FERPA - Privacy and Release of Student Information

FERPA - Privacy and Release of Student Information

I. Purpose and scope of the statement:

  1. Purpose—This statement establishes updated guidelines for the University on the matter of confidentiality of student records. It has been developed in the light of legislation concerning access to and release of information maintained in student records in institutions of higher learning (the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974). Any questions on these policies should be referred to the University Registrar.
  2. Scope—These policies encompass all student records maintained by the University. They apply to all students, current or former, at Appalachian State University.

II. University policy regarding confidentiality of student information:

  1. In response to inquiries from the general public, such as prospective employers, credit investigators, etc., only the following directory information is released without the student's permission: "the student's name; local and permanent telephone listing; permanent address; University post office box number; E-mail address; academic classification; enrollment status during a particular academic term (i.e., full-time or part-time); field(s) of study; dates of attendance; degrees, honors and awards received; participation in officially recognized activities and sports; weight, height, athletic statistics and photographic representations of members of athletic teams."
  2. Transcripts are released only upon the written request of the student. Transcripts will not be released if the student is financially indebted to the University.
  3. A student has the right to inspect the contents of her/his educational records with the exception of documents submitted to the University in confidence prior to January 1, 1975. Transcripts on file from other institutions are property of Appalachian and will not be returned to the student or sent elsewhere at her/his request.
  4. If parents or guardians request academic or personal information other than that specified in statement II.A., the request will not be honored without the student's written permission unless the parent can present evidence of the student's being dependent upon the parent for support as defined by the Federal Internal Revenue code.
  5. As of January 3, 2012, the U.S. Department of Education's FERPA regulations expand the circumstances under which a student's education records and personally identifiable information (PII) contained in such records — including a student's Social Security Number, grades, or other private information — may be accessed without the student's consent. First, the U.S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or state and local education authorities ("Federal and State Authorities") may allow access to a student's records and PII without the student's consent to any third party designated by a Federal or State Authority to evaluate a federal- or state-supported education program. The evaluation may relate to any program that is "principally engaged in the provision of education," such as early childhood education and job training, as well as any program that is administered by an education agency or institution. Second, Federal and State Authorities may allow access to a student's education records and PII without the student's consent to researchers performing certain types of studies, in certain cases even when the University objects to or does not request such research. Federal and State Authorities must obtain certain use-restriction and data security promises from the entities that they authorize to receive a student's PII, but the Authorities need not maintain direct control over such entities. In addition, in connection with Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems, State Authorities may collect, compile, permanently retain, and share without a student's consent PII from the student's education records, and they may track a student's participation in education and other programs by linking such PII to other personal information about the student that they obtain from other Federal or State data sources, including workforce development, unemployment insurance, child welfare, juvenile justice, military service, and migrant student records systems.

Students' Education Records at The University of North Carolina General Administration

Certain personally identifiable information about students ("education records") may be maintained at The University of North Carolina General Administration, which serves the Board of Governors of the University system. This student information may be the same as, or derivative of, information maintained by a constituent institution of the University; or it may be additional information. Whatever their origins, education records maintained at The University of North Carolina General Administration are subject to the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA).

FERPA provides that a student may inspect her or his education records. If the student finds the records to be inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student's privacy rights, the student may request amendment to the record. FERPA also provides that a student's personally identifiable information may not be released to someone else unless (1) the student has given a proper consent for disclosure or (2) provisions of FERPA or federal regulations issued pursuant to FERPA permit the information to be released without the student's consent. A student may file with the U.S. Department of Education a complaint concerning failure of The University of North Carolina General Administration or an institution to comply with FERPA. The policies of The University of North Carolina General Administration concerning FERPA may be inspected in the office at each constituent institution designated to maintain the FERPA policies of the institution. Policies of The UNC General Administration may also be accessed in the Office of the Secretary of The University of North Carolina, General Administration, 910 Raleigh Road, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Further details about FERPA and FERPA procedures are to be found at The UNC General Administration in the referenced policies. Questions about the policies may be directed to the Legal Affairs Division, The University of North Carolina, General Administration, 910 Raleigh Road, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. (Mailing address: P.O. Box 2688, Chapel Hill, NC 27515-2688; Tel: 919-962-4588).