The Family Educational and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law (also known as the Buckley Amendment) that has two main purposes: It protects the student's education records against disclosure to persons outside the College and it ensures that students have the ability to review and, if necessary, correct information contained in their education records.
The Act applies to all institutions that receive federal funds under any program administered by the U. S. Secretary of Education and is enforced by the U.S. Department of Education.
Under FERPA, the access rights that parents and legal guardians had in elementary and secondary school are transferred to students when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level. At The College of Saint Rose, we consider students adults. Parents can be given access to their son or daughter’s academic records if the student authorizes the permission in writing by completing a Student Consent to Release Records form at the Registrar’s Office.
College students are transitioning from late adolescence to adulthood and we foster that growth by treating students as adults, granting them both the rights and responsibilities which go along with that status. Part of this is accomplished when the College communicates directly with the student regarding his or her education records. Education records include any records in the possession of an employee of the College that are shared or accessible to another individual. Records may be handwritten or in print form, magnetic tape, films or some other medium, including transcripts or other records obtained from a school in which the student may have been previously enrolled. Education records do not include medical records, employment records, law enforcement records, sole possession records or private notes held by college employees, and information on a person that was obtained when no longer a student (i.e., alumni records).
A student who wishes to review his or her education records should contact the Registrar’s Office and request to see his or her record. The student must provide the Registrar’s Office with a one business day advanced notice to view his or her education records.
Information Released Without Student Consent
The following is a list of those who are allowed disclosure of student information under the law, without the consent of the student.
- College employees who have a “legitimate educational interest”
- Accrediting organizations
- Organizations doing certain studies for or on behalf of the College
- Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student to determine eligibility, amount or conditions of financial aid, or to enforce the terms and conditions of aid
- School officials who have a need to know concerning disciplinary action taken against a student
- Individuals who have obtained a judicial order or subpoena
- Appropriate parties who need to know in cases of health and safety emergencies when necessary to protect the health and safety of the student and/or others
The College of Saint Rose may choose to disclose information on a student, known as “directory information,” without violating FERPA. Directory information is “information contained in an education record of a student which would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed” (1988 Final Regulations). A student may restrict the release of his/her directory information by submitting a request in writing to the Registrar’s Office to withhold such information.
Generally directory information includes:
- student name
- major field of study
- participation in officially recognized sports and activities
- dates of attendance
- photographic image
- enrollment status
- degrees and awards received
Directory information never includes: social security number, student ID number, race, ethnicity, nationality or gender.
FERPA Checklist for Faculty
Listed below are FERPA guidelines for faculty related to posting of grades, returning of tests and papers, and student education records.
- Never display student scores or grades publicly in association with names, student ID numbers (even the last 4 digits of the social security number) or other personal identifiers.
- Never put papers or lab reports containing student names and grades in publicly accessible places. Students should not have access to the scores and grades of others in the class.
- Never leave graded tests in a stack for students to pick up by sorting through papers for all students. You may leave them with an assistant to give out to the students and you may place each test in a sealed envelope with the student’s name on it.
- Never share student education record information, including grades or grade point averages, with other faculty or staff members of the College unless their official responsibilities identify their “legitimate educational interest” in that information for the student.
- Never provide anyone with student schedules or assist anyone other than college employees in finding a student on campus.
- Never share by phone or correspondence information from student education records, including grades or grade point averages, with parents or others outside the institution, including letters of recommendation (this includes the student’s written GPA or grade in your class), without written permission of the student. Never, as a matter of good practice, provide a grade to a student over the phone or by e-mail.
- Never circulate a printed class list with the students’ names, ID number or social security numbers as an attendance sheet.