The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal privacy law that gives parents certain protections with regard to their children’s education records, such as report cards, transcripts, disciplinary records, contact and family information, and class schedules.
- FERPA is a federal law, also known as the Buckley Amendment.
- FERPA protects the privacy of a student’s education records.
- FERPA applies to all educational agencies or institutions that receive funds under any program administered by the Secretary of Education, including Shenandoah University.
Shenandoah is committed to protecting the privacy of your student’s education records.
Under FERPA, students have the following rights:
- The right to inspect and review their education records within 45 days of the day the university receives a request for access.
- The right to request an amendment to any education records the student believes are inaccurate or misleading, and the right to request a hearing if the request to correct an alleged inaccuracy is denied. This is different from disputing a grade received in a class which entails a different appeals procedure.
- The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s educational records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
FERPA allows schools to disclose records, without written consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions:
- SU officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official has a legitimate interest if the official needs to review an educational record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility.
- Other schools to which a student is transferring
- Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes
- Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student
- Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the university
- Accrediting organizations
- To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena
- Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies
- State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific State law.
- The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by SU to comply with the requirements of FERPA.
Family Policy Compliance Office U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-5920
Phone: 1-800-USA-LEARN (1-800-872-5327)
Parental access rights under FERPA can be summarized as follows:
At the postsecondary level, parents have no inherent rights to inspect their student’s educational records; the right to inspect is limited solely to the student. When a student reaches the age of 18 or begins attending a school beyond the high-school level, regardless of age, FERPA rights transfer from the parent to student.
SU may release student information to parents IF:
- The student provides written consent by completing the Consent to Release Education Records form and submitting it to the Registrar’s Office. This form will be kept as part of their permanent record.
- The student is claimed as a dependent for federal income tax purposes. The parent would need to provide the Registrar with a certified copy of their most recent Federal Income Tax Form verifying the student’s dependency status. This would need to be provided each year.
- There is a health or safety emergency.
- The student is under 21 and has violated an SU rule related to alcohol or controlled substances.
The information above is only a brief summary of the detailed federal law. For more information, visit http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/index.html
If parents have their student’s written consent for access, or the student can be claimed as a dependent (as outlined above), questions about registration, final grades received, GPA, graduation, and similar issues should be directed to the Office of the Registrar at (540) 665-5585. For security purposes, grades cannot be provided over the telephone, by fax, or sent by email, as these processes cannot guarantee a completely secure transmission of the student’s grades to third parties. Parents/Individuals with student consent will be asked to provide their address, relationship to student, and the birth date and last four numbers of the student’s Social Security number as cross-check verification.
Parents wishing to get in touch with their student’s professor(s) or dean/director need to contact the Office of Enrollment Management and Student Success in order to facilitate discussion. The Office of Enrollment Management and Student Success can be reached by calling (540) 665-4517.
Under FERPA, Shenandoah may release directory information about students without notifying the student.
Directory information is defined as information contained in an education record of a student that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed.
At Shenandoah, directory information includes the following:
- student name
- telephone number
- email address
- date and place of birth
- participation in officially recognized activities and sports
- weight and height of members of athletic teams
- field of study
- dates of attendance
- degrees and awards received
- most recent previous school attended
- video clip
The university may disclose any of those items without prior written consent, unless notified in writing to the contrary. Your student may opt out of sharing directory information by completing the Request to Withhold Directory Information form in the Registrar’s Office. However, your student is urged to think carefully about such a request. If a request to withhold directory information is made, university officials will not be able to publish news releases about student achievements, include your student in articles about sports achievements, print your student’s information in the commencement program, or verify your student’s degree or status to potential employers, insurers or lenders, for example. The university’s withholding of directory information may have unexpected or undesirable ramifications. Please contact the Registrar’s Office for more information.
Please understand that restrictions on directory information and the sharing of educational records extend to Shenandoah alumni as well, so any requests your student makes will remain in effect until he or she submits a change, in writing, to the Registrar’s Office.