The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 is a federal law designed to protect the privacy of, and limit access to, student education records. Academic files for all students are housed in the Registrar’s Office, and students’ educational portfolios are maintained in the Office of Student Affairs. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act provides eligible students certain rights and privileges with respect to their educational records. These rights include:
1. The right to inspect and review the student’s educational record within 45 days after the day Austin College receives a request for access.
Process: A student should submit a written request to the registrar or vice president of Student Affairs explaining the specific records in which the student wants to inspect. Arrangements for a time and place will be made with the student to inspect the record.
2. The right to request an amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes to be inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA.
Process: The student who wishes to request an amendment must make a written request to the registrar or vice president of Student Affairs identifying the record that the student is seeking to change and the rationale for the change. An investigation of the request will be made and the school will notify the student in writing as to the decision and rationale.
3. The right to provide written consent before the college discloses personally identifiable information from the student’s education record, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
Process: Students must request copies of the appropriate Permission to Release Student Educational Record Information from the Registrar’s Office, complete the form, and return verifying the type of information that can be released based on the need.
4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Austin College to comply with the requirements of FERPA.
Process: The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Ave, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202
FERPA also stipulates provisions concerning release of material in a student’s file to outsiders. Austin College complies fully with the legislation and follows the guidelines issued by the Department of Education. Austin College may disclose a student’s education records to other agencies or institutions that have requested the records and in which the student seeks or intends to enroll or is already enrolled if the disclosure is for purposes related to the student’s enrollment or transfer. The official statement of compliance by Austin College regarding the 1974 Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act is published in the Outback Guide. Any questions about these policies and procedures should be referred to the registrar or the vice president for Student Affairs.
FERPA Authorized Disclosure of Directory Information
Austin College may (but is not required to) release directory information for students enrolled at Austin College (34 CFR § 99.37). Directory information includes the following:
name, addresses, telephone number, email address
most recent institution attended
majors and minor fields of study
dates of attendance
participation in sports and activities
weight and height for athletics
honors and awards received, and degrees awarded
Requests for a restriction in directory information should be made in writing to the vice president of Student Affairs or the registrar. Students can request a full restriction to directory information (restricting all information regardless of the situation) or partial restriction to directory information (restricting the release of information except for use in Austin College publications, programs and website, Honors and Graduation Court, etc.) unless modified by the student.
FERPA for Parents: Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is FERPA?
A: FERPA (Family Educational Right and Privacy Act of 1974) is a federal law that protects the privacy of a student’s educational records and guarantees the student’s access to their own records.
Q: Do parents have a right of access to their child’s educational records?
A: Once a student has matriculated to Austin College (i.e., on the first day of classes of the first semester at Austin College), Austin College must maintain compliance with the federal law in what information can be shared with third parties, including parents. Below shares what type of information and procedures for parental access to their student’s records:
|Information||Information Accessible by Parent||Exceptions|
|Directory Information– defined above||Yes||Directory information may be shared with parents unless the student places a limit on what directory information can be shared. See “FERPA Authorized Disclosure of Directory Information” on this site for more information.|
|Financial Information- billing statements and current account balances||No||Students can grant permission for one academic year with the Permission to Release Educational Record Information form available in the Business Office.Austin College will share financial information with parents if at least one parent claims the student as a dependent on his/her tax return. (34 CFR §99.31(a)(8)) Documentation may be requested for verification.|
|Educational Information– grades, academic standing, majors/minors progress and enrollment information||No||Austin College does not release educational information without permission from the student. Students can grant permission for a specific instance with the Permission to Release Educational Record Information form available at the Registrar’s Office. However, even with a release, campus officials involved may still require the student to be present in discussions related to educational information.|
|Health and Safety Emergencies||Yes||The vice president for Student Affairs may share information with parents if a student experiences a health or safety emergency that warrants parental intervention. (34 CFR §99.36)|
Parents interested in finding out more information about Austin College policies or procedures are welcome to contact the vice president for Student Affairs for more information or referral.