FERPA Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (also known as the Buckley Amendment)

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FERPA Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (also known as the Buckley Amendment). EKU Office of the Registrar. Review the basics rights under FERPA Look at recent federal clarifications Discuss some case studies Take a FERPA quiz. FERPA at EKU.
FERPAFamily Educational Rights and Privacy Actof 1974(also known as the Buckley Amendment)EKU Office of the RegistrarReview the basics rights under FERPA
  • Look at recent federal clarifications
  • Discuss some case studies
  • Take a FERPA quiz
  • FERPA at EKU
  • Employees with access to student records are expected to successfully complete FERPA training
  • Training should be renewed every three years
  • Access to student records in Banner and DegreeWorks is contingent upon current FERPA knowledge
  • What is FERPA?A Federal Law designed to protect the privacy of education records.Three basic FERPA rights:
  • Students have a right to inspect & review their educational record.
  • a) Inspect and review within 45 days of the request to inspect.b) Students do NOT have the right under FERPA to:
  • inspect financial records of parents;
  • letters of recommendation when the student has waived, in writing, their right of access;
  • information about other students
  • Three basic FERPA rights:
  • Seek to amend - address perceived inaccurate and misleading data.
  • Right to a hearing if school refuses to amend record.
  • Right to insert a statement.
  • This is NOT a right to dispute unsatisfactory grade by a teacher.
  • Three basic FERPA rights:3. Have some measure of control over disclosure of information from their educational record.
  • Student’s written permission is required before releasing information from their record.
  • Consent must:
  • Specify the records that may be disclosed (e.g. grades, health, advising, disciplinary)
  • State the purpose of the disclosure
  • Identify the party or class of parties to whom a disclosure may be made
  • eligible student
  • education record
  • directory information
  • personally identifiable data
  • school official
  • “eligible student” An “eligible student” is a student who is or has been in attendance at EKU. Applicants for admission do not have FERPA rights.
  • “in attendance” = enrolled as of the first day of class (and therefore has FERPA rights)
  • An individual is a student only of the particular school or division in which she is “enrolled and attending”.
  • Example:
  • An EKU undergraduate student applies to EKU Graduate School.
  • Student has no FERPA rights to his/her graduate admission records unless admitted and attending EKU graduate school.
  • Until student starts classes in the graduate school he/she would have FERPA rights only with his/her undergraduate records.
  • “eligible student”FERPA is in effect - regardless of age.
  • Once a student matriculates FERPA rights revert from parent to student.
  • High school students taking college classes have FERPA rights.
  • However the high school & postsecondary institution may exchange information on student without student’s written consent.
  • Parental access would be gained through the high school.
  • “educational record”Educational records are:
  • Any record or materials which contain information where a student can be personally identified AND
  • Are maintained by any office, employee, or agent of the university.
  • Electronic - an archived email about a student is an educational record and subject to FERPA.
  • Printed.
  • Handwritten notes.
  • Film, CD's, etc.
  • Video conference, internet, other electronic data.
  • Tests, quizzes, instructors' grade books.
  • Exceptions to “educational record”:A. Sole Possession Notes: (aka Sole Source Notes)
  • Kept in the sole possession of the person who created them.
  • Notes an instructor or staff member keeps -
  • notes on a student that no one else sees, never shared.
  • no one else was involved when creating the notes.
  • Once shared with someone, or placed in an area where may be accessed by others they become educational records – and subject to FERPA and to subpoena.
  • Best advice: If you don’t want it reviewed, don’t write it down.11More exceptions to “educational record”:B. Law Enforcement Records.
  • Kept apart, only for law enforcement purposes.
  • Once shared with EKU administrators/staff/faculty (e.g. submitted for a committee to review) they become part of student’s educational record.
  • C. Medical Treatment Records: Records created by an EKU health facility but used only by professionals and disclosed only to individuals providing treatment.
  • Can become educational record if provided by student, e.g. to a committee or to an instructor.
  • Disclosure of “treatment records” are subject to FERPA not HIPPAA. Any record subject to FERPA is not subject to HIPPAA.
  • Disability records are educational records, not treatment records.
  • 12More exceptions to “educational record”:D. Alumni Records:
  • Only that information acquired after student has left university.
  • All information gathered during time the alum was a student remains protected by FERPA as part of the educational record.
  • E. Employee Records:
  • Unless the employment is contingent upon school attendance, (e.g. GA records, work study records) then human resource records are not subject to FERPA.
  • “directory information”generally considered not to be harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosedEKU catalog defines “directory information” as:Student’s nameMailing address (but never residence hall address)Telephone numberEmail addressDate/place of birthMajor field of studyParticipation in officially recognized activities and sportsHeight/weight of athletic team membersDates of attendance (enrollment verification)Degrees and awards receivedMost recent educational institution attendedIf it is not on this list – don’t release it!FERPA rules regarding directory information:
  • Students must be notified of the items of directory information, (seeEKU catalog).
  • If a data element isn’t explicitly defined as directory information, (see EKU catalog) - it is not directory information.
  • So it cannot be released withoutthe student’s written permission is obtained.
