Albion College Policy on The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (The Act) of 1974 (as amended) is a federal law which states (a) that a written institutional policy must be established and (b) that a statement of adopted procedures covering the privacy rights of students be made available. The Act provides that the institution will maintain the confidentiality of student educational records and access to them by students.
FERPA Definition of Records
The Act defines education records as records, files, documents and other recorded materials which contain information directly related to a student and which are maintained by Albion College or a person acting for the College. The term education record does not include records of instructional, supervisory and administrative personnel and educational personnel ancillary thereto that are in the sole possession of the maker thereof and which are not accessible or revealed to any other person except a substitute; records on a student who is 18 years of age or older that are created or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist or other recognized professional or paraprofessional acting in a professional or paraprofessional capacity, or assisting in that capacity and in connection with the provision of treatment to the student, and are not available to anyone other than persons providing such treatment, provided, however, that such records can be personally reviewed by a physician or other appropriate professional of the student’s choice; records of students as employees unless the employment results from the employee’s status as a student; and alumni records.
Access to Records
FERPA accords all the rights under the Act to all students at the College. This includes 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. Albion College will make disclosures without consent in these circumstances.
- To school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is defined as a person employed by the College in an administrative, supervisory, academic or support staff position (including law enforcement unit and health and counseling staff); a person or company with whom the College has contracted (such as a company providing services with respect to financial aid awards, student insurance, or other administrative support and research services, including those related to student testing and retention; an attorney, auditor or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee; or a person assisting a school official in performing his/her tasks (such as employment responsibility). A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his/her professional responsibility.
- Upon request to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
- To persons or organizations providing students financial aid.
- To accrediting agencies carrying out their accrediting function.
- To persons in an emergency in order to protect the health or safety of students or other persons.
Albion College will also release information to be in compliance with a judicial order; this release will occur only after an attempt has been made to contact the student at the current campus or last known permanent address.
Under certain circumstances information may be released to parent(s)/guardian(s). On an annual basis, students are expected to notify the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs whether or not, for tax purposes, students are dependents claimed on the income tax return of their parent(s)/guardian(s). The vice president for student affairs will facilitate this notification process. A representative of the College may communicate with parent(s)/guardian(s) relative to the following circumstances: discontinuance of enrollment; medical (including psychiatric) and/or psychological examinations required for the maintenance of enrollment as determined by the vice president for student affairs; alleged violation of a College regulation that will likely result in suspension or expulsion from the College if the student is found responsible; absence from the campus when there is reason to be concerned for the student’s well-being because the student’s whereabouts are unknown; mid-term grades; academic or disciplinary probation; needed medical or psychological attention, the nature of which might jeopardize a student’s ability to maintain the status of enrolled. Parent(s) or guardian(s) in these cases will be defined as the individual the student has recorded as the parent(s) or guardian(s) on the admissions application or as emergency contacts. A student may change this designation at any time at the Registrar’s Office.
A record of all disclosures will be maintained in the student record, except when the request is made by (1) the eligible student, (2) a school official who has been determined to have a legitimate educational interest, (3) a party with written consent from the eligible student, or (4) a party seeking directory information. The record of each disclosure will contain the name of the parties who have requested or received information and the legitimate interest the parties had in requesting or obtaining the information.
A listing of the types, locations and custodians of education records follows.
The rights of this policy are extended to all students enrolling in Albion College after January 1, 1975.
Directory information is the property of Albion College. At its discretion, the College may provide directory information in accordance with the provisions of the Act to include: name, permanent home city and state, name of parent(s)/guardians(s), local address, local telephone number, e-mail address, dates of enrollment, degrees earned, dates of degrees, class year, majors, minors, concentrations, adviser, awards/honors/scholarships, photographs, sports and activities, and height and weight of members of athletic teams. The College, including faculty, staff, and students, may not release directory information to any party on or off campus if the intent is to contact students for purposes such as (a) to increase an agency’s membership, financial gain, or event promotion, and (b) to promote an individual’s candidacy. It should be known that it is the College’s choice to release this information, and careful consideration is given to all requests to insure that the information is not released indiscriminately. A student may withhold directory information by notifying the Registrar’s Office in writing within two weeks after the first day of class for the term.
Requests for non-disclosure will be honored by the institution for only one academic year; therefore, authorization to withhold directory information must be filed annually in the Registrar’s Office.
