Student Rights Under FERPA

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. They are:

  1. The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 30 days of the day the college receives a request for access.
    1. Students may see their educational records by submitting a written request at the office where the records of interest are maintained.
    2. Access is to be granted promptly and no later than thirty days from the date of the request.
    3. Students may make the request in person or by mail, but the request must always be in writing.
    4. Students may obtain upon request copies of documents to which they are entitled. Typically these copies would not include transcripts from other schools or recommendation letters written to Eckerd College. The College may charge for these copies.
    5. Students may request and receive interpretation of their records from the person (or designee) responsible for the maintenance of the record.
  2. The right to request the amendment of the student's education records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading.
    1. Students may write the college official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading.
    2. The case will be reviewed through the normal channels of the department responsible for the record.
    3. If the decision is made not to amend the record as requested, the student may appeal through the Coordinator of Judicial Affairs.
  3. The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
  4. One exception which permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is 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 (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting school officials in performing their tasks.

    A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill professional responsibilities.

  5. 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
    600 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, DC 20202-4605

Policy on Student Records

In compliance with FERPA, the following constitutes the College's policy instructing students on the procedures available to provide appropriate access to personal records while protecting the confidentiality of these records.

A "student" is defined as one who has attended or is attending Eckerd College and whose records are in the files of the College. Student records to which this policy applies do not include files retained by individual faculty/staff members which are not accessible to any other person except a substitute designated by the faculty/staff member.

Public or directory information is limited to name, permanent and local address, e-mail address, phone, date of birth, photograph, mentor, major field of study, dates of enrollment including hours enrolled, admission or enrollment status, school or division, class standing, anticipated graduation date, graduation date, degrees, awards, honors, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, and weight and height of athletic team members. Public information shall be released freely unless the student files the appropriate form requesting that information may not be released. This form is available at the Registrar's office and must be renewed each academic year. If this form is not received prior to the end of the drop/add period of the Fall term, it will be assumed that directory information may be disclosed for the remainder of the current academic year. A new form for non-disclosure must be completed each academic year.

A student's educational record is open to the student with the following exceptions:

  • Confidential letters of recommendation placed in files prior to January 1, 1975.
  • Records of parent's financial status.
  • Employment records (see below).
  • Medical records (see below).

The employment records to which students do not have access are records kept in the normal course of business which relate exclusively to students as employees. Medical records are kept in the Student Health Center. This office rigidly protects the confidentiality of those records, but they can be reviewed by a physician or appropriate professional of the student-patient's choice.

Student records are open to members of the faculty and staff who have a legitimate need to know their contents, except where access is prohibited by special policies such as those governing medical records. The determination of those who have a "legitimate need to know" will be made by the person responsible for the maintenance of the records. This determination must be made scrupulously and with respect for the individual whose records is involved.

At the discretion of the office maintaining the records, records may be released without the consent of the student to third parties only as authorized by FERPA. Examples include but are not limited to:

  • Federal, State, and local officials as required by law.
  • Appropriate persons in an emergency situation when necessary to protect the welfare of the individual.
  • Parents of a student who is a dependent for income tax purposes.

A student may secure from the Registrar's Office a consent form authorizing the release of specified records to specific individuals. A notation of such releases made to third parties must be kept in the student's record. This notation is open only to the student and the office in charge of the record. The third party must be informed that no release of personally identifiable data is authorized without the written consent of the student.

This policy does not preclude the destruction of any record if the College does not consider it germane. Persons in charge of records should ensure that only pertinent items are retained in student files.

Revised 4/20/04

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