FERPA

Statement Regarding the Privacy Rights and Confidentiality of Student Records

What is FERPA?

The Family Educational Right and Privacy Act of 1974, also known as the Buckley Amendment, protects the privacy of student records.  The Act provides for the right to inspect and review education records, the right to seek to amend those records, and to limit disclosure of information for the records.  The Act applies to all institutions that are the recipients of federal funding. The regulations for FERPA can be found at: http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html.

Who is protected under FERPA?

Students who are currently enrolled in higher education institutions or formerly enrolled, regardless of their age or status in regard to parental dependency.  Students who have applied but have not attended an institution do not have rights under FERPA.

What are the rights of a student under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act?

  • The right to inspect and review the student’s educational records within 45 days of the day the School receives the request for access. Rolf Institute student should submit to the Director of Education a written request that identifies the record he/she wishes to inspect. The Director of Education will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the record may be inspected. If the record to be inspected is not maintained by the Director of Education, the student will be advised of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
     
  • The right to request amendment of the student’s educational records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading. A student should write to the Director of Education responsible for the record; clearly identify the part of the record he/she wants amended, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the Rolf Institute decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the student will be notified of the decision and advised of his/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
     
  • The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in a student’s educational records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. Disclosure without consent is granted to the Rolf Institute officials with legitimate educational interests. A Rolf Institute official is a person employed by the Rolf Institute in an administrative, supervisory, academic, or support staff position or a student assisting another  Rolf Institute official in performing his/her tasks, i.e. a teaching assistant.  A Rolf Institute official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review a record in order to fulfill his/her professional responsibility.
     
  • The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by The Rolf Institute 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 20202-5901

What are education records?

With certain exceptions, a student has rights of access to those records which are directly related to him/her and which are maintained by an education institution or party authorized to keep records for the institution.  “Educational Records” generally include any records in the possession of the institution which contain information directly related to a student..

What is NOT included in an education record?

  • sole-possession records or private notes held by education personnel
  • law enforcement or campus security records which are solely for law enforcement purposes
  • records relating to an individual’s employment by the institution (unless employment is contingent on student status)
  • records relating to treatment provided by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional and disclosed only to individuals providing treatment
  • records of an institution which contain only information about an individual obtained after that person is no longer a student at that institution (i.e. alumni records).

What documents can be removed from an education record before the student views the record?

  • any information that pertains to another student
  • financial records of the student’s parents
  • some confidential letters and statements of recommendation under conditions described in FERPA section 99.12.

What is directory information?

Institutions may disclose information on a student without violating FERPA through what is known as “directory information.”  At RISI this includes a student’s name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, major field of study, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, full or half-time status and recent previous school attended.  Each institution is required to annually notify students in attendance of what constitutes directory information.  This notice must also provide procedures for students to restrict the institution from releasing his/her directory information.

Who would generally be permitted access without the student’s written consent?

  • school officials who have “legitimate educational interests”.
  • Parents of a “dependent student” as defined by the Internal Revenue Code.
  • The issuer of a judicial order or subpoena which allows the institution to release records without the student’s consent.  However, a “reasonable effort” must generally be made to notify the student before complying with the order.

When do you need consent to disclose personally identifiable information from an education record (including transcripts)?

With specific exceptions, a signed and dated consent by the student must be provided by the student before any disclosure is made.

The written consent must:
a) specify the records that may be disclosed
b) state the purpose of disclosure
c) identify the party or class of parties to whom the disclosure may be made.

What is “personally identifiable information”?

  • the student’s name
  • name of the student’s parent or other family members
  • address of the student or student’s family
  • a personal identifier, such as a social security number or student number
  • a list of personal characteristics that would make the student’s identity easily traceable.

When is the student’s consent NOT required to disclose information?

The exceptions are:

  • to RISI faculty, staff, and administrators with a legitimate educational interest
  • to parents of a dependent student – dependent is defined as claimed by parent(s) with IRS
  • to Federal, State, and local education authorities involving an audit or evaluation of compliance with education programs
  • in connection with processing Financial Aid loans
  • to organizations conducting studies for or on behalf of education institutions
  • to accrediting organizations
  • to comply with judicial order or subpoena
  • health or safety emergency
  • director information
  • to the student
  • results of disciplinary hearing to an alleged victim of a crime of violence.

Requests to disclose will always be handled with caution and approached on a case-by-case basis.