Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Policy

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(Student Handbook 1.12)

Introduction (Student Handbook 1.12.A)

FERPA. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, commonly known as FERPA, provides students with a right of access to their education records, permits students to challenge the accuracy of the records and prohibits the non-consensual release of such information except in limited circumstances (see Sections 1.12.B and 1.12. E below). This policy applies to all students in attendance at Miami University. In accordance with the federal regulations implementing FERPA, Miami defines in attendance for first time students as having accepted the University’s offer of admission and made the required deposit. Thereafter, a student is deemed to be “in attendance” during all periods of enrollment, during breaks between terms, during University holidays and vacations, and during periods of suspension. The University informs students of their rights under FERPA by annual publication of the University policy in The Student Handbook and by publication of annual notification of rights in The Miami Student.

Directory Information (Student Handbook 1.12.B)

Definition. Federal law requires the following information be designated as Directory Information under FERPA (34.C.F.R. 99.1). FERPA permits the release of directory information without the student’s consent (34.C.F.R.99.31).

  1. name, campus address, telephone listing, and campus email address;
  2. place and date of birth;
  3. major field(s) of study, including the college, division, department or program in which the student is enrolled;
  4. enrollment status (undergraduate or graduate, full-time or part-time);
  5. dates of attendance;
  6. degrees, scholarships, honors, and awards, including President’s List, Dean’s List, honorary organizations and grade point average of students selected;
  7. most recent educational institution attended;
  8. photographic, video, or electronic images taken and maintained by the University;
  9. participation in officially recognized student organizations, activities, and sports;
  10. weight and height of members of athletic teams.

A student has the right to refuse to permit the designation of any or all of the categories of directory information. Any student wishing to exercise this right must inform the Office of the University Registrar in writing on or before July 15 of the categories of personally identifiable information that are not to be designated as directory information with respect to that student.

Disclosure of Directory Information under FERPA is permissive, not mandatory.  As a result, there is no entitlement to Directory Information under FERPA.  The Ohio Public Records Act (the “Act”) does not mandate that every record created by a state entity constitutes a public record subject to disclosure.  In order for a record to be a public record subject to disclosure, the record must serve to document the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, or other activities of the office. Information designated as directory information does not meet the definition of a public record simply because it is designated as Directory Information.

Access to Student Records (Student Handbook 1.12.C)

Access to Own Records. A student who is currently attending or who has been enrolled as a student at Miami University may have access to his or her education records with certain exceptions that are listed below. An educational record is defined as material that is directly related to the student maintained by the institution. The material is covered by the policy as long as the institution uses it for making decisions about the student or for transmitting information to others outside of the institution.

A request to review such education records shall be made in writing by the student to the office concerned. The institution or office concerned shall respond to the request within a reasonable period of time, but not to exceed 45 days after the day of the request. Upon written request, a student will be provided with a copy of the education record at a reasonable cost.

Records Not Subject to Inspection. The following records shall not be subject to inspection by students:

  1. Private notes and materials such as grade books used by faculty and staff.
  2. Financial records of the parents of the students or information from such records. Information from the Parents’ Confidential Statement may be released to the student only on the condition that the proper authorization has been given by the parent(s).

Non-Admitted Students. This policy does not extend to rejected applicants for admission.

Waiver of Access (Student Handbook 1.12.D)

Students may waive in writing their right of access to confidential letters of recommendation respecting admission, employment, or the receipt of an honor. On request, students will be notified of the names of all persons making confidential recommendations; such recommendations must be used solely for the purpose for which they were intended.

Disclosure of Information (Student Handbook 1.12.E)

Conditions for Disclosure (Student Handbook 1.12.E.1)

Personally identifiable information will not be released from an education record without the prior written consent of the student, except under one or more of the conditions listed below.

