The Family Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (commonly referred to as FERPA or the “Buckley Amendment”) guarantees a student (1) access to his or her educational record, (2) the right to challenge the accuracy of the record, and (3) the right to limit release of information from the record.
The Educational Record includes all records, files and documents directly related to the student and maintained by Heidelberg University. These records include, but are not limited to, biographical data and address information; the admission application and supporting documents; the academic record including departmental files, class schedules, grade reports, and transcript of record; athletic records; disciplinary records; financial records; placement credentials; public safety records; and residence life records. Not covered under FERPA are medical and counseling records, and security records.
Under FERPA, contents of a student’s academic record can be distributed on a “need to know” basis within the University. Recipients might include faculty and peer facilitators, department chairpersons, staff and administrators, individuals conducting institutional research, student employees, etc.
Directory Information, as designated by Heidelberg University, includes: name, enrollment status, Heidelberg assigned email address, Campus Center mailbox, photo, dates of attendance, class (academic level), major field of study, degrees at this institution, date of graduation, honors and awards, and statement of good academic standing. In addition, for athletes, participation on specific teams, height and weight are also released.
NOTE: All items of Directory Information are subject to release without prior written consent unless the student notifies the Office of the Registrar in writing during the first week of the academic year of his or her objection to release of the information. This objection is good for the entire academic year, and must be renewed at the start of the next academic year. The Directory Information list is purposely brief to allow maximum comfort to students, and ease of processing standard inquiries. A student should think carefully about the consequences of requesting that this list not be released. Students should understand that if they are listed as a dependent on a parent’s most recent income tax return, and if the parent provides a copy of that information to the Registrar, the University is legally able to provide the parent information from the academic record without consent.
Access to Educational Records is provided under FERPA. Within 45 days of receipt of a written request to the Office of the Registrar, the appropriate University official will make arrangements for access, and will notify the student of the time and place where the record may be viewed (copies are not required by law). If the records are not maintained by the Registrar, the request will be forwarded to the appropriate University official. Depending on the record in question, the request will likely be processed by one of the following individuals: Registrar, Dean of Student Affairs, Provost, VP for Enrollment, Honors Program Director, Athletic Director, or the academic department chair.
FERPA also guarantees the right to request amendment of the student’s educational records that the student believes is inaccurate. After inspecting the record, if a student wishes for the university to consider an amendment to his or her record, he or she should complete the Request for Record Amendment form available in the Office of the Registrar. This written request should clearly identify the specific part of the record a student wishes to have changed and should specify why it is inaccurate or misleading.
If the University decides not to amend the record as requested, 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.
Please be aware that if a student objects to any part of the directory information, all will be withheld. This means that the student will be required to provide a signed, written release for each legitimate need for information to be released. This would include standard reporting to loan agencies for deferral of loan payments, reporting to athletic eligibility offices, verification of enrollment for insurance purposes, scholarship and award inquiries, etc. It becomes the responsibility of the student to determine when these requests must be submitted.
For additional FERPA resources, please visit the Registrar’s webpage, or the U.S. Department of Education.