FERPA: Privacy & Education Records

Annually, Southern Virginia University informs students of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended. This Act, with which the institution fully complies, was designed to protect the privacy of educational records. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their educational records. These rights include:

1. Review

The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days of the day the university receives a request for access. Students should submit to the registrar, academic vice president, division chair, or other 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 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.

2. Amendment

The right to request amendments to the student’s education records that the student believes to be inaccurate or misleading. Students may ask the university to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. They should write to 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.

3. Disclosure

The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception that permits disclosure without consent is disclosure 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 security 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 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 education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility. A second exception that permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to the parents of students who have claimed the students as dependants to the Internal Revenue Service in their most recent year’s federal income taxes. The following is considered “Directory Information” at Southern Virginia University and will be made available to the general public unless the student removes the information from the Student Directory:

Name; addresses; email; date and place of birth; home and school phone numbers; photo; dates of attendance; field of study; awards, certificates, degrees, and diplomas earned, including dates; participation in officially recognized university extracurricular activities; and previous educational institutions attended.

4. Complaint

The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Southern Virginia 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 SW, Washington, DC 20202-4605.