The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, is a federal law which sets forth requirements aimed at protecting the privacy of educational records. Education records are defined as those records which directly relate to a student and are maintained by an educational agency or institution or by a party acting on behalf of that institution. Any educational institution that receives funds under any program administered by the U.S. Secretary of Education is bound by FERPA requirements.
Students have the following inherent rights under FERPA:
- Control the disclosure of their “education records” to others
- Inspect and review their “education records”
- Seek amendment to their “education records”
- File a complaint with the Department of Education
Once students are enrolled at MWSU, FERPA rights transfer to the student, regardless of the student’s age.
In the absence of an official request, information contained in a student’s records remains confidential between the student and MWSU and will not be released to third parties without the consent of the student, with the following exceptions:
- as directory information;
- to school officials with legitimate education interest;
- to schools which the student is seeking admission;
- to organizations conducting studies of or on behalf of educational institutions;
- to federal, state or local education authorities;
- in connection with the receipt of financial aid;
- to accrediting agencies;
- to comply with a judicial order or subpoena;
- in health or safety emergencies
- results of a disciplinary hearing to an alleged victim of a crime of violence
- to parents of students under the legal drinking age if caught possessing or using alcohol or drugs
Missouri Western State University defines directory information as:
Currently enrolled students may withhold disclosure of information under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended. To withhold disclosure, written notification must be received in the Office of the Registrar (Eder Hall 102). A hold will not apply retroactively and will remain valid until the student submits notification in writing, stating otherwise. Missouri Western assumes that failure on the part of any student to specifically request the withholding of “Directory Information” indicates individual approval for disclosure.
Request for records inspection should be directed to the official in charge of maintaining the record. The personally identifiable educational records of each student and former student maintained by the university are open for inspection by the student, except in limited cases where privacy, confidentiality, or professional privileges of another person is involved.
The student may challenge an inaccurate record and request a hearing concerning any alleged inaccuracy contained therein. Any challenge must establish by a preponderance that the record is inaccurate. If desired, the student may submit a written explanation of a record’s content, which then becomes a part of the record. Additional information regarding FERPA may be obtained from the Office of the Registrar, Eder 102 or the University’s Risk Manager, Popplewell 221.