  1. The disclosure is to University officials with legitimate educational interests. A University official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility. A University official is any of the following:
    1. A person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research or support staff position (including law enforcement personnel and health services staff).
    2. A person or company with whom the University has contracted (such as an attorney or auditor or collection agent)
    3. A person serving on the Board of Trustees.
    4. A student serving on an official committee such as a disciplinary board or grievance committee or assisting another University official in performing his or her tasks.
  2. The disclosure is to officials of another school where the student seeks or intends to enroll.
  3. The disclosure is to the Comptroller General, The Secretary of Education, state educational authorities or authorized representatives of the Attorney General for law enforcement purposes.
  4. The disclosure is in connection with financial aid for which the student has applied or which the student has received to determine eligibility for aid, the amount of aid, the conditions of aid or enforcement of the terms and conditions of aid.
  5. The disclosure is to organizations conducting studies for or on behalf of educational agencies or institutions.
  6. The disclosure is to accrediting organizations to carry out accrediting functions.
  7. The disclosure is to parent(s) of a dependent student, as defined by Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code.
  8. The disclosure is to comply with a judicial order or a lawfully issued subpoena. The University will make a reasonable effort to notify the student of the order or subpoena in advance of compliance, unless the subpoena is a federal grand jury subpoena or other subpoena issued for law enforcement purposes and directs otherwise.
  9. The disclosure is in connection with a health or safety emergency if necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals.
  10. The disclosure is to a parent or legal guardian of a student under the age of 21 of information regarding any violation of any federal, state, or local law or of any rule or policy of the University governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance if the University has determined that the student has committed a disciplinary violation with respect to such use or possession.
  11. The disclosure is of the final results of any disciplinary proceeding conducted by the University against a student who is an alleged perpetrator of any crime of violence (as that term is defined in section 16 of title 18, United States Code) or a non-forcible sex offense, if the University determines as a result of the disciplinary proceeding that the student committed a violation of the institution’s rules or policies with respect to such crime or offense. The information shall include only the name of the student, the violation committed and any sanctions imposed by the University on the student. The University may include the name of any other student such as a victim or witness, only with the written consent of that other student. The University will notify victims of sexual assault of the outcome of any disciplinary proceeding against the alleged perpetrator.

Additional Rules of Disclosure (Student Handbook 1.12.E.2)

A record of any disclosures made will be maintained and the student is entitled to inspect and review that record. Confidential information will be transferred to a third party only on the condition that such party will not permit any other party to have access to such information without the written consent of the student. No person, agency, or organization other than those identified in this Section 1.12.E will have access to such records before indicating in writing the legitimate educational or other interest of the person, agency, or organization. Such record shall be kept with the student’s file and shall be open to inspection only by the student, the responsible administrator and his or her staff, and persons specifically authorized by law. No notation is required for access by University employees in the normal course of their duties.

University Policy and Procedure on a Student’s Right to Inspect and Review Personally Identifiable Records and the Right to Challenge the Content of Those Records (Student Handbook 1.12.F)

Inspection and Review of Records (Student Handbook 1.12.F.1)

Present and former students of Miami University have the right to inspect and review their education records. The University will respond to any reasonable request for explanation and interpretation of records. A student may request the opportunity to inspect and review his or her records. Such a request must be made in writing. The request should be made to the chief administrator or designee(s) (e.g., the University Registrar, Bursar, dean or chair of academic department) of the office in which the records are on file. A request must specify records to be inspected and reviewed, the purpose of the disclosure and to whom the records are to be released.

A request by a student to inspect and review his or her records will be granted within a reasonable period of time, but such time is not to exceed 45 days after the request has been received by the department. Records will be inspected and reviewed by the student in the presence of the chief administrator or designee(s). Contested records may not be changed or deleted during the process of inspection and review. The student shall be advised of the student’s right to challenge the content of the records and be advised to review this policy. Upon written request the student shall be provided with a copy of that portion(s) of his or her education record at a reasonable cost to the student.

Challenging Contents of Records (Student Handbook 1.12.F.2)

Request to Amend. If the student believes the education records of the student contain information that is inaccurate, misleading or in violation of the student’s rights of privacy or other rights, the student may ask the chief administrator of the office in which the records are maintained to amend the record. The chief administrator shall advise the student in writing within a reasonable time of the chief administrator’s decision. If the chief administrator decides not to amend the record as requested, the chief administrator shall inform the student of the student’s right to a hearing and give the student a copy of this policy.

Hearing

Request — The student may request in writing a hearing to challenge the content of the student’s education records on the grounds that the information contained in the education records is inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the privacy or other rights of the student. The written request shall be delivered to the Office of the Secretary of the University.

Hearing — The hearing shall be held before the Secretary of the University or, at the Secretary’s discretion, a committee appointed by the Secretary, within a reasonable time after receipt of the request. Notice of the time, date and place of the hearing shall be given in writing to the student at least three (3) working days in advance of the hearing. The student will be given a full opportunity to present evidence that the information contained in the education records is inaccurate, misleading or in violation of the privacy or other rights of the student. The student may, at the student’s own expense, be represented by one or more individuals of his or her own choice including an attorney.

Decision. The Secretary of the University’s (or committee’s) decision will be made in writing within ten (10) business days after the hearing. The decision will be based solely on the evidence presented at the hearing, and will include a summary of the evidence and the reasons for the decision. If the Secretary of the University (or committee) determines that the information in the education record is not inaccurate, misleading or otherwise in violation of the privacy or other rights of the student, the Secretary of the University shall inform the student of the student’s right to place a statement in the education record commenting on the contested information or stating why he or she disagrees with the decision.

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