The Act provides students with the right to inspect and review information contained in their educational records, to challenge the contents of their educational records, to have a hearing if the outcome of the challenge is unsatisfactory, and to submit explanatory statements for inclusion in their files if they feel the decisions of the hearing panel to be unacceptable. The Registrar’s Office and the Vice President for Student Affairs’ Office have been designated by the institution to coordinate the inspection and review procedures for student educational records, which include admissions, personnel, academic and financial files, and placement records. Students wishing to review their education records must make written requests to the registrar or the vice president for student affairs, listing the item or items of interest. Records covered by the Act will be made available within 45 days of the request. All documents will be reviewed in the presence of a designated official. Any document a student may see he/she may have copies of, unless a financial hold exists, the document involves another person, or the student has waived his or her right to access. These copies would be made at the student’s expense at 10 cents a page.
As outlined by the Act, a student may not inspect and review the following: financial information submitted by parent(s)/guardian(s); letters of recommendation to which the student has waived the rights of inspection and review; or education records containing information about more than one student, in which case the institution will permit access only to that part of the record which pertains to the inquiring student. The institution is not required to permit a student to inspect and review confidential letters and recommendations placed in the files prior to January 1, 1975, provided the letters were collected under established policies of confidentiality and were used only for the purposes for which they were collected.
A student who believes that an education record contains information that is inaccurate or misleading or otherwise in violation of his/her privacy or other rights may ask the College to amend a record. The student should write the College official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record he/she wants changed, and specify why the student believes it is inaccurate or misleading. The College official should consult with the vice president for student affairs or the registrar. If the decisions of the College official are in agreement with the student’s request, the appropriate record will be amended. If not, the student will be notified within a reasonable period of time that the record will not be amended, and the student will be informed by the registrar or the vice president for student affairs of the right to a formal hearing. A request for a formal hearing must be made in writing to the chief academic officer (provost), who, within a reasonable period of time after receiving such request, will inform the student of the date, place and time of the hearing. Such a written request will be deemed a consent to disclosure to the hearing panel of the student’s record to the extent necessary for the appeal to be considered and decided. The hearing will be conducted according to the challenge procedure adopted by the College. At the hearing, the student may present evidence relevant to the issues raised and may be assisted or represented at the hearings by not more than two people of the student’s choice. The hearing panel that will adjudicate such challenges will be the chief academic officer (provost), the registrar if the challenge concerns a document maintained by the vice president for student affairs, the vice president for student affairs if the challenge concerns a document maintained by the registrar, two faculty members selected by the Faculty Steering Committee and two student members selected by Student Senate. No member of the hearing panel may have a direct interest in the outcome of the hearing.
Decisions of the hearing panel will be final, will be based solely on the evidence presented at the hearing, and will consist of a written determination which will include a summary of the evidence, the decision, and the reasons for the decisions, and will be delivered to all parties concerned. The panel may decide to revise or amend a record by inserting corrective information into the student’s file, or to allow a record to stand. If the decision is unsatisfactory to the student, the student may place with the education record statements commenting on the information in the record or statements setting forth any reasons for disagreeing with the decisions of the hearing panel. The statements will be placed in the education record, maintained as part of the student record, and released whenever the record in question is disclosed.
A student has the right to submit a written complaint to the Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW, Washington, D.C. 20202-4605, if the student believes the College has violated the student’s right under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act. Revisions, clarifications and changes may be made in this policy at any time and will be effective upon publication by e-mail, printed announcement distributed to all students, posting in a prominent location on campus, or any combination of those means, or publication in subsequent editions of the Student Handbook.
Students will be notified of their FERPA rights annually by publication in the Student Handbook.
Types, Locations and Custodians of Records
The following is a list of the types of records that the College maintains, their locations and their custodians.
||Vice President for Student Affairs Ferguson Building
|Cumulative Academic Records
||Registrar’s Office Ferguson Building
||Student Health Services Cass Street Building
||Counseling Services 616 E. Michigan Ave.
|Financial Aid Records
||Office of Financial Aid Ferguson Building
||Accounting Office Ferguson Building
||Career Development Ferguson Building
||Registrar’s Office Ferguson Building
||Faculty Office Individual Office
||Vice President for Student Affairs Ferguson Building
|Occasional Records (Student education records not included in the types above such as minutes of faculty committee meetings, copies of correspondence in offices not listed, etc.)
||Appropriate official will collect such records, direct the student to their location, or otherwise make them available for inspection and review
||The College official who maintains such occasional records
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