Education Rights and Privacy Act

The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, (the “Act”), is a federal law which states (a) that a written institutional policy must be established and (b) that a statement of adopted procedures covering the privacy rights of students must be made available. Maryville University shall maintain the confidentiality of student education records in accordance with the provisions of the Act and shall accord all the rights under the Act to students who are declared independent and who are or have been in attendance at the University. 

FERPA requires the University to advise students of their rights under the Act. They include the right:

  • To inspect and review information contained in their educational records;
  • To seek amendment to those records that students consider to be inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of their privacy rights;
  • To have a hearing if the request to amend the record is denied and to submit explanatory statements for inclusion in their files if the decision of the hearing panel is unacceptable; The Registrar at Maryville has been assigned to coordinate the inspection and review procedures for student education records, which include admissions, personal, academic, and financial files and academic cooperative education and placement records.
  • 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;

and file a complaint concerning alleged failures by the University to comply with the requirements of FERPA. Such complaints are to be directed to:

Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20202-5920

I. Education Records: Definition

Education records are records directly related to a student which are maintained by the University or by a party acting in its behalf. Education records do not include the following:

  • Records of instructional, supervisory, and administrative personnel, and ancillary educational personnel that are not in the sole possession of the creator, are used only as a personal memory aid, and are not accessible or revealed to any other individual except a substitute who may temporarily perform the duties of the creator;
  • Records of a law enforcement unit of the University created by that unit for a law enforcement purpose that are maintained by the unit separate from education records, and are maintained for law enforcement purposes.
  • Records relating to individuals who are employed by the University and are made and maintained in the normal course of business and relate exclusively to those individuals in their capacity as employees and are not available for another purpose; (records of persons who are employed solely as a consequence of college attendance, e.g., teaching/graduate assistants or work-study students, however, are education records);
  • Records created and maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional acting in his or her professional capacity or assisting in a paraprofessional capacity, such as student health records to be used solely in connection with the provision of treatment to the student and not disclosed to anyone other than for treatment purposes, provided that records may be disclosed to physicians or professionals of student’s choice. Treatment in this context, however, does not include remedial education activities or other activities which are part of the program of instruction at Maryville University; and
  • Records of an institution which contain only information relating to a person after that person is no longer a student at the institution and are not directly related to the individual’s attendance as a student (e.g., accomplishments of alumni).

II. Requests to Inspect and Review

The Registrar at Maryville has been assigned the responsibility to coordinate the inspection and review procedures for student education records, which include admissions, personal, academic, and financial files. Students wishing to review their education records must make a written request to the Registrar who has the record in the Registrar’s custody, listing the item or items to be reviewed. Only those records covered by the Act will be available for review. The items requested shall be made available no later than 45 calendar days following receipt of the written request. When circumstances effectively prevent the exercise of this right, students have the right to be given a copy of their education records.

A copy of the academic record may be refused if a “hold” for non-payment of financial obligation exists. Unless the imposition of a fee effectively prevents a student from exercising the right to inspect and review the student’s education records, the copies shall be made at the student’s expense. The fee for making copies of the education record is $.50 per page and must be paid at the time the copy is requested.

III. Limitations on Students Rights

There are some limitations on the rights of students to inspect records. The students shall have no right of inspection or review of:

  • Financial information submitted by their parents;
  • Confidential letters or recommendations in the student file prior to January 1, 1975, if such documents were intended to be confidential and are used only for the purpose intended;
  • Confidential letters or recommendations in the file subsequent to January 1, 1975, associated with admissions, employment, or job placement or the receipt of an honor or honorary recognition if the student has waived their right to inspect such document(s); and
  • Education records containing information about more than one student, in which case the University will permit access only to that part of the record pertaining to the inquiring student.

Maryville University does not require a waiver of the right to inspect confidential letters or recommendations as a condition for admission to or receipt of a service or benefit from the University, and no institutional service shall be denied students who fail to supply waivers. All waivers must be in writing and signed by the student. If students waive their rights to inspect and review these confidential documents, the University will give the student, on request, the names of the individuals who provided the letters and statements of recommendation and will use the documents to which students have waived the right of access only for the purpose(s) for which they were collected. If used for other purposes, the waivers shall be void and the documents may be inspected by the student. The student may revoke the waiver in writing, but by revoking it, they do not regain the right to inspect and review documents collected while the waiver was in force.

IV. Disclosure of Information Without Consent

FERPA permits the University’s disclosure of personally identifiable information from an education without the student’s consent if the disclosure meets one or more of certain conditions specified in the Act. These disclosures include, but are not limited to the following:

  • University officials with legitimate educational interests. A University official is a person employed in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the University has contracted institutional services or functions that the University would otherwise use employees to perform (e.g., an attorney, auditor or collection agent); a person serving on the university’s governing board; or a student serving on an official committee (e.g., a disciplinary or grievance committee) or assisting another University official in performing his or her tasks. 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 must be under the direct control of the University with respect to the use and maintenance of information from education records.;
  • Parents of students who are dependents according to Internal Revenue Code of 1954, Section 152 (as amended). This requires a certified copy of the parent’s most recent Federal Income Tax Form;
  • Parents of a student regarding the student’s 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 that use or possession and the student is under the age of 21 at the time of the disclosure to the parent; and
  • Appropriate persons, including parents, in a health or safety emergency if knowledge of the information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals.

