Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) Policy
- Issuing Office: Office of the Provost
- Issued: Fall 2009
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA” - 20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to students who are at least eighteen years old or who attend or attended a post-secondary institution, even if they have not reached the age of eighteen.
It is the policy of Drexel University (“University”) to comply with all provisions of FERPA.
III FERPA Summary
Below is a summary of the important rights granted to students under FERPA. To view the definitive set of regulations and for other helpful information, please visit: http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html
Education Record means any record (1) directly related to a student and (2) maintained by the University or a party acting for the University. There are several important categories of records that are specifically exempted from the definition of an Education Record:
- Records of instructional, supervisory, administrative, and certain educational personnel which are in the sole possession of the maker of the records, and are not accessible or revealed to any other individual except a substitute who performs on a temporary basis the duties of the individual who made the records,
- Records maintained by a law enforcement unit of the University that were created by that law enforcement unit for the purpose of law enforcement,
- Records relating to individuals who are employed by the University, which are made and maintained in the normal course of business, relate exclusively to individuals in their capacity as employees, and are not available for use for any other purpose,
- Records relating to a student which are: (1) created or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional, acting in his/her professional capacity or assisting in a paraprofessional capacity; (2) used solely in connection with the provision of treatment to the student; and (3) not disclosed to anyone other than individuals providing such treatment.
- Records that only contain information about an individual after he or she is no longer a student at the University.
School Official means a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position, including health or medical staff; a trustee, public safety officer, or outside contractor such as an attorney or auditor acting as an agent for the University; a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee or who is assisting another School Official in performing his or her tasks; and any contractors, consultants, volunteers or other party to whom to whom the University has outsourced institutional services or functions as long as the individual: (1) performs a service for which an institution would otherwise have to use its own employees; (2) is under the direct control of the University with respect to the use and maintenance of the education record; and (3) is subject to the same conditions on use and re-disclosure of education records that apply to other School Officials.
Directory Information means the following student information:
- Student name
- Local address and telephone number
- Campus e-mail address
- Dates of attendance at the University
- Registration status
- Graduating Class
- College or school
- Major field of study
- Degree(s) conferred and date(s) received
- Past and present participation in officially recognized sports and activities
- Physical characteristics (height, weight) of NCAA athletes
- Previous educational institutions attended
Legitimate Education Interest
Legitimate Education Interest means an interest that a School Oficial has in the protected records when the School Official is performing a task that is:
- Specified in his or her position description or contract agreement;
- Related to a student’s education; or
- Related to the discipline of a student.
Personally Identifiable Information
Personally Identifiable Information includes, but is not limited to:
- The student's name
- The name of the student's parent or other family members
- The address of the student or student's family
- A personal identifier, such as the student's social security number, student number, or biometric record
- Other indirect identifiers, such as the student's date of birth, place of birth, and mother's maiden name
- Other information that, alone or in combination, is linked or linkable to a specific student that would allow a reasonable person in the school community, who does not have personal knowledge of the relevant circumstances, to identify the student with reasonable certainty
- Information requested by a person who the educational agency or institution reasonably believes knows the identity of the student to whom the education record relates.
STUDENT RIGHTS UNDER FERPA
1. Right of Inspection and Review
- Current and former students have the right to inspect and review their Education Records within 45 days of the date that the University receives a request for access.
- A request that identifies the Education Record(s) to be reviewed or inspected must be submitted in writing by the student to the University Registrar, a Dean, a Chair, or other appropriate University School Official. That School Official will make arrangements for access to the records with the University Registrar and will notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the School Official to whom the request was made, that School Official shall advise the student of the correct individual to whom the request should be made.
Right to Request Amendment of Education Record
The University provides a student with an opportunity to request amendment to the contents of an Education Record which he/she considers to be inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of his/her privacy or other rights. A School Official who receives such a request will coordinate with the University Registrar and they will decide within a reasonable period of time whether corrective action consistent with the student's request will be taken. The student must be notified of the decision. If the decision is in agreement with the student's request, the appropriate record(s) must be amended. A student who is not provided full relief sought by his/her challenge must be informed by the appropriate School Official, in writing, of the decision and his/her right to a formal hearing on the matter.
Right to Consent to Disclosure of Education Records
The University will disclose information from a student’s Education Records only with the written consent of the student, unless one of the following exceptions apply:
- Directory Information may be made available to anyone who makes a request for such information, without first notifying the student, unless a Request for Non-Disclosure of Directory Information form is completed by a student while he/she is enrolled and the form is submitted to the Office of the University Registrar.
- The disclosure is to authorized federal and state representatives for audit or evaluation or compliance activities.
