Student Records and Privacy Rights
Confidentiality of Information
In accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, often referred to as the “Buckley Amendment” or FERPA, non-directory information regarding a student will not be released outside the college community without that student’s permission except in the limited circumstances stated within the act.
The University routinely publishes material classified as directory information that is permissible within FERPA. Such materials include the student directory, news stories on recipients of honors, a listing of participants in student activities, membership in campus organizations, and the like. Directory information may include majors, minors, dates of attendance, date of birth, email address, enrollment status (full-time or part-time), address, and date of graduation. Individuals, however, may request their name not appear in directory information by notifying the University Registrar’s Office in writing.
Third Party Access to Academic Records
Mid-term and final grade reports are available to students online. Midland University encourages its students to establish communication with their parents or guardians to keep them informed about their schedules and academic progress. As provided by FERPA, parents, guardians or another third party related to a Midland University student may obtain limited access to a student’s academic record if the student provides written permission to the Academic Affairs Office to release specified information.
FERPA (Family Education Right and Privacy Act)
Student records at Midland University are governed by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The following is a description of the rights of students and their parents under these regulations. The act extends to students and former students of the University the “right to inspect and review” their educational records. The Act forbids the University from releasing personal identifiable student educational records or files, or personal information contained in those files, without the student’s written consent, except in specified situations. The University has established procedures for granting a student’s request for access to the records within a reasonable time (no more than 45 days).
Disclosure of Information and Consent to Release
The University discloses information from a student’s educational records only with the student’s written consent, except to school officials with a legitimate educational interest in the records. A school official is defined as someone employed by Midland University in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research or support staff position, a member of the University’s Board of Trustees, or a person employed by or under contract to the University to perform a special task, such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agency. The university may forward educational records to other educational institutions when a student seeks to enroll or is enrolled.
A school official has a legitimate educational interest if that official is performing a task that is specified in the position description (or by a contract agreement), or is related to a student’s education, or to the discipline of a student. The official may also be providing a service or benefit to the student or student’s family, such as health care, counseling, job placement, or financial aid.
Additional examples include:
To officials of another school in which a student seeks enrollment;
To officials of the U.S. Department of Education, the Comptroller General, and state and local educational authorities, in connection with certain state or federally supported education programs;
In connection with a student’s request for financial aid (to determine the student’s eligibility or the amount/conditions of aid, or to enforce terms or conditions of the aid;
If disclosure is required by a state law adopted before FERPA (November 19, 1974), which therefore supersedes FERPA;
To organizations conducting certain studies on behalf of the University;
To accrediting organizations to carry out their functions;
To a parent, partner, or individual holding power of attorney that authorizes access to education records;
To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena. The University makes a reasonable effort to notify the student of the order or subpoena in advance of compliance;
To appropriate parties in a health or safety emergency.
As of January 3, 2012, the U.S. Department of Education’s FERPA regulations expand the circumstances under which education records and personally identifiable information (PII) contained in such records — including social security number, grades, or other private information — may be accessed without 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 records and PII without 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 education records and PII without consent to researchers performing certain types of studies, in certain cases even when we object to or do 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 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 consent PII from education records, and they may track participation in education and other programs by linking such PII to other personal information 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 may allow information to be released to specific individuals by completing the FERPA Consent Form, available from the University Registrar’s Office. Students may change their consent at any time.
Directory information is considered to be public information unless requested that it be kept confidential. Directory Information includes: first and last name, local address, permanent address, cell phone listing, permanent telephone listing, campus email address, photograph, date of birth, dates of attendance, major field(s) of study, class standing (First Year, So., Jr., Sr., etc.), participation in activities/sports, degree(s) received, awards and honors received, weight/height of members of athletic teams, enrollment status (e.g. undergraduate, graduate, full-time, part-time). Although the information listed above is considered public information, the university does not release lists of students or name-and-address labels to businesses or agencies outside the university. Likewise, the university does not release information regarding applicants to outside agencies.
If students do not want the University to release certain types of directory information without prior consent, they may choose to “opt-out” of this FERPA exception by completing a Directory Information Opt-Out request, as provided by the University Registrar’s Office. A student who has opted-out from the release of directory information, in accordance with this policy/procedure for opting out, will remain flagged until the student requests that the flag be removed by completing and submitting the revocation section of the Opt-Out request to the University Registrar’s Office. It is important to consider the potential consequences of restricting the release of directory information. If you restrict release of directory information, Midland University will be unable to place your name in publications such as honors and graduation programs, to confirm graduation and dates of attendance to potential employers, to verify enrollment with organizations such as insurance companies or to send notifications about specialized scholarships.
Requesting Access to Your Records
Students may request a copy of their educational records by presenting identification and a signed, formal written request to the University Registrar. The University Registrar determines the existence, location, and status of the records to which access is sought. Notification is given within 10 days regarding when the records will be made available for inspection. There may be occasions when the record may not be copied, if doing so may compromise another student’s or faculty member’s privacy.
Requesting an Amendment to Your Records
Students have the right to request an amendment to their records if they believe they are inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of privacy rights. Students should submit a signed, formally written request to the University Registrar. The written request should identify the portion of the record you want amended and reasons why you believe the record is inaccurate, misleading or in violation of privacy or other rights. If the request is denied, the University will notify the student of the right to a hearing to challenge the decision. The University schedules a hearing and notifies the student of the date, place, and time. Students are given full and fair opportunity to present evidence relevant to issues raised in the original amendment request. Students may be assisted by one or more individuals, including an attorney. The University prepares a written decision that includes a summary of the evidence presented and reasons for the decision. If the University decides the information in the record cannot be changed, students are notified that they can place a statement in their record to set forth their reasons for disagreement with the decision.
If the University decides that the information is inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the student’s right of privacy, the University will amend the record and notify the student, in writing, of such action.
If a student believes that FERPA rights have been violated, the student may file a written complaint with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Office:
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue SW
Washington, D.C. 20202