Student Handbook - FERPA & Student Record Privacy
Student Record Privacy
In general, the College does not make education records available to parents of students. However, when the College believes that it is in a dependent student’s best interest, information from the student’s education records may, at the College’s discretion, be released to the parents or legal guardians of such a dependent student. Such disclosure generally will be limited to information about a student’s official status at the College, but parents or legal guardians of a dependent student may also be notified upon the authorization of the Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, or his/her designee(s), in the following cases:
- When a student has voluntarily withdrawn from the College or has been required by the College to withdraw;
- When a student has been placed on academic warning;
- When the student’s academic good standing or promotion is at issue;
- When a student engages in alcohol-or drug-related behavior that violates College policies;
- When a student has been placed on disciplinary probation or restriction;
- In exceptional cases when a student otherwise engages in behavior calling into question the appropriateness of the student’s continued enrollment in the College.
In other communications with parents, the College will normally respect the privacy of the student. Information from the student’s educational records will not be disclosed without the student’s formal written consent. Grades are considered to be part of the student’s educational record and will not be disclosed to parents without the student’s formal written consent. Upon obtaining such written consent, the College will provide information to parents (or guardians).
All students will be required to declare their tax status at the commencement of each academic year. Any student who claims not to be a legal dependent must provide appropriate evidence to the Registrar of the College in writing within the first month of each academic year.
Family Education Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA)
Union College complies fully with the provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), 20 U.S.C. 1232g. Under FERPA, students have, with certain limited exceptions, the right to inspect and review their education records and to request the amendment of their records to ensure that they are not inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the students' privacy or other rights.
Requests to inspect or review education records should be addressed to the Registrar, Dean of Students, or other record custodian and will be honored within 45 days. Any student questioning the accuracy of any records may state his or her objection in writing to the appropriate record custodian, who will notify the student of his or her decision within 45 days of receiving the objection. If the decision is in agreement with the student’s request, the appropriate records will be amended. If the decision is not in agreement with the student’s request, the College 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. Students alleging failure to comply with FERPA also have the right to file complaints with the U.S. Department of Education under its regulations (see 34 C.F. R. Part 99). The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA are:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
600 Independence Avenue SW
Washington, D.C. 20202-4605
FERPA further requires, again with certain limited exceptions, that the student’s consent must be obtained before disclosing any personally identifiable information in the student’s education records. One exception, which permits disclosure without consent, is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests, as determined by the administrator responsible for the file. A “school official” includes: anyone employed by the College in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement, unit personnel, health staff and athletic coaches); any person or company acting on behalf of the College (such as an attorney, auditor or collection agent); a member of the Board of Trustees or other governance or advisory body; and a student serving on an official committee (such as a disciplinary or grievance committee) or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official is: performing a task that is specified in his or her position description or contract agreement; or, performing a task related to a student’s education. Other exceptions which permit disclosure without consent are: to persons or organizations providing student financial aid, to accrediting agencies carrying out their accreditation function, to persons in compliance with a judicial order, and to persons in an emergency in order to protect the health or safety of students or other persons. Another exception permits disclosure without consent to parents and guardians in cases of violation of institutional policies governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance if the student is under the age of 21 and if the College determines that there has been a violation with respect to such use or possession.
All students are required to declare their tax status at the commencement of each academic year by signing a statement. The College may, at its own discretion, disclose to the parents of a student who is claimed as a dependent, without obtaining the student’s consent, information about the student when:
- A student has voluntarily withdrawn from the College or has been requested by the College to withdraw;
- A student’s academic good standing or promotion is at issue;
- A student engages in alcohol- or drug-related behavior that violates College policies;
- A student has been placed on disciplinary probation or restriction;
- A student has accumulated four (4) or more points in accordance with the policies of Vice President of Student Affairs Office;
In other communications with parents, the College will normally respect the privacy of the student. The College’s policy regarding the release of grades is found under the section entitled “Students Rights and Confidentiality.”
The College considers the following to be directory information: name, address (campus, home, e-mail), telephone numbers, date and place of birth, academic fields of study, dates of attendance, photographs, participation in recognized activities and sports, degrees and awards, weight and height of athletic team members, most previous educational agency or institution attended, or other similar information. The College may publicize or respond to requests for such information at its discretion. However, the use of these records for commercial or political purposes is prohibited unless approved by the Vice President for Academic Affairs.
As previously advised, all requests made on or before August 15th of this year, will make it possible to be excluded from the College’s campus directory. In addition, currently enrolled students may also request that directory information be withheld from disclosure by making a request, in writing, to the Dean of Students Office on or before the 5th day of the Fall Term. The College assumes that failure on the part of the student to specifically request the withholding of any directory information indicates approval of disclosure. Request for non-disclosure will be honored by the institution for only one academic year; therefore, authorization to withhold directory information must be filed annually.