FERPA Notice of Student Rights & Responsibilities
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), as amended (also referred to as the Buckley Amendment), is a federal law regarding the privacy of student educational records and the access provided to these records. Any educational institution that receives funds under any program administered by the U.S. Secretary of Education is bound by FERPA requirements.
What rights do students have under FERPA?
- The right to inspect and review their educational records within 45 days of a request for access. Students should submit to the Registrar a written request that identifies the record(s) they wish to inspect. The Registrar will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. A school official may be present during a student's review of his/her education records. The institution may refuse to provide a copy of a student's education record provided such refusal does not limit access. Limitations exist on students' rights to inspect and review their education records. For example, the institution is not required to permit students to inspect and review the following:
- Records which do not contain educational information or do not fall into the category of educational records because of how they are maintained.
- Financial records of parents.
- Confidential records placed in education records prior to 1975 if they are used as intended.
- Confidential recommendations if the student has waived the right of access to such information.
- Sole possession records
- The right to request the amendment of education records that the student believes are inaccurate. The student should write the University Registrar, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed and specify why it is inaccurate. If the University decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the University will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his or her 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. An example of the right to request and amend a record would be if a grade is incorrectly recorded. The dispute of a grade earned for a course is not a "right" under FERPA. To dispute an earned grade, students are directed to the department chair of the course.
- The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records, except to the extent
that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception which permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel or health staff); a person or company with whom the University has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his/her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his/her professional responsibility
- The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Missouri Southern State University to comply with the requirements of FERPA.
What are Educational Records?
Under FERPA, educational records are defined as records that are directly related to a student and are maintained by an institution or by a party acting for the institution. Educational records can exist in any medium, including: typed, computer generated, videotape, microfilm, and email, among others.
- FERPA applies to all students in higher education, regardless of age, once they begin attending classes at MSSU. Students' rights to review and request amendments to their education records, as well as consent to the disclosure of personally identifiable information, apply even after they have graduated. These rights cease to apply upon death of the student..
- The university will not release information, other than directory information, from a student's educational record without the student's prior written consent, except to authorized persons and organizations or when an exception applies. Even parents are not permitted access to their child’s educational records unless the student has provided written authorization permitting access.
- Authorized persons and organizations are those who have a legitimate educational interest.
- A legitimate educational interest means that the person or organization is required to perform certain duties and these duties involve the use of student data.
- Authorized persons include employees of Missouri Southern State University, the US Department of Education and other education authorities carrying out official duties, as well as financial aid lenders. Also included are organizations which MSSU has contracted as agents of the university. An example is the National Student Clearinghouse.
- There are exceptions to the rule of non-disclosure.
- Exceptions exist for health and safety. The University can disclose information without consent when it is determined that there is an articulable and significant threat to the health and safety of a student or other individuals.
- An agent of the court with a properly issued court order or subpoena may receive student data, though we will first attempt to notify the student before complying with the subpoena unless we are required not to contact the student per the subpoena.
- Exceptions exist for nonconsensual disclosures to the U.S. Department of Education or in connection with financial aid.
- The University may forward education records to other educational institution that have requested the records and in which the student seeks or intends to enroll or is already enrolled so long as the disclosure is for the purpose related to the student's enrollment or transfer.
- To parents of an eligible student under the age of 21 in connection with or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance in violation of the law or institutional policy.
- For additional information regarding other exceptions to FERPA visit 34 CFR § 99.31.
If you would like to authorize someone else, such as a spouse or a parent, to access your educational records, you can file an Authorization to Release Non-Directory Information. The authorized person(s) will be required to follow the same procedures as the student in order to obtain educational records. This generally includes a signed request and appropriate identification.
To authorize an individual from the university to write a letter of recommendation, complete an Authorization for Recommendation Letter.
What is Directory Information?
Information that has been classified as Directory Information at MSSU and may be made available to the general public without student consent unless the student completes a Privacy Request form in the Office of the Registrar. In the case of a Privacy Request, the University will not release any information, even Directory Information. This restriction does not apply when providing information to those who have a legitimate educational interest. The University reserves the right to exercise its discretion under FERPA to limit the disclosure of directory information to specific parties, for specific purposes or both.
Please consider very carefully the consequences of any decision by you to withhold Directory Information. Should you decide to inform the institution not to release the Directory Information, any future requests for such information from non-institutional persons or organizations will be refused. The institution will honor your request to withhold Directory Information but cannot assume responsibility to contact you for subsequent permission to release the information. Regardless of the effect upon you, the institution assumes no liability for honoring your instructions that such information be withheld. A student cannot opt out of the disclosure of his/her name or university email address in the classroom environment.
The following is considered Directory Information:
- student's name
- student Identification Number
- telephone listing
- university e-mail address
- major field of study
- dates of attendance
- enrollment status
(full-time or part-time)
- honors and awards received
- participation in officially recognized activities and sports
(appropriate athletic statistical data)
- most recent previous educational agency or institution attended
- place of birth
- grade level (freshman, sophomore, etc.)
- year in school
- next of kin or spouse (emergency only).