  • Unless the release can be justified under one of the exceptions in FERPA. (e.g. school officials, regarding financial aid application, subpoena.)
  • directory information rules…..
  • Students must be given the opportunity to request that directory information NOT be released.
  • At EKU this is the Banner CONFIDENTIALITY flag.
  • Banner CONFIDENTIALITY flag applies to non-disclosure of directory information only.
  • CONFIDENTIALITY is requested, in writing, at the Registrar’s Office and once in effect remains so until revoked by the student, in writing.
  • All or nothing – can’t pick and choose directory items.
  • directory information rules…..If you see the Confidentiality box in Banner:
  • Suggested response:
  • “I have no information that I can release related to that individual.”
  • Do not even confirm they are a student.
  • Sometimes these are situations involving personal safety.
  • By law these are neverdirectory information:
  • Student ID numbers
  • Social Security Number
  • Race/ethnicity
  • Gender
  • Grades
  • GPA
  • Country of citizenship/nationality
  • Religion
  • Academic Standing
  • The above are always subject to FERPA protection!
  • “personally identifiable data”
  • A data element unique to that individual: Social Security Number or EKU student ID number are “personal identifiers”.
  • Direct identifiers: name of the student, the student’s parent, or other family members.
  • Indirect identifiers: date of birth, place of birth, mother’s maiden name, etc.
  • The student’s campus (residence hall) or home address.
  • A list of personal characteristics or other information which alone of in combination would make the student’s identity easily traceable.
  • While some of these may be directory information you cannot release any items that if disclosed alone, or together with another data element, would allow “a reasonable person to reasonably identify” an individual… per Jan.2009 US DOE FERPA clarifications19Review: basic student FERPA rights
  • Right to inspect and review everything in their record.
  • Right to request changes to their educational records.
  • Right to appeal a decision of the university to not make requested changes.
  • Right of some control over the disclosure of information from their education record.
  • Without a student's written permission, it is a violation of FERPA to release non-directory information to third parties (unless an exception provided by statute).
  • Parents are a “third party”.
  • What about parents?
  • Right of access and control of information transfers from the parent, to the student, when a student begins attending a postsecondary institution (regardless of age).
  • Parents may obtain non-directory information, (grades, etc.), by obtaining a signed written consent from the student.
  • Parents may obtain non-directory information (grades, etc.) after it has been determined that their child is legally their dependent, (IRS Tax form), at the discretion of the institution - not required to do so (may vs must).
  • EKU recognizes the desire of many parents to have access to their student’s information – academic and financial.
  • Academic student records of current students are viewable through EKUDirect.
  • EKU has “Web-4-Parent” to accommodate students who wish to make their information viewable to their parents.
  • EKU Web-4-Parent: FERPA compliant parental access to educational records
  • A software tool that allows an EKU student to give view-only access a his/her academic and financial records in EKUDirect.
  • Parents gain 24/7 access to the information they desire, the student retains control over the access.
  • These accounts can be set up through the EKU Registrar’s Office and require the written permission of the student.
  • FERPA exceptions to written consent rule:Written consent to release non-directory information is NOT required from the student when it involves:
  • A “school official” with a legitimate educational interest or education related "need to know“.
  • Other institutions where student has applied for admission, e.g. requesting information such as a transcript.
  • U.S. Department of Education, or state/local education authorities (e.g. CPE).
  • Student’s request for financial aid, e.g. sending data to National Student Clearinghouse.
  • Protecting the health or safety of the student or others.
  • When there is an “articulable and significant threat” to the health or safety of a student or other individuals.
  • In an emergency FERPA allows a school disclose information to appropriate parties without student consent (e.g. law enforcement, medical personnel).
  • When written permission not required cont….6. State/local officials in conjunction with legislative requirements.7. To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena.8. To the victim of an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence, or nonforcible sex offense. (Clery Act)
  • Only the final results of the disciplinary proceeding conducted by the institution with respect to alleged crime/offense.
  • To parents of a student < 21 yrs., in connection with use or possession of alcohol or controlled substance in violation of law or policy.
  • Who is a “school official”……A school official can be:University administrator, faculty, or support staff, (including law enforcement and health staff personnel).Board of Trustees.Company or individual contracted by college to perform a special task such as the attorney, auditor, or collection agency. Must be under direct control of the university.Student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks.FERPA expectations of EKU:
  • Expectation of security. That information in education records will be kept confidential.
  • Expectation that institutions use “reasonable methods” to limit access of “school officials” to only those records where there is a legitimate educational interest.
  • Expectation of tracking access to records – school is responsible for ensuring that it is taking appropriate measures to restrict and record access and disclosures.
  • Expectation of usage of “reasonable methods” to authenticate identify of parents, students, school officials, etc. to whom educational records are disclosed.
  • EKU FERPA responsibilities:
  • Access to Banner, or any other repository of student records where you work, does NOT authorize unrestricted use of that student data.
  • Records should be used only in context of official business.
  • Curiosity does NOT qualify as legal right to know.
  • When in doubt do not release information, directory or otherwise, feel free to contact the Registrar’s Office of the University Counsel Office.
