As per Federal regulations, students attending university and other higher education facilities (such as ATI) are possessed of certain rights in re: their records. The FERPA Act –The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act– addresses this issue and outlines students’ rights in re: allowing others to access and review educational records. FERPA protects students’ rights to not have certain personal and identifying information disclosed without their specific consent. (There are a few exclusionary situations.) It also gives students the right to request and be granted changes to their records if they are of the opinion that some information is “inaccurate or misleading”. Of course, ATI goes to great lengths to abide by any and all regulations and laws pertaining to any broadcasting or divulging of such information by any facility that offers continuing education. It is understood that these protocols don’t claim to make void any existing federal or state laws in re: this topic.
According to FERPA, there is a protocol for a student to follow if she or he decides to share education records. Regardless of whether the party to which this information will be disclosed is the student’s parents, family or friend(s) or other party, the procedure is the same: the consent must be in written form and must be signed and dated by said student. Too, the specific record or records in question must be indicated, as must be indicated the purpose for said consent. Finally, the identity of the party or parties to whom the record(s) is/are to be disclosed must be clearly stated.
There exist pertinent officials who may receive information regarding a student’s education records on demand. Specifically, this information encompasses a student’s name and address, telephone number, date and place of birth, major field of study and grades. Too, the student’s attendance record may be shared. The information which is thus revealed is not limited to the above-mentioned. The actual pertinent officials may include the following offices:
Authorized school officials;
Entities representing financial assistance;
Agencies concerned with audits;
Federal, state, and local authorities;
Those appointed to act as health and safety emergencies officials; and
Other educational institutions in re: transferring.
Note: in cases of health and safety emergencies, parents and/or guardians or spouses may access records. This is the case even if the student has not issued written documentation allowing such disclosure.
Regarding Directory Information
FERPA addresses the matter of Directory Information, or data about the student and his or her school life which is generally considered innocuous. This sort of information can be disclosed even if the student has not previously authorized such disclosure. However, if there is material which a student specifically indicates is to be kept confidential, this request will be honored. ATI has compiled a list of several items which it considers Directory Information, and these include: full legal name, major field of study, enrollment status as of the date of request, degrees and awards and dates of attendance at the institution. This applies to full or part-time attendance.
Question: what if a student specifically states that she or he does not want Directory Information shared with third-party entities? Answer: If a student does not want the school to share directory information with third parties, said student should submit a written form requesting such non-disclosure to the Academic or Administrative Department. This request shall state that all such Directory Information derived from educational records be kept confidential.
ATI honors students’ requests to examine their educational records. The formality is simple: the student merely tenders a student Request Form to ATI’s Academic Department. Once this form has been reviewed, a school administrator will arrange access to the specific records mentioned in the form. The student shall be duly notified via written communique of that fact and that the records may be examined within ten (10) days of the date the request was submitted. The student shall be informed as to where the records will be made available as well as the time when such records shall be furnished.
There is a simple procedure to be complied with in cases where students identify what they perceive to be an error in their records. The procedure involves writing a letter explaining their viewpoints and asking for a correction. This letter will be submitted to Administration. Steps may be taken in cases where ATI decides, for whatever reasons, not to amend said records. These steps involve an appeal which may then be written and presented.
In cases where information personally identifies a student, FERPA outlines the permission of such informational disclosure. Basically, this information maybe be shared without the student’s express consent in specific cases. This includes all disclosures pertaining to either judicial orders or subpoenas which have been lawfully served, disclosures of directory information, and disclosures to the student, The exception is when this information is sought out by school officials. FERPA mandates that the educational institution in question keep a record of such disclosure. The student does have a right to peruse the record of disclosures. Tertiary or postsecondary institutions are empowered to disclose personally identifiable information from education records sans seeking the student’s previous written consent to the following parties:
• Administrators or officials of another school at which the student is considering enrolling or at which he or she is currently attending classes. The information sought would conceivably have to do with the student’s transfer or enrollment;
• ATI officials, including instructors, with authorized educational interests, as determined by ATI. This also extends to vendors, consultants, volunteers and such entities with whom ATl has obtained services.
• Legitimate agents of the U. S. Comptroller General, the U. S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education or State and local educational authorities, such as a State tertiary official whose purview includes monitoring the university’s State-assisted educational programs. Note: In cases involving either an official audit or appraisal of Federal or State supported educational programs, or the imposition of and/or concession in re: Federal legal requirements that relate to those programs, these authorities may, if deemed necessary, extend additional disclosures of personally identifiable information to external parties which these entities designate to be their duly commissioned representatives for the purpose of managing any inspection, implementation or adherence to regulations, as performed at said entity’s behest.
• Members of organizations affiliated with financial aid matters for which the student may have applied. Too, agents of organizations which have actually provided financial aid. Reasons for such disclosure may stem from eligibility determinations for the aid in question; the amount of the aid in question and to determine the conditions and terms of said aid or to enforce the terms and conditions of said aid.
• Groups or foundations presenting studies for, or at the behest of, the school for the following purposes: to design, vouch for or administer Predictive Index Tests (PI); to manage student aid programs; or to accelerate or improve the quality of education.
• Groups charged with accreditation, to facilitate said function.
• Persons presenting a lawfully issued subpoena or judicial order.
• Professionals concerned with managing a safety- or health-related emergency.
• In cases of a non-forcible sex offense or an act of violence, to the alleged victim. It is entirely possible that the disclosure may only include the actual and finalized findings in re: disciplinary proceedings. This is the case no matter what the outcome or findings in the proceedings.
• In cases where there is a disciplinary hearing or proceeding, to the public may be disclosed the results. Note: This is dependent upon whether ATI surmises that the student is an alleged offender of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense and whether the student has violated the school’s regulations or guidelines in re: the claims or assertions brought forth against said student.
• To a student’s parents in cases involving the student’s violation of Federal, State, or local law, or of any regulation or guideline as put into effect by ATI which controls the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance. This situation relates to cases in which a) the student in question is under the age of 21 and b) ATI has decided that said student committed a disciplinary violation.
For further information regarding FERPA, please contact the U.S. Department of Education’s Family Policy Compliance Office c/o the following address and telephone number:
Family Policy Compliance Office
US Department of Education
400 Maryland Ave, SW
Washington, DC 20202-5920