FERPA And Privacy Rights
THE FAMILY EDUCATIONAL RIGHTS AND PRIVACY ACT OF 1974
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) is also known as the Buckley Amendment. The act protects the privacy of student records by requiring that institutions limit disclosure of information from those records to third persons, notify students of the right to review their student educational records, and the right to seek correction of information contained in their records. The law defines education records as those records that are directly related to a student and maintained by an educational agency or institution or by a party acting for an educational agency or institution.
Excelsior College 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.
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.
Right to Amendment
A student may request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading.
To do so the student should submit a signed written request to the Office of the Registrar which clearly identifies the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the College decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the College 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.
Listing of Education Records
At Excelsior College, 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 the College, 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, the College 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 the College 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.
The College has designated the following categories of information as “directory information,” which, at the College’s discretion, may be released without consent of the student: student’s name, address, telephone number, degree program and major (major area of study), dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, date and place of birth.
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 and must include the student’s name, address, student identification number, date, and signature.
Excelsior College accords to its students all rights under this law. No one outside the institution shall have access to students’ educational records, nor will Excelsior College disclose any information from these records without the written consent of students except, in accordance with the Act:
- to personnel within the institution or appropriate officials of the colleges and universities in which the student seeks to enroll;
- to persons or organizations providing student financial aid;
- to accrediting agencies carrying out their accreditation function;
- to persons in compliance with a judicial order or a lawfully issued subpoena (provided that the College will first make a reasonable attempt to notify the student);
- to organizations conducting studies to develop, validate, and administer predictive tests, to administer student aid programs, or to improve instruction;
- to authorized representatives of federal or state government agencies for the purpose of audit and evaluation of government programs; and
- to persons in an emergency, in order to protect the health or safety of students or other persons.
- 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.
- 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.
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, the College 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.
Information That Can Be Released Without The Student’s Written Consent
Certain information known as Directory Information may be disclosed by an institution without violating FERPA. Excelsior College has designated the following categories of information as Directory Information that may be released to a third person (party) without the student’s consent:
- Student’s Name
- Telephone Number
- Degree Program, Major, and Concentration
- Dates of Attendance (Enrollment Date)
- End Dates (Date of Withdrawal or Graduation)
- Degrees and Awards Granted
- Date and Place of Birth
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.
Excelsior College 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.
This notice is not intended to be fully explanatory of students’ rights under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Copies of the Excelsior College Compliance Policy and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act are available from Excelsior College’s Office of the Registrar. Students who would like a copy of the Excelsior College Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act compliance policy can receive this information by writing to Excelsior College, Office of the Registrar, 7 Columbia Circle, Albany, New York 12203-5159.