Jul 18, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
    
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

FERPA & Confidentiality of Educational Records


Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974

FERPA Coodinator: Marnie Owen, Registrar & Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (commonly known as FERPA, and sometimes referred to as the Buckley Amendment) pertains to student educational records maintained by institutions of higher education, including Saint Michael’s College. The act affords students certain rights with respect to their educational records, including the right to access those records. At the same time, FERPA protects the students’ rights to privacy by limiting access to their records without their consent. The following guidelines are presented to assist all members of the Saint Michael’s community in understanding the provisions of the act as they apply to Saint Michael’s College.

College Policy on Student Access to Educational Records

All current and former students will have access to their educational records upon written request to the applicable office. Each office will comply with all requests within a reasonable length of time, but not later than 45 days from the date of receipt of the written request. Educational records include academic records, confidential letters and statements.

Records not covered by the act include any record received prior to January 1, 1975, financial records of parents, private notes of faculty and administrative officers, law enforcement records, and medical or psychiatric records. A physician or psychiatrist may review medical or psychiatric records if requested by a student.

Students may waive, in writing, access to recommendations and evaluations. A waiver must be filed with each individual office. The act does not provide for blanket waivers of access to all educational records.

A student who requests access to an educational record is expected to present valid identification.

College Policy on Release of Confidential Records

Saint Michae’s College will not release any educational record concerning any student or former student without without a written or electronic release. Exceptions to this policy are:

  1. Faculty, staff, administrator, other professional or service provider employed by or contracted with the College having legitimate educational interests in the record.
  2. Authorized federal and state officials in the process of administering educational programs.
  3. Requirements of administration of the Financial Aid Program.
  4. Accrediting organizations in carrying out their accrediting function.
  5. Parents providing documentation that the student is a dependent.
  6. Directory information (see below).
  7. Organizations conducting studies on educational programs, provided that the identity of the student is not revealed.
  8. In an emergency situation involving the health or safety of the student or other persons.

The College will advise all recipients of student records that only authorized persons may see the records. Each College office will keep a record of all individuals requesting or receiving student records except as noted in item number one above.

Students who wish to give a blanket authorization for the College to share information from the educational record with parents, legal guardians or other designated persons may file a form with the Registrar’s Office.

Directory Information

The College will, in the course of the school year, release to the public certain information regarded as directory data. If a student does not want this information publicized, he/she must request directory exclusion in writing on an annual basis. Saint Michael’s College considers the following to be Directory Information:

Name Class Degrees (Including Dates)
Address Enrollment Status Previous School Attendance
Telephone Number Major and/or Minor Participation in Sports & Activities
Email Address Honors & Awards (Including Dean’s List) Height/Weight (Athletic Team Members Only)
Place of Birth Dates of Attendance  

Hearings

Students may challenge any educational record that they feel to be inaccurate, misleading, or a violation of privacy. This policy does not apply to academic grades received for coursework except when there is reason to believe that an error was made in recording grades to the transcript.

When a student desires to challenge a record, every effort should be made to resolve the question with the office involved. If this is not possible, the student must submit a written statement to the institution’s FERPA coordinator outlining the alleged inaccurate, misleading or inappropriate data or statement contained in the record. The coordinator will appoint an impartial college official who will conduct a hearing within 45 days of receipt of the written request. The results of the hearing will be transmitted in writing to the student and all other parties involved. The student may appeal the decision to the President of Saint Michael’s College. The President’s decision will be final.

The above policy statement is subject to amendment with approval by the Board of Trustees.