FERPA: Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
FERPA is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and is a federal law legislated in 1974. The law protects the privacy of student education records. All educational institutions that receive federal funding must comply with FERPA.
If you’re a student, it’s important for you to understand your rights under FERPA. If you’re a parent, you’ll need to understand how the law applies once your student enters a postsecondary institution. If you’re an employee of St. Edward’s University with access to student education records, you’re obligated to comply with FERPA and to protect those records according to the law. Please review the following FERPA details and guidelines.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords eligible students certain rights with respect to their education records.An “eligible student” under FERPA is a student who is 18 years of age or older or who attends a postsecondary institution. Students’ rights under FERPA include:
1. The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days after the day St. Edward’s University receives a request for access. A student should submit to the registrar, dean, head of the academic department, or other appropriate official, a written request that identifies the record(s) the student wishes to inspect. The school official will make arrangements for access and 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 submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
2. The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes is inaccurate, misleading or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA.
A student who wishes to ask the school to amend a record should write the school official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record the student wants changed and specify why it should be changed.
If the school decides not to amend the record as requested, the school will notify the student in writing of the decision and the student’s right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
3. The right to provide written consent before the university discloses non-directory information from the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
- The school discloses education records without a student’s prior written consent under the FERPA exception for disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by St. Edward’s University in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person serving on the board of trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee. A school official also may include a volunteer or contractor outside of St. Edward’s University who performs an institutional service of function for which the school would otherwise use its own employees and who is under the direct control of the school with respect to the use and maintenance of PII from education records, such as an attorney, auditor or collection agent, or a student volunteering to assist another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities for St. Edward’s University.
- Upon request, the school also discloses education records without consent to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by St. Edward’s University to comply with the requirements of 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
See the list below of the information that St. Edward’s University has identified as directory information that may be released without consent.
- Permanent and local addresses
- Email address
- Phone number(s)
- Place of birth
- Major, minor or certificate
- Anticipated degree and completion date
- Degree and date conferred
- Dates of attendance
- Current and previously registered hours
- Previously attended institutions
- Officially recognized sports participation (including height and weight of team members)
- Awards and honors
The institution may not release non-directory information without the student’s permission. Non-directory information includes but is not limited to the following (specific exceptions to this rule are identified by FERPA; for a list of these exceptions, please contact the Office of the Registrar): grades, GPA, attendance, earned hours, student ID number and social security number.
A student has the right to prevent disclosure of directory information by filing a Request to Withhold Directory Information form with the Office of the Registrar. Such requests remain in force until rescinded in writing by the student, former student or alumnus/a.
FERPA permits the disclosure of non-directory information from students’ education records, without consent of the student, if the disclosure meets certain conditions found in §99.31 of the FERPA regulations. Except for disclosures to school officials, disclosures related to some judicial orders or lawfully issued subpoenas, disclosures of directory information and disclosures to the student, §99.32 of FERPA regulations requires the institution to record the disclosure. Eligible students have a right to inspect and review the record of disclosures. A postsecondary institution may disclose non-directory information from the education records without obtaining prior written consent of the student —
- To other school officials, including teachers, within St. Edward’s University whom the school has determined to have legitimate educational interests. This includes contractors, consultants, volunteers or other parties to whom the school has outsourced institutional services or functions, provided that the conditions listed in §99.31(a)(1)(i)(B)(1) - (a)(1)(i)(B)(2) are met. (§99.31(a)(1))
- To officials of another school where the student seeks or intends to enroll, or where the student is already enrolled if the disclosure is for purposes related to the student’s enrollment or transfer, subject to the requirements of §99.34. (§99.31(a)(2))
- To authorized representatives 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 postsecondary authority that is responsible for supervising the university’s State-supported education programs. Disclosures under this provision may be made, subject to the requirements of §99.35, in connection with an audit or evaluation of Federal- or State-supported education programs, or for the enforcement of or compliance with Federal legal requirements that relate to those programs. These entities may make further disclosures of PII to outside entities that are designated by them as their authorized representatives to conduct any audit, evaluation, or enforcement or compliance activity on their behalf. (§§99.31(a)(3) and 99.35)
- In connection with financial aid for which the student has applied or which the student has received, if the information is necessary to determine eligibility for the aid, determine the amount of the aid, determine the conditions of the aid, or enforce the terms and conditions of the aid. (§99.31(a)(4))
- To organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, the school in order to: (a) develop, validate or administer predictive tests; (b) administer student aid programs; or (c) improve instruction. (§99.31(a)(6))
- To accrediting organizations to carry out their accrediting functions. ((§99.31(a)(7)
- To parents of an eligible student if the student is a dependent for IRS tax purposes. (§99.31(a)(8))
- To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena. (§99.31(a)(9))
- To appropriate officials in connection with a health or safety emergency, subject to §99.36. (§99.31(a)(10))
- Information the school has designated as “directory information” under §99.37. (§99.31(a)(11))
- To a victim of an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense, subject to the requirements of §99.39. The disclosure may only include the final results of the disciplinary proceeding with respect to that alleged crime or offense, regardless of the finding. (§99.31(a)(13))
- To the general public, the final results of a disciplinary proceeding, subject to the requirements of §99.39, if the school determines the student is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense and the student has committed a violation of the school’s rules or policies with respect to the allegation made against him or her. (§99.31(a)(14))
- To parents of a student regarding the student’s violation of any Federal, State or local law, or of any rule or policy of the school, governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance if the school determines the student committed a disciplinary violation and the student is under the age of 21. (§99.31(a)(15)) Revised 12/01/2011
In addition to directory and non-directory information, St. Edward’s University also defines some information as “Limited Directory Information.” Limited directory information is defined as the restricted distribution of certain directory information including emergency contact information and student ID photographs. The distribution of this information is limited to university officials, their designees and other public safety or welfare officials as deemed appropriate by the institution.
For information for parents, visit the Parent Guide.
Student Right to Know
In compliance with Federal Student Right to Know regulations, information pertaining to graduation rates (non-athlete cohort data) may be obtained from the Office of Institutional Research during regular business hours.
Student Voter Registration Information
In compliance with Federal and State statutes, St. Edward’s University hereby notifies enrolled students that they may obtain voter registration information and a voter registration application by visiting the Office of the Secretary of State for the State of Texas.
University Communication Policy
The medium of communication for many academic issues at St. Edward’s University is email. Students are required to establish and monitor their account on a regular basis. Students who have been notified of academic/curricular issues via their St. Edward’s University email account will be considered to have been officially notified.