Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) is a federal privacy law affording students certain rights with respect to their education records. St. John's College strives for full compliance with this law. The Admissions Administrator/Registrar serves as the Institutional FERPA Compliance Officer.
Definition of Education Records
The definition of "education records" is any record maintained by the college that is directly related to a student. However, there are some caveats, and the following types of records are not included within the definition of education records:
- Records kept in the sole possession of the maker, that are used only as a personal memory aid, and are not accessible or revealed to any other person except a temporary substitute for the maker of the record; Records of the college's law enforcement unit that are created by it for law enforcement purposes and maintained by it;
- Records relating to an individual who is employed by the college (except if the individual is a student employed as a result of his or her status as a student) that are made maintained in the normal course of business, relate exclusively to the individual in that individual's capacity as an employee and are not available for any other purpose;
- Records on a student 18 years of age or older made or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist or other recognized professional capacity so long as the records are made, maintained or used only in connection with treatment of the student and are disclosed only to individuals providing treatment;
- Records created or received by this college after the student is no longer in attendance and are not directly related to the individual's attendance as a student.
Students Rights Under FERPA
Students at St. John's College have the following rights under FERPA:
- The right to inspect and review the students' education records within 45 days of the day the college receives a request for access. A student should submit to the Admissions Administrator/Registrar a written request should be addressed. The Admissions Administrator/Registrar, or other appropriate college official, will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. The college reserves the right to have a school official present during a student's review of his or her education records.
- The right of inspection and access does not extend to the financial records of a student's parents. Also, certain restrictions apply to a student's access to confidential letters and confidential statements of recommendation placed in a student's education records
- The right to request the amendment of the student's education records that the student believes is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student's privacy rights under FERPA. A students who wishes to ask the college to amend a record should write the college official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record the student wants changed, and specify why it should be changed. If the college decides not to amend the record as request, the college will notify the students in writing of the decision and the student's 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. A student will have the opportunity to include explanatory comments with an education record that he or she believes should have been amended by the college has decided not to modify following a hearing.
- Requesting an amendment to an education record is not the proper avenue for challenging course grades. A student may challenge a final course grade by using the College's Academic Appeals Policy.
- The right to provide written consent before the College discloses personally identifiable information from the students education records except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. Below is a non-exhaustive list of parties and conditions under which FERPA allows the College to disclose education records without consent (other exceptions can be found at 34 CFR § 99.31):
- To school officials with legitimate educational interest. A school official is defined at the college as a person employed by the college in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the college has contracted as its agent to provide a service instead of using college employees or officials (such as attorney, auditor, or collections agent); a person serving on the board of directors; or a student serving on an official committee, such as disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official typically has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities for the college.
- To officials at another college or postsecondary institution where the student seeks or intends to enroll or has enrolled.
- To appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student.
- To accrediting organizations
- To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena
- To parents of a dependent student under the Internal Revenue Code.
- When there is an articulable and significant threat to the health or safety of a student or other individuals
- When the information has been classified by the College as "directory information" (see below for more discussion and directory information).
- Students may authorize the release of education records protected by FERPA to designated parties by using the College's FERPA form, available upon request form.
- The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the college 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
Directory information is data about a student which can be released without prior consent because it would not generally be considered to be harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. The college designates the following items as directory information: Name, address, telephone number, dates of attendance/class standing, previous institutions attended, major, degree, awards, and honors.
Unless the college has been notified by the student that directory information about himself/herself is not to be released, the college may release such information at its discretion and without further permission. Note, however, that the college reserves the right to not disclose directory information in some situations or may choose to limit the scope of the release to specific parties, for specific purposes, or both, even if a student has not opted-out of such disclosures. Students who do not wish to permit the distribution of such information should notify the Admissions Administrator/Registrar within two weeks of the start of classes each semester. Students may request that all or part of his or her directory information not be released.
The college will honor all request to withhold any of the categories of directory information listed in the completed form, but will not assume any responsibility to contact the student for subsequent permission to release the information. Regardless of the effect on the student, the college assumes no liability for honoring a request of the student to restrict the disclosure of directory information.
Notwithstanding the above, a student may not opt-out of the disclosure of the student's name, identifier or college email address in a class in which the student is enrolled.