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 Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)


What is FERPA?
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that sets forth requirements regarding the privacy of student records. FERPA governs the release of these records (known as education records) maintained by an educational institution and access to these records. When a student turns 18 years old, or enters a postsecondary institution at any age, the rights under FERPA transfer from the parents to the student. The FERPA statute is found at 20 U.S.C § 1232g and the FERPA regulations are found at 34 CFR Part 99. http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/faq.html

What constitutes an education record?
An education record is any record that contains information directly related to a student that is maintained by the institution. This includes, but is not limited to, grade information, disciplinary documentation, billing, financial aid data, and medical records.

What are the rights of students?
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, protects the privacy of student education records. It gives students the right to inspect and review their educational records; the right to request the amendment of their education records that students believe are inaccurate or misleading; the right to consent to disclosure of personally identifiable information contained in the education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent; and the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the university to comply with the requirements of FERPA. Ultimately, an institution's failure to comply with FERPA can mean the withdrawal of federal funds by the Department of Education.

What procedures should students follow to inspect and review their education records?

Students should submit to the record custodian or an appropriate University staff person a written request which identifies as precisely as possible the record or records they wish to inspect. The record custodian or an appropriate University staff person will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.  If the records are not maintained in the University Registrar's Office, the University Registrar will advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.  Access must be given within 45 days of the day the University received a request for access. 

 

Under what circumstances may an institution disclose information from education records without consent?

There are several exceptions to FERPA's general prior consent rule that are set for in the statute and the regulations. See § 99.31 of the FERPA regulations. One exception is the disclosure of "directory information" as set forth in FERPA guidelines. (34 CFR § 99.31(a) (11).)

 

What is directory information?
FERPA defines "directory information" as information contained in the education records of a student that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. Northwestern State University defines directory information as the following: student's name; mailing address; e-mail address; photograph; telephone number; dates of attendance; enrollment status (e.g., undergraduate or graduate, full-time, or part-time); major field of study; participation in officially recognized activities and sports; weight and height of members of athletic teams; degrees, honors and awards received, including naming to honor rolls; and the most recent educational agency or institution attended.

How do students notify the university that they would like their directory information handled as confidential information?
Students may choose to have their directory information marked confidential at any time by printing the "Request to Prevent Disclosure of Directory Information" form, completing, signing, dating, and mailing or faxing the form to the University Registrar's Office.

What do students do if they would like one or more of their parent(s) or guardian(s) to have access to the information contained in their education record?
Students can print the "FERPA Student Consent for Access to Education Records" form, complete, sign, date, and mail or fax the form to the University Registrar's Office.

Can the consent form be submitted online?
No.  Students can print the "FERPA Student Consent for Access to Education Records" form, complete, sign, date, and mail or fax the form to the University Registrar's Office.

How long will the consent be in effect?
Consent will remain in effect until a student submits a notification in writing revoking their consent.

How do students revoke their consent to release information?
Students can print the "FERPA Student Consent for Access to Education Records" form, complete, (including the revocation section), sign, date, and mail or fax the form to the University Registrar's Office.

Where can I get more information regarding FERPA?
This guide has been developed based upon information that has come mainly from the U.S. Department of Education's Family Compliance Policy Office's (FPCO) website.

 Name and address of the office that administers FERPA:

     Family Policy Compliance Office
               U.S. Department of Education
               400 Maryland Ave., SW
               Washington, D.C. 20202-5920

Northwestern State University School Officials

Northwestern State University defines School Officials as "those who have a legitimate educational interest.  This includes faculty, administrators, classified and unclassified employees, legal counsel, auditors, undergraduate student workers, graduate assistants, contractors, volunteers, and other non- employees performing institutional services and functions within the course and scope of their employment and authority."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 TYPES, LOCATIONS, AND CUSTODIANS OF EDUCATION RECORDS

Record Type

Location

Custodian

Academic Records

University Registrar's Office

Student Services Center, Suite 308

Natchitoches, LA  71497

University Registrar

Financial Records

Financial Aid Office

Student Services Center, Suite 212

Natchitoches, LA  71497

Director of Financial Aid

Disciplinary Records

Student Services

309 Friedman Student Union

Natchitoches, LA  71497

Dean of Students

Health Records

Health Services

111 Infirmary

Natchitoches, LA  71497

Director of Health Services

Student Account Records

Student Accounting

Student Services Center, Suite 336

Natchitoches, LA  71497

Bursar of Business Affairs