What does “FERPA” stand for and why is it important?
- Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974
- This federal law requires Belmont to protect the privacy of students' education records
Rights guaranteed to students by FERPA
- The right of access to education records
- The right to consent to the release of records to third parties
- The right to challenge inaccurate or misleading information in an education record
- The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning non-compliance with FERPA
Do parents or legal guardians have access to a student’s education records?
- A student, regardless of age, is the “legal entity” once he or she begins to attend Belmont. FERPA rights belong to the student, not the parent or guardian.
- This means that students must consent before a record is disclosed to the parents or legal guardians.
- A student can authorize Belmont to discuss his/her educational records with parents/guardians by filling out the Consent to Release Educational Records.
What are education records?
Information recorded in any form that is directly related to a student and maintained by a college or university and by those acting for the college or university.
When is Consent Not Required?
- To individuals within the university with legitimate educational interest
- To officials at an institution in which student seeks to enroll
- To comply with a court order or subpoena
- To parents of students who are dependents for income tax purposes
- To parents in cases of drug or alcohol violation when the student is under the age of 21
- In connection with a health or safety emergency if necessary to protect the student or others
- If the data is considered directory information
What is Directory Information?
- Name, address, telephone number
- Campus e-mail address
- Date and place of birth
- Major field of study
- Dates of attendance, degrees and awards received
- Previous educational agencies or institutions attended
- Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
- Weight and height of members of athletic teams
What if a student wants to prohibit the disclosure of directory information as well?
- Students who do not want their directory information released may sign the Request for Confidentiality Hold. Once the form is filed, the student’s record is flagged as “confidential” and no directory information is disclosed except as required by FERPA.
- The confidentiality hold prohibits the release of information including but not limited to transcripts, enrollment verifications, and degree verifications.
- If the student needs Belmont to release information from the student record, the request must be made in writing, accompanied by legal proof of identity. This applies whether the information is for the student’s personal use or for use by a third party.
- Graduation, withdrawal and dismissal from the university do not automatically lift the confidential status on a student’s record. The record will remain confidential until the status is revoked by the student, in writing, accompanied by legal proof of identity.
- If a confidentiality request is not filed, Belmont University assumes that a student does not object to the release of directory information.