Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) provide students certain rights of access, privacy, and protection to education records. This notice provides information relating to students rights under FERPA.
- Inspection and Review of Education Records. Students have the right to inspect and review their education records within 45 days of the day the appropriate University office receives a request for access. Students should submit a written request to the Registrar, the Dean of the College, the Dean of the Graduate School, the Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences, the Dean for Campus Life, the Bursar, or other appropriate department head that specifically identifies the education record(s) they wish to inspect. An official within the department that receives the request will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the 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.
- Documents Excluded from the Right of Access. "Education records" are those records that are directly related to a student and are maintained by an educational institution or by a party acting for the institution. Certain records and documents are excluded from the conferral right of access. Documents excluded from the right of student access under FERPA include, but are not limited to: records of members of the faculty and administration that are kept in their sole possession; records created and maintained by the Department of Police and Security for law enforcement purposes, and which are not maintained by other units of the University; employment records relating exclusively to an individual's capacity as an employee of the University; records of a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or paraprofessional, that are made, maintained, or used only in connection with the treatment of a student; records that only contain information about an individual after he or she has graduated, withdrawn, or been permanently separated from the University; financial records (and information contained therein) of a student's parents; confidential letters of recommendation to which the student has waived his or her right of access.
Amendment of Student Education Records.
Students may request the University to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of his or her privacy rights. A student seeking an amendment should write the University official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record the student is requesting to have changed, and specify why it is inaccurate, misleading or in violation of the privacy rights of the student. Note that the basis for changing the records relate to the record as of the time it is made. Later changes in circumstances may not be used as a basis for retroactively changing the record.
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.
If as a result of the hearing the University decides that the information in the education record is not inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of his or her privacy rights, the student shall have the right to place in the education records a statement commenting on the contested information in the record or why he or she disagrees with the decision of the University.
Consent to Disclosure and Disclosure Without Consent.
Education records may be disclosed to third parties either by consent of a student or education records may be disclosed without the prior written consent of a student pursuant to an exception under FERPA. Following are some of the exceptions to the requirement that an institution shall not disclose personally identifiable information contained in a student's education records without the prior written consent of the student:
- Disclosures to University officials with legitimate educational interests. A University official is a person employed by the University 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 (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Corporation; or a student serving on an official committee, such as 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;
- At its discretion the University may disclose directory information in accordance with the provisions of the Act to include: student's name, local and home addresses, postal box, telephone number, electronic mail address, date and place of birth, major field of study, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, assistantships and fellowships, previous school or institution attended by the student, the posting of grades by numbers or codes that are not personally identifiable and are generated/created exclusively for the posting of grades for the class, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, and weight and height of members of athletic teams may be disclosed without restriction;
- Disclosure to comply with a judicial order or a lawfully issued subpoena;
- Disclosure in connection with financial aid for which the student has applied or which the student has received, as necessary to determine eligibility, amounts or conditions of the financial aid, or to enforce the terms and conditions of the aid;
- Disclosure, upon request, to officials of another educational institution where the student seeks or intends to enroll;
- Disclosure to parents of a dependent student as defined by federal tax laws (students claiming to be independent must file with the Registrar by the beginning of each semester a statement certifying that he or she is not financially dependent pursuant to federal tax law);
- Disclosure in connection with a health or safety emergency;
- Disclosure of the results of an institutional disciplinary proceeding against the alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence may be released to the alleged victim of that crime with respect to that crime;
- Disclosure of the final results (name, violation committed, sanction imposed) of a disciplinary proceeding against a student who is an alleged perpetrator of any crime of violence or a nonforcible sex offense, if as a result of the proceeding it is determined that the student committed a violation of University rules or policies with respect to such crime or offense;
- Disclosure to parents or guardians, of students under the age of 21, information concerning violations of law or University policies regarding the use or possession of alcohol or controlled substances if the student has been found to have committed a disciplinary violation with respect to use or possession.
Objections to the University's Disclosure of Directory Information.
Students may restrict the release of directory information, except to school officials with legitimate educational interests and to others as permitted by law. In order to restrict release, a student must make the request, in writing, as specified below:
- A student must notify the Registrar, Box K, in writing of his or her objection when registering for the fall semester or not later than the first day of class of the semester. Requests for non-disclosure will be honored by the institution for only one academic year, therefore authorization to withhold directory information must be filed annually in the Office of the Registrar.
- Brown University publishes an electronic address book (EAB) that contains directory information about students. A student who objects to disclosure of directory information through Brown's electronic address book must notify the Office of Computing Accounts and Access, Box 1885, in writing received not later than June 15 for students matriculating Semester I, or not later than December 15 for students matriculating Semester II. It is necessary for a student to make arrangements with the Office of Computing Accounts and Access for an alternative email address to be created and displayed in the electronic address with other directory information about a student that is displayed in the EAB - deletion of a standard EAB entry will result in a denial of network services.
Where to File a Complaint About Alleged FERPA Violations.
Complaints concerning alleged failures by the University to comply with the requirements of FERPA may be filed with the U.S. Department of Education. The name and address of the office that administers FERPA are:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, S.W.
Washington, DC, 20202-4605