What is FERPA?
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Of 1974 (FERPA) is a federal regulation that protects the privacy of student education records and provides eligible students certain rights with respect to their education records:
- To inspect and review all educational records pertaining to the student, with some exceptions under FERPA, within forty-five (45) days of the day the university receives a request for access. Students should submit to the appropriate official written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The university official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the university official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed. (Note: UALR students may have records in one or more of the following offices: Academic Advising, Admissions, Bursar’s Office, College Deans Offices, Disability Resource Center, Financial Aid, IT Services, Health Services, Ottenheimer Library, Records and Registration, Testing Services, and in the custody of other administrative and academic personnel within the limitation of their need to know. Students may review their education records by written request to the appropriate office’s record custodian. Students should submit a written signed request which identifies as precisely as possible the record(s) he or she wishes to inspect. A student must present a valid photo ID such as a driver’s license, military ID, University ID, or state ID before being permitted to review the education record.)
- The right to request the amendment of his or her educational records to ensure that they are not inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of his or her privacy or other rights. Students should write the university official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the university decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the university 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 and is also contained in University Wide Administrative Memorandum 515.1. ( See 6. below)
- The right to withhold directory information (see directory information below), which will be subject to public disclosure unless the student informs the Office of Records and Registration in writing, that he or she does not want any information designated as directory information.
- The right to consent disclosure of personally identifiable information contained in his or her educational records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One such exception permits disclosure without consent to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A “school official” is a person employed by the university in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position including campus law enforcement unit personnel and health staff; a person or company with whom the university has contracted such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agency; a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or 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 needs to review an educational record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility. Upon request, the university may also disclose educational records without consent to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
- The right to file a complaint with the United States Department of Education concerning an alleged failure by the university to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue S.W.
Washington, DC 20202-4605
- The right to obtain a copy, upon paying a copying fee, of University Wide Administrative Memorandum 515.1 and the university’s copy of FERPA regulations. Copies may be obtained in the UALR Ottenheimer Library.
When a student turns 18 years old, or enters a postsecondary institution at any age, the rights under FERPA transfer from the parents to the student (“eligible student”). The FERPA statute is found at 20 U.S.C. § 1232g and the FERPA regulations are found at 34 CFR Part 99.
How am I informed about my rights under FERPA?
Educational institutions are required to notify eligible students about their rights under FERPA. Schools do not have to individually notify students, but do have to notify them by any means that are reasonably likely to inform them of their rights. UALR informs eligible students of their rights under FERPA through website notices, the UALR student handbook, distribution of FERPA related forms, and verbally or in writing as requested.
What are my rights as a student?
Once a student reaches 18 years of age or attends a postsecondary institution, he or she becomes an “eligible student,” and all rights formerly given to parents under FERPA transfer to the student. The eligible student has the right to have access to his or her education records, the right to seek to have the records amended, the right to have control over the disclosure of personally identifiable information from the records (except in certain circumstances specified in the FERPA regulations, some of which are discussed below), and the right to file a complaint with the Department. The term “education records” is defined as those records that contain information directly related to a student and which are maintained by an educational agency or institution or by a party acting for the agency or institution.
What is Directory Information?
Directory information is public information and is open to the public. This information may be given without student consent. UALR’s handling of directory information is in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (commonly known as FERPA). Directory information includes:
- Student’s name
- Addresses (including e-mail)
- Telephone number
- Date and place of birth
- Major field of study
- Enrollment status including number of hours completed
- Marital status
- Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
- Weight and height of members of athletic teams
- Dates of attendance including matriculation and withdrawal dates
- Degrees, scholarships, honors, and awards received
- Previously attended high schools, colleges, or universities
Currently enrolled students may request that directory information be withheld from all but government and lending agencies by completing the Request to Prevent Release of Directory Information form. The form can be mailed, faxed or brought to the Office of Records and Registration. It will remain in effect until it is revoked, in writing, by the student. (Note: This will prevent verification requests, such as degree verifications from potential employers, without explicit consent from the student.)
Does UALR disclose other information without my consent?
Generally, schools must have written permission from the parent or eligible student in order to release any information from a student’s education record. However, FERPA allows schools to disclose those records, without consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions (34 CFR § 99.31):
School officials with legitimate educational interest
- Other schools to which a student is transferring;
- Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes;
- Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student;
- Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school;
- Accrediting organizations;
- To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena;
- Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies; and
- State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific State law.
Can UALR disclose my information to someone with my consent?
Students may submit a form to give UALR permission to release any or all of your academic records to a specific person or persons. Since UALR students may have records in multiple offices you may need to sign several different forms to ensure your designated party can have all the access to your records they need.