Family Education Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA)
(Updated August 1, 2017)
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, company or service provider 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 authorized representatives of the U.S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or State Educational authorities in connection with an audit or evaluation; 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 financial aid, or enforce the terms and conditions of the aid; , to organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, the College, in order to develop, validate, or administer predictive tests, administer student aid programs, or improve instruction; to accrediting organizations if the information is necessary to carry out accrediting functions; 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. Additionally, exceptions permit disclosure:
- to comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena,
- upon request, to officials of another educational institution where the student seeks or intends to enroll,
- to appropriate officials in connection with a health or safety emergency if knowledge of the information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals,
- to the general public, the final results of a disciplinary proceeding if Union determines the student is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or sexual offense and has committed a violation of Union’s rules or policies with respect to the allegations,
- to a victim, about an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or sexual offense (the disclosure may only include the final results of the disciplinary proceeding with respect to that alleged crime or office),
- if the disclosure concerns sex offenders and other individuals required to register under Section 17010 of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994,
- of the decision of an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence to withdraw from the College while conduct charges are pending and declining to complete the disciplinary process.
All students are required to declare their tax status at the commencement of each academic year by signing a statement. College administrators may, at their discretion, disclose to the parents of a student who is claimed as a dependent as defined by federal tax laws, without obtaining the student’s consent, information about the student. 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.
The College considers the following to be directory information: name, address (campus, home, email), telephone numbers, date and place of birth, academic fields of study, dates of attendance, enrollment status, 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. Requests for non-disclosure will be honored by the institution for only one academic year; therefore, authorization to withhold directory information must be filed annually.