- The disclosure is to School Officials that are in the process of carrying out their assigned educational or administrative responsibilities and have a Legitimate Educational Interest. The determination as to whether or not a Legitimate Educational Interest exists will be made by the University Registrar, who serves as the FERPA Officer for the University. When the FERPA Officer has any questions regarding the request, the FERPA Officer should withhold disclosure unless he or she obtains consent from the student or the concurrence of a supervisor or other appropriate official that the record may be released.
- The disclosure is to provide a service or benefit relating to the student or student’s family, such as health care, counseling, job placement, or financial aid.
- The disclosure is to maintain the health or safety of the student or others on or off campus. When the University discloses personally identifiable information under the health or safety emergency exception, the University must record the significant threat to the health or safety of a student or other individuals and the parties to whom the information was disclosed. This documentation must be done within a reasonable period of time after (but not necessarily prior to) the disclosure and must be maintained with the student’s education records. This documentation should identify the underlying facts the University relied upon in determining there was a defined and significant threat.
- The disclosure is to officials of other institutions in which a student seeks or intends to enroll, as long as the disclosure relates solely to the purposes of the transfer, on the condition that the issuing institution makes a reasonable attempt to inform the student of the disclosure, unless the student initiates the transfer.
- The disclosure is in connection with financial aid for which a student has applied or received, if the information is necessary for the determination of eligibility, amount and conditions of aid or to enforce the terms and condition of aid.
- The disclosure is to organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, educational agencies or institutions to develop, validate, and administer predictive tests, to administer student aid programs or to improve instruction, provided that individual identity of students is not made and that the disclosure is restricted to the representatives of the organization that have a legitimate interest in the information. Information may only be disclosed per a written agreement between the University and the organization conducting the study on the University’s behalf that:
- Identifies the purpose, scope, and duration of the study; ii.) Requires the organization to use personally identifiable information from education records only to meet the purpose of the study as noted in the agreement; iii.) Requires that the organization conduct the study in a manner that does not permit personal identification of parents and students by anyone other than representatives of the organization with legitimate interests; and iv.) Requires the organization to destroy or return the personally identifiable information to the University when the information is no longer need and specifies the time period in which the destruction or return must occur.
- Requires the organization to use personally identifiable information from education records only to meet the purpose of the study as noted in the agreement;
- Requires that the organization conduct the study in a manner that does not permit personal identification of parents and students by anyone other than representatives of the organization with legitimate interests; and
- Requires the organization to destroy or return the personally identifiable information to the University when the information is no longer need and specifies the time period in which the destruction or return must occur.
- The disclosure is to accrediting organizations carrying out their accrediting functions.
- The disclosure is to comply with a judicial order or a lawfully-issued subpoena, provided that the University makes a reasonable attempt to notify the student in advance of compliance. If a contractor receives a subpoena for a student’s information, the contractor is required to provide the appropriate notice. The University is not required to notify the student if a federal grand jury subpoena or any other subpoena issued for a law enforcement purpose orders the institution not to disclose the existence or contents of the subpoena. In addition, the University is not required to notify the student if disclosure is necessary to comply with an ex-parte court order obtained by the U.S. Attorney General or an Assistant Attorney General concerning certain criminal investigations and prosecutions.
- The disclosure is to a victim of an alleged crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense, or to the alleged victim's next of kin (if the victim dies as a result of the crime or offense). The disclosure may only include the final results of the disciplinary proceeding conducted by the institution, regardless of whether the University concluded a violation was committed or not. The University may not require students who are sexual assault victims to sign confidentiality pledges to protect from further disclosure the disciplinary proceedings.
- The disclosure is to the parents of a student under 21 years of age who has been found responsible for a violation involving the use or possession of alcohol and/or drugs.
- The disclosure is related to a student registered sex offender and is information that was provided to the University pursuant to the Wetterling Act and other applicable federal guidelines. In addition, the University may make available to the campus community additional information about a student who is also a registered sex offender where the information is relevant to protecting the public.
- The disclosure is one where all Personally Identifiable Information has been removed. Written record of such a disclosure is not required.
In the event that a student wants to provide ongoing access to their Education Records to an individual such as a parent or family member, they must first complete a FERPA waiver via DrexelOne. This will allow the individual named by the student to have complete or limited access to the student's Education Record until such permission is revoked by the student.
Right to File a Complaint
Students have the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the University to comply with FERPA. The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue
SW Washington, DC 20202-5920
In the event of questions or concerns regarding this policy or other matters pertaining to FERPA, a student can contact the Office of the University Registrar at 215.895.1050 or email at Ferpa@drexel.edu. All FERPA policy related forms can be found at the following location: http://www.drexel.edu/src/ferpa/default.html.