support or other duties. “Excelsior University officials” include: faculty; administrators; clerical employees; professional employees; agents of Excelsior University, such as independent contractors or vendors performing functions on behalf of Excelsior University; and members of Excelsior University’s governing boards; and students serving on an official University committee, or assisting other Excelsior University officials in performing their tasks. A student’s education record also may be shared with parties outside Excelsior under certain conditions, including, for example, in situations involving a health and safety emergency.

All of these exceptions are permitted under FERPA. Information will be released only on the condition that the party to whom the information is released will not disclose it to subsequent parties without the written consent of the student. Furthermore, Excelsior will maintain records of any access provided without the expressed consent of the student, and these records will be made available to the student on request.

Further Notice

This notice is not intended to be fully explanatory of students' rights under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Copies of the Excelsior University Compliance Policy and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act are available from Excelsior University's Office of the Registrar.

Right to File a Complaint

Inquiries and complaints may be filed with the Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20202-4605.