Franciscan University of Steubenville Policy Statement on the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

Download the Consent to the Release of Academic Information Form

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 is a Federal
law stating (a) that a written institutional policy must be established
and (b) that a statement of adopted procedures covering the privacy
rights of students be made available. The law provides that the
institution will maintain the confidentiality of student education

Access to Records Policy
Franciscan University
of Steubenville accords all the rights under the law to students who are
declared independent. No one outside the institution shall have access
to, nor will the institution disclose, any information from students’
education records without the written consent of students, except to
personnel within the institution, to officials of other institutions in
which students seek to enroll, to persons or organizations providing
students’ financial aid, to accrediting agencies carrying out their
accreditation function, to persons in compliance with a judicial order,
and to persons in an emergency in order to protect the health or safety
of students or other persons. All these exceptions are permitted under
the act.

Within the University community, only those members, individually or
collectively, acting in the students’ educational interests are allowed
access to student education records. These members include personnel in
the administrative offices and academic personnel within the limitations
of their need to know.

Release of Student Information to Parents
the limits of the law, Franciscan University will consider releasing
information from a dependent student’s record to his or her parents. If
the student has not given the approval to release such information, the
parent must provide written documentation (i.e., copy of tax form)
verifying that the student was declared a dependent student on the
parent’s most recent tax form. This verification should be mailed to the
Director of Enrollment Services. Certification that a student has
dependent status will be honored for only the current academic year;
therefore, requests for release of information in subsequent academic
semesters must be preceded by updated documentation. Non-directory
information of students with independent status cannot be released to
parents or any third party without the student’s written consent.

Student Directory
At its discretion, the
institution may provide directory information in accordance with the
provisions of the act to include: student name, address, telephone
number, date and place of birth, major field of study, class schedule,
dates of attendance, degrees, awards received, the most recent previous
educational agency or institution attended by the student, participation
in officially recognized activities and sports, and weight and height
of members of athletic teams. Students may withhold directory
information by notifying the Registrar in writing within two weeks after
the first day of class for the fall term. Students beginning their
studies in the spring term, may notify the Registrar in writing within
two weeks after the first day of class for the spring term. Request 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 Enrollment Services Department.

Student Rights
The law provides students with the
right to inspect and review information contained in their education
records, to challenge the contents of their education records, to have a
hearing if the outcome of the challenge is unsatisfactory, and to
submit explanatory statements for inclusion in their files should they
feel the decisions of the hearing panels are unacceptable. Students
wishing to review their education records must make written requests to
the Registrar for academic records, the Director of Student Life for
disciplinary records, or the Director of Career Planning and Placement
for placement records. Only records covered by the act will be made
available within 45 days of the request.

Students may have copies made of their records with certain
exceptions (e.g., a copy of the academic records for which financial
“hold” exists or a transcript of an original or source document, which
exists elsewhere). These copies would be made at the student’s expense
at prevailing rates listed in the current catalog. Education records do
not include records of instructional, administrative, and educational
personnel that are the sole possession of the maker. Such records are
not accessible or revealed to any individual except a temporary
substitute. Also not included are records of the law enforcement unit,
the University student health records, employment records, or alumni
records. Health records, however, may be reviewed by physicians of the
student’s choosing.

Students may not inspect and review the following as outlined by the
act: financial information submitted by their parents; confidential
letters and recommendations associated with admissions, employment, job
placement, or honors to which they have waived their rights of
inspection and review; or education records containing information about
more than one student, in which case the institution will permit access
only to that part of the record that pertains to the inquiring student.
The institution is not required to permit students to inspect and
review confidential letters and recommendations placed in their files
prior to January 1, 1975, provided those letters were collected under
established policies of confidentiality and were used only for the
purpose for which they were collected.

Challenge of Information
Students who believe
that their education records contain information that is inaccurate or
misleading, or is otherwise in violation of their privacy or other
rights, may discuss their problems informally with the administrator
maintaining the records in question. If the decisions are in agreement
with the students’ requests, the appropriate records will be amended. If
not, students will be notified within a reasonable period of time that
the records will not be amended, and they will be informed of their
right to a formal hearing. Requests for a formal hearing must be made in
writing to the Dean of the Faculty who, within a reasonable period of
time after receiving such requests, will inform students of the date,
place, and time of the hearing. Students may present evidence relevant
to the issues raised and may be assisted or represented at the hearing
by one or more persons of their choice, including attorneys, at the
students’ expense. The hearing panel that will adjudicate such
challenges will be the Dean of the Faculty, the Director of Student
Life, and the Department Chairman.

Decisions of the hearing panels will be
final, will be based solely on the evidence presented at the hearing,
will consist of written statements summarizing the evidence and stating
the reasons for the decisions, and will be delivered to all parties
concerned. The education records will be corrected or amended in
accordance with the decisions of the hearing panels, if the decisions
are in favor of the student. If the decisions are unsatisfactory to the
student, the student may place statements commenting on the information
in the records with the education records, or statements setting forth
any reasons for disagreeing with the decisions of the hearing panels.
The statements will be placed in the education records, maintained as
part of the students’ records, and released whenever the records in
question are disclosed.

Students who believe that the adjudications of their challenges were
unfair or not in keeping with the provisions of the act may request in
writing, assistance from the President of the institution. Further,
students who believe that their rights have been abridged, may file
complaints with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Office
(FERPA), Department of Health and Human Resources, Washington, DC 20201,
concerning the alleged failures of Franciscan University of
Steubenville to comply with the act.

Revisions and clarifications will be published as experience with the law and institution’s policy warrants.