  • Oops!- an inappropriate release of information - could harm a student if they have a need for confidentiality; or result in a violation of federal law and such complaints trigger federal FERPA audits.
  • Notes for Faculty & Staff:GRADES:
  • Protect a student’s grades from being accessible by others. Never post or leave in pick-up boxes with public access.
  • EMAIL:
  • Do not discuss a student’s academic record via email unless it is an email site with a reasonable level of security and authenticates the user’s identity:
  • EKU email, (XXXX@eku.edu)
  • Military email, (XXXX@us.mil.gov)
  • Another university email address, (XXXX@!!!.edu)
  • Never release academic record information to a spouse without written permission of the student or power of attorney. Spouses have no rights to information.
  • When in doubt refer the parent or spouse to the Registrar or University Counsel.Balancing Student Privacy and School Safety….. perU.S. Department of Education, 2007.A school official (includes faculty) can in general share with a parent personal knowledge or an observation about a behavior of a student without a student’s written consent.Examples:OK to speak to responsible parties about observations or direct information.
  • You see two students get into a fight.
  • You observe a student to be non-responsive in class and you are afraid he may have some major issues going on.
  • A student tells you something directly, and you are concerned.
  • Not OK to share anything derived from their academic record.
  • You know from personal knowledge that a student is flunking.
  • You cannot share this because that information comes from his academic record.
  • You have knowledge of this because of your access to his academic record, (e.g. instructor, dept/college staff, advisor).
  • Question…..Scenario:Local police call, a person claiming to be a student has been arrested.
  • You know that the police has a policy of releasing an arrested student for minor infractions, (what is involved in this case), if they can verify that the person is a student.
  • You check Banner and find the person is currently enrolled at EKU but has a CONFIDENTIALITY flag.
  • Do you verify to the officer that this person is a student?Resolution…….You respond:“I have no information that I can release on that individual.”You are honoring the student’s FERPA right of non-disclosure.Question…..….True or False?
  • Deceased student’s educational records are still protected under FERPA.
  • Answer….False.
  • The privacy interests of an individual expire with that individual’s death.
  • So, NO deceased students are not protected by FERPA.
  • Consider this hypothetical situation…..….A faculty member has an emergency and must leave class before distributing test results to his students. He leaves the graded exams in a pile on the desk and instructs the student to pick them up themselves.Is this distribution method in compliance with FERPA?Answer….NO – This method of grade distribution is a VIOLATION of FERPA and could subject he faculty and the University to a formal complaint.Why? Because while trying to locate their own exam results the students would have access to other student’s data.Question……..Someone calls claiming they are a student and want you to discuss information from their educational record….they offer to give you the last 4 digits of the SSN as they do not remember their EKU ID?Can you verify their identity based upon the last 4 digits of the SSN, and their name?Would this practice be FERPA compliant?Answer…………NO – you may not do this.“ confirming directory information based on the last four digits of the SSN would not be permitted under FERPA.  This equates to confirming the SSN which the new regulations specifically prohibit, absent written consent from the student.” LeRoy S. Rooker, Senior Fellow AACRAO and former director of U.S. DOE FERPA Compliance Office.True or False:1. A student has a right to inspect information in his or her file in the Registrar’s Office and in his or her academic home department or college. TRUE2. Faculty have a right to inspect education records of any student attending EKU without giving a reason.FALSE = only if they have a legitimate educational purpose3. EKU must release, to anyone, upon request, any information identified as directory information by the institution.FALSE = they “may” , it is at the discretion of the institution4. A former student has the same right to inspect and review his record as a student currently attending EKU.TRUEMore True or False….5. Currently attending EKU students have the right under FERPA to request that all of their educational records not be disclosed, to anyone, and EKU must comply.FALSE = confidentiality rights only apply to directory information6. Parents may obtain confidential information from their student’s academic record.TRUE = if student is dependent EKU “may” legally decide to release information7. An EKU student’s degree can be confirmed to some external source without first obtaining the permission of the student.TRUE= degree is directory informationReview…….KEY FERPA CONCEPTS…
  • Written permission required for disclosure of student education record:
  • If it’s not Directory Information – don’t release it.
  • e.g. Transcript request form requires student signature.
  • Exceptions to written permission rule exist:
  • Entities with Legitimate Educational Interest
  • Financial aid providers and authorities
  • Students have right to access & review their records, and due process for complaints.
  • Parents/parental disclosure –
  • Parents can have 24/7 access to information via Web-4-Parent
  • LeRoy Rooker , Senior Fellow AACRAO and former Director – US DOE Family Policy Compliance Office. One Dupont Circle, NW. Washington DC 20036
  • AACRAO FERPA Guide. 2006. American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officer. Dennis Hicks, managing editor.
  • The FERPA Answer Book for Higher Educational Professionals. 2009. Aileen Gelpi, Esq., and Clifford A Ramirez. Wiley Periodicals, Inc. A Wiley Company.
  • U.S. Dept. of Education. Family Policy Compliance Office.
  • ferpa@ed.gov; www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/index.html
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