What is FERPA? It’s important information about your rights as a student.
FERPA refers to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. It relates to students’ rights concerning educational records and information. It is also called the Buckley Amendment, which became law in January 1975.
FERPA gives students the right to inspect and review their education records, including grade transcripts and other academic records. It also outlines rules for releasing and disclosing students’ information. If students believe their rights under FERPA have not been upheld, they may file a complaint with the United States Department of Education. If you wish to share your education records with anyone, including your family, you must complete the Student Waiver of FERPA Rights and return it to the Registrar for this purpose.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, commonly known as the Buckley Amendment or FERPA, regulates the use and disclosure of personal information in educational records and permits a student to know what material is maintained in those records. A copy of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act is on file in the Dean of Students office in Dickson-Palmer Center.
I. Student Rights to Inspect and Review
A. A student or former student may inspect and review his or her grade transcript, student personal record, and any other personally identifiable records maintained by Wingate University (collectively referred to a “education records”), with the exception of the following, which are not education records:
- Financial records of his parents or any information in those records.
- Confidential letters and statements of recommendation that were placed in the educational records prior to January 1, 1975.
- Medical records that are maintained by medical or mental health personnel solely for the purpose of treating the student. He may, however, have a physician or medical professional review the information in his medical record if he has reason to believe it may contain inaccurate, misleading or inappropriate information.
- Records created by and kept by a law enforcement unit of the university, if made and kept for the purpose of law enforcement.
- Records made by a teacher or administrator or ancillary personnel and kept in that person’s sole possession in a way that the records are not accessible or revealed to anyone else.
B. A student may direct any request for review of an education record to the university Registrar or to the university’s Vice President for Academic Affairs. Once a student has been allowed to inspect and review an education record, they may also request that the university official who is responsible for maintaining a particular record respond to their request for explanation and interpretation of the record.
C. A student may choose to waive their right to access confidential recommendations that are written to support an application for admission or financial aid, an application for an honor or recognition, a transfer or application to another institution, an application for employment, or similar application, PROVIDED:
- That the STUDENT either selects the persons to submit recommendations or, upon request, is notified of the names of all persons making such recommendations; and
- That the recommendations are used specifically and solely for the purpose for which they were specifically intended. A student may not be REQUIRED to waive right of access, under any condition.
D. If a student believes that inaccurate, misleading, or inappropriate information is included in their educational records, Wingate University will permit the student to insert into the record their written explanation concerning the content of such record. The university also will provide a means of correction or deletion of any information that is in fact inaccurate, misleading or inappropriate. (The student is expressly not permitted to challenge grades through this means, unless they wish to challenge the accuracy of institutional records which record the grade.) Initially, any challenge to a student record should be directed to the Vice President of Academic Affairs. The Vice President of Academic Affairs will seek informal resolution of the matter. If either the Vice President of Academic Affairs or the student requests it in writing, the Student Development Committee of the Wingate University Assembly shall conduct a formal hearing concerning any challenges to the student’s records as being inaccurate, misleading or inappropriate. Such a hearing shall be conducted and decided in writing within three weeks of the request. During the hearing, the student shall have a full and fair opportunity to present evidence relevant to the issues. If for any reason, the Student Development Committee shall be unable to convene a special committee to hear the matter, a group comprised of persons identified by the Student Development Committee who do not have a direct interest in the outcome of the matter may be assembled to hear the matter.
II. Rules Related to Disclosure and Release of Student Information
A. Wingate University generally may not release to any third party any personally identifiable information in a student’s education record. The only exceptions to this rule are as follows:
- The student has submitted a written consent to the release of such information.
- The release is being made to:
a. other educational agencies or institutions when (1) the disclosure is initiated by the student or (2) the agency or institution has requested the records, the student seeks to enroll or is already enrolled at such agency or institution, and the disclosure is for purposes related to the student’s enrollment or transfer
b. certain state and federal government officials stipulated by law
c. persons or agencies directly related to a student’s application for, or receipt of, financial assistance
d. accrediting organizations
e. parents of dependent students
f. any source if required to do so in compliance with judicial order or subpoena, provided that the student is notified of all such orders or subpoenas
g. health authorities, if, in the event of any emergency, knowledge of such information is necessary to protect the health or safety of a student or other persons, or
h. University officials (those carrying out official University business, whether paid or unpaid) who have a legitimate educational purpose in consulting the record (based on the need to access the record to perform the university business), or
- The information to be released is exclusively “directory information,” defined as:
a. the student’s name, address (including e-mail), telephone listing, and photograph
b. the student’s date and place of birth
c. the student’s major field of study
d. the student’s participation in official activities and sports; the height and weight of members of athletic teams; dates of attendance
e. degrees and awards received, and
f. the most recent previous school attended by the student
B. Any student may object to the designation of “directory information.” To do so, they must file within 20 days after the first day of classes in each semester a signed notice informing the university that any or all of the information described above should not be considered directory information about that specific student. The requests must be filed in the Office of the Registrar. Such requests for nondisclosure will only be honored by the university for the current enrollment period; therefore, a new request must be submitted each semester or term.
C. Each university official responsible for any type of educational record shall maintain a record of the persons or parties, other than those university personnel authorized in II.A.2.(h), requesting or obtaining access to a student’s educational records. The record of requested access is available only to the student, to the university official responsible for the custody of such records, and to that official’s assistants.
D. The university may disclose to the parent or legal guardian of a student under the age of 21, without the prior written consent of the student, information regarding any violation by the student of any federal, state, or local law or any rule or policy of the university governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance if the university has determined that the student has committed a disciplinary violation with respect to such use or possession.
E. The university may disclose, without prior written consent of the student, final results of disciplinary proceedings against the student who is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence (18 U.S.C. § 16) or a non-forcible sex offense if the university finds the student committed a violation of the university’s rules or policies with respect to such crime or offense. The information shall include only the name of the student, the violation committed, and any sanctions imposed by the university on the student. The university may include the name of any other student such as a victim or witness, only with the written consent of that other student.
Any person who believes that the university has failed to comply with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, or with the regulations of the Department of Education, 34 C.F.R. Part 99, may file a complaint with the Department of Education under 34 C.F.R. #99.63 and 99.64.