V. Institutional Record of Disclosure

Maryville University shall keep a written record of each request for access to and each disclosure of personally identifiable information from the education record of each student as well as the names of Federal, state and local educational authorities that may make further disclosures without consent. The student shall have the right to inspect that record. The record shall include the names of parties or agencies who have requested or to whom disclosure was made and the legitimate reasons for the disclosure, and the date of the disclosure. No record of disclosure shall be required for those requests made by students for their own use, those disclosures made with the written consent of the students, those made to the University officials or those specified as Directory Information as described below.

VI. Consent to Disclosure of Education Record Information

Except for those disclosures that FERPA authorizes without the student’s consent, Maryville University shall obtain written consent from students before disclosing any personally identifiable information from their education record. Such written consent for disclosure must:

  1. specify the records to be released;
  2. state the purpose of the disclosure;
  3. identify the party or class of parties to whom disclosure may be made; and
  4. be signed and dated by the student.

All such consents shall be maintained in the education record file of the student.

VII.Directory Information

Pursuant to FERPA, Maryville University has classified certain personally identifiable information as Directory

Information, which may be released without the student’s consent. This includes: student name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, photograph, date and place of birth, grade level, enrollment status (e.g., full or part time, undergraduate or graduate), major field of study, dates of attendance, degrees, honors and awards received, the most recent previous educational agency or institution attended by the student, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, and weight and height of members of athletic teams. A student ID number, user ID, or other unique personal identifier used by a student for purposes of accessing or communicating in electronic systems may also be deemed directory information, but only if that identifier cannot be used to gain access to education records except when used in conjunction with one or more factors that authenticate the user’s identity (e.g., PIN or password). Any such means of authentication must only be known or possessed by the authorized user. The release of this information may be in written or electronic form, including images of the student.

FERPA permits the institution to limit the disclosure of directory information to specific parties, for specific purposes, or both. In the exercise of that authority, this institution may release all directory information to University officials as defined above. Other releases will be limited to those situations in which the University, in its discretion, believes the release would recognize a student for academic or extracurricular achievement or otherwise advance the student’s career interests or when the University believes the release would serve to advance the interests and image of the University. Examples of such releases would be the disclosure of directory information to prospective employers, financial aid and scholarship agencies or registry, licensure or certification services. Another example would be the release of directory information in connection with University-sanctioned alumni affairs. The University will not release directory information to persons or parties not affiliated with the University when their intent is to use that information for commercial purposes.

Students may opt out of the disclosure of Directory Information by notifying designated officials in writing. Upon receipt of such request, the Registrar will designate that portion of the student’s directory information as confidential and not to be released outside this University except to individuals, institutions, agencies and organizations otherwise authorized by FERPA.

The University will honor all requests to withhold any of the categories of directory information listed in the written request, but will not assume any responsibility to contact the student for subsequent permission to release that information. Nondisclosure will be enforced until the student subsequently authorizes its release. A student may not, however, opt-out of the disclosure of the student’s name, identifier or University e-mail address in a class in which the student is enrolled.

Regardless of the effect on the student, the University assumes no liability for honoring the request of the student to restrict the disclosure of directory information.

VIII. Requests to Amend the Contents of Education Records

Any student who believes that the student’s education records contain information that is inaccurate or misleading or is otherwise in violation of their privacy may discuss their concerns informally with designated official. If the decision of that person is in agreement with the student’s request, the appropriate records shall be amended and the student shall be notified in writing of the amendment(s). If the decision is not in agreement, the student shall be notified within fifteen (15) calendar days that the records will not be amended and the student shall be notified by the official of the student’s right to a hearing. Student requests for a formal hearing must be made in writing within thirty (30) calendar days from the mailing of notice to the designated official who, within thirty (30) days of receipt of the written request, shall inform the student of the date, time and place of the hearing. The student shall be afforded a full and fair opportunity to present evidence relevant to the issue(s) raised. If the student desires, the student may be assisted or represented, at the student’s expense, at the hearing by one or more persons of their choice, including an attorney. The hearing may be conducted by any party, including an official of the University so long as the person does not have a direct interest in the outcome of the hearing. The hearing which will adjudicate such challenges will be held by the Human Resource and Governmental Advisory Committee.

The decision of the hearing panel shall be final, shall be based solely on the evidence presented at the hearing, shall be in writing and shall summarize the evidence and state the reasons for the decision. The written report shall be mailed to the student and any concerned party within thirty (30) calendar days of the date of the hearing.

  • If the hearing panel determines that the information at issue is inaccurate, misleading or a violation of privacy or other rights, the student’s record shall be amended in accordance with the decision and the student shall be so informed in writing.
  • If the hearing panel decision is unsatisfactory to the student, the student may place with the education record a statement(s) commenting on the information in the record, or statement setting forth any reasons for disagreeing with the decision of the hearing panel. The statement(s) shall be placed in the education record and shall be maintained as part of the record and shall be released whenever the records in question are disclosed to an authorized party. Such rights of challenge, however, cannot be used to question substantive educational judgments which are correctly recorded (e.g., course grades with which the student disagrees).

IX. Destruction of Records

Once a student has requested access to their records, such student’s record shall not be destroyed until inspection and review have been provided. The following items shall not be destroyed or removed from the record: a) “explanations” placed in the record by the student (as described in this appendix); and b) records of disclosure and requests for disclosures. Maryville University reserves the right to destroy information contained in student records and files when information on file is no longer valid or useful, such as letters of recommendation once they have been used for their original purpose.