Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), also known as the Buckley Amendment, gives students the right to: (1) inspect and review their educational records; (2) consent to release educational records to a third party; (3) challenge information included in the educational records; and (4) be notified of their rights under FERPA. It is the policy of Morgan State University to comply with the terms and conditions of FERPA.
Inspection and Review of Educational Records
FERPA requires that a college or University have procedures for allowing students to inspect and review their educational records. With certain important exceptions, the term “educational record” means any record (in handwriting, print, tapes, film, computer, or other medium) directly related to a student and maintained by the University. Among the information that may be compiled on a student, but is not defined as an educational record under FERPA are personal records kept by faculty members and/or University officials for their own use; records made by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional used in connection with the treatment of the student;the records compiled and maintained by campus security for the purpose of law enforcement; certain employment records; and certain alumni records. Students do not have the right to inspect and review the financial statement of the students’ parents;letters of recommendation for which the student waived his or her right of access; records maintained before January 1,1975; records related to an application to the University where the applicant was denied admission; and/or any other information excluded from FERPA’s definition of educational record. Students may inspect and review their educational records upon written request to the Registrar in the Office of the Registrar. The Registrar will direct the written request to the appropriate records custodian and within a reasonable period of time, but in no case longer than 45 days, the appropriate records custodian will provide the student with an opportunity to inspect and review the requested records, so long as the requested records are covered by and are not exempted under FERPA. The University may charge a fee for copying and is under no obligation to certify every record requested by or copied for a student.
Consent to Release Records
Morgan State University will disclose information from a student’s educational record only with the written consent of the student. Except that a student’s educational record may, even in the absence of the student’s express written consent, be disclosed to parents of students who are “dependent” as defined by the Internal Revenue Code; to court or law enforcement officials in compliance with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena; to accrediting organizations; to appropriate parties in a health or safety emergency; to officials conducting studies for the University; federal, state, and local educational authorities who audit or regulate educational programs; officials of another school in which a student seeks to enroll; and University officials including faculty, administrators, staff, trustees, members of University judicial bodies, including students, who have a “legitimate educational interest” in the record. A University official has a legitimate educational interest if such official is performing a task related to the discipline of a student; performing a service or benefit relating to the student or the student’s family; or the official is maintaining the safety and security of the campus. The University may also disclose the results of any disciplinary proceeding against an alleged perpetrator of a violent crime to the alleged victim of that crime.
Finally, the University may disclose without a student’s consent certain “directory information” such as a student’s name, photograph, parent’s name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, major field of study, dates of attendance, degrees and/or awards received, participation in officially recognized activities, height and weight of members of athletic teams, and most recent educational institution attended. A student who objects to the disclosure of “directory information” must provide annual written notice to the Registrar in the Office of The Registrar within three weeks of the first day of Fall semester classes not to disclose any or all of the categories of directory information related to that student. There may be circumstances where students will want to grant an individual or organization access to their records. Frequent examples include employers, employment agencies, counselors, attorneys, and honorific societies. Requests for disclosure of educational records should be made in writing to the Registrar in the Office of the Registrar. Within a reasonable period of time, but in no case longer than 45 days, the appropriate University official will disclose to the individual or organization identified by the student as having permission to review the requested records, so long as the requested records are covered and are not exempted under FERPA. The University may charge a fee for copying and is under no obligation to certify every record disclosed at the request of or on behalf of a student.
Correct Information in the Record
With the exception of grades, an instructor’s procedure or judgment in awarding grades, students have the right to ask to have educational records corrected that they believe are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of their privacy rights. Students at the University who wish to challenge information in their educational record that they believe is inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of their privacy rights must submit a written request to the Registrar in the Office of the Registrar. The Registrar will direct the request to the University official responsible for the record in question. After reviewing the request within a reasonable period of time, the University will communicate to the student in writing a decision about whether the University will amend the record.
If the decision of the University is not to amend the record, a student has the right to appeal by writing to the Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA), requesting a hearing on the matter. The VPAA will notify the student in writing of the time, place, and date of the hearing. The hearing officer will be a University official appointed by the VPAA. The student shall have a full and fair opportunity to present evidence related to the matter and/ or educational record in question.Within a reasonable period of time following the hearing, the student will be notified in writing of the University’s decision. If the University finds as result of evidence presented at the hearing that the educational record contains inaccurate, misleading information or that the record as presently constituted violates the privacy rights of the student, the University will amend the record. On the other hand, if the University decides after its review of the evidence presented at the hearing that the information in the student’s record is not inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of privacy rights, the student has a right to include in his or her record a statement commenting on the challenged information and/or a statement setting forth reasons for disagreeing with the decision. The student’s statement will be maintained as part of the educational record and shall be disclosed whenever the University discloses the contested portion of the record.
Notice of Privacy Rights
The preceding review of rights and procedures is meant to inform students of the rights accorded to them by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Pursuant to §99.7 of the FERPA regulations, students at the University are provided with annual notification of their FERPA rights via the University website. For a full understanding of the terms, conditions, rights, and exceptions found in FERPA, students are encouraged to read the entire act which is found in 20 United States Code Annotated (USCA) §1232g et. seq. Students who believe that their rights under FERPA have been abridged by the University may file a written complaint with the Director, Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue S.W., Washington, DC 20202-5920.