FERPA

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

William Jessup University accords all the rights under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) to students who are enrolled. No one shall have access to, nor does the institution disclose any information from, students’ education records without the written consent of students except to personnel within the institution with direct educational interest, to persons or organizations providing students’ financial aid, to accrediting agencies carrying out their accreditation function, to persons in compliance with a judicial order, and to persons in an emergency in order to protect the health or safety of students or other persons. All these exceptions are permitted under the Act.

Students are afforded 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. One exception that permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to school officials with legitimate education interests. A school official is a person employed by the university in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position; 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 another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an educational record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility. Upon request, the university may disclose educational records without consent to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.

At its discretion, William Jessup University may provide “directory information” in accordance with the provisions of the Act. Directory information is defined as that information which would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. The university construes the following information to be “directory information”: parents’ names and addresses; the student’s name, permanent address, local address, temporary address, e-mail address, telephone number, date and place of birth, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, major, dates of attendance, full-time and part-time status, degrees and awards received, class year, the most recent previous school attended, and for members of athletics teams, height, weight, and position played. The university also considers photographs to be directory information. As such, release of photographs also is permitted.

Students may restrict the release of their directory information to third parties by submitting a signed and dated statement to the registrar’s office within the first two weeks of the semester. Otherwise, all photographs and information listed above are considered as “directory information” according to federal law. Nondirectory information, notably grade records, is released to third parties only on written request of the student, or otherwise required by law (e.g., subpoena).

The law provides students the right to inspect and review information contained in their education records, to challenge the contents of their education records, to have a hearing if the outcome of the challenge is unsatisfactory, and to submit explanatory statements for inclusion in their files if they feel the hearing panel’s decisions are unacceptable. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.

The registrar’s office at William Jessup University has been designated by the institution to coordinate the inspection and review of procedures for student education records, which include admission, personal, and academic files, and academic, cooperative education, disciplinary records, and placement records. Students wishing to review their education records must give a written request to the registrar listing the item or items of interest. Only records covered in the Act are made available within 45 days of the request. Education records do not include student health records, employment records, alumni records, or records of instructional, administrative, and educational personnel that are the sole possession of the maker and are not accessible or revealed to any individual except a temporary substitute. Health records, however, may be reviewed by physicians of the student’s choosing.

Students may not inspect and review the following as outlined by the Act: financial information submitted by their parents; confidential letters and recommendations associated with admission, employment, or job placement, or honors to which they have waived their rights of inspection and review; or education records containing information about more than one student, in which case the institution permits access only to that part of the record that pertains to the inquiring student.

Complaints of Alleged Violations

Complaints of alleged violations may be addressed to:

Family Policy Compliance Office
US Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-5901

Complaints must:

  • Be timely submitted, not later than 180 days from the date you learned of the circumstances of the alleged violation
  • Contain specific allegations of fact giving reasonable cause to believe that a violation has occurred, including:
    • Relevant dates, such as the date of a request or a disclosure and the date the student learned of the alleged violation
    • Names and titles of those school officials and other third parties involved
    • A specific description of the education record around which the alleged violation occurred
    • A description of any contact with school officials regarding the matter, including dates and estimated times of telephone calls and/or copies of any correspondence exchanged between the student and the school regarding the matter
    • The name and address of the school, school district, and superintendent of the district
    • Any additional evidence that would be helpful in the consideration of the complaint

(Adapted from: A Guide to Postsecondary Institutions for Implementation of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, 1990.)

For more information on FERPA see: http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html