Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a Federal law enacted in 1974 that affords students certain rights concerning their student educational records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education. Science & Arts complies with guidelines of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974.

FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children’s education records. These rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level. Students to whom the rights have transferred are “eligible students.” Concurrently enrolled high school students are considered an "eligible student" even if they are under the age of 18.

Complete the FERPA Release Form on your MyUSAO Academics page under Academic Resources (MyUSAO).

Release of Information

Information about students and former students gathered by Science & Arts is of two types: (1) directory and (2) confidential. Any office gathering such information and/or having custody of it, shall release it only in accordance with this policy.

When a student enters the university and furnishes data required for academic and personal records, there is an implicit and justifiable assumption of trust placed in the university as custodian of such information. This relationship continues with regard to any data subsequently generated during the student’s enrollment.

While the university fully acknowledges the student’s rights of privacy concerning this information, it also recognizes that certain information is part of the public record and may be released for legitimate purposes.

With these considerations in mind, Science & Arts has adopted the following policy concerning the release of information contained in student records.

Directory Information

This is information which routinely appears in student directories and alumni publications and may be freely released. Science & Arts designates the following student information as public or directory information:

  • Category I. Student’s name, local and permanent address, e-mail address, phone number(s), classification, dates of attendance at Science & Arts, enrollment status (full-time, half-time, or less than half-time), gender.
  • Category II. Major field of study/degree program; educational institutions previously attended; degrees, honors, and awards granted; educational background, degree(s) held, date(s) granted, and institutions granting such degree(s); anticipated date of graduation based on completed hours.
  • Category III. Date and place of birth, participation in officially recognized organizations, activities, and sports; weight and height of participants in officially recognized sports.

This information may be disclosed by the institution for any purpose, at its discretion. Students may withhold disclosure of directory information by completing the Request to Withhold Directory Information on your MyUSAO Academics page under Academic Resources (MyUSAO).

Science & Arts assumes the right of approval for disclosure unless a student specifically requests the withholding of “Directory Information."

Confidential Information

This is all other information outside of Directory Information contained in the student’s educational record and can be released only upon the written consent of the student. Science & Arts may disclose records without the consent of the student if the disclosure meets one of the following parties or conditions:

  • Officials of schools where the student seeks to transfer.

  • Authorized representatives of the U.S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, the HEW Secretary, the administrative head of an educational agency, or state educational authorities.

  • In connection with a student’s application for, or receipt of, financial aid.

  • State and local officials or authorities to which such information is specifically required to be reported under state statutes adopted prior to Nov. 17, 1974.

  • Organizations or educational agencies conducting legitimate research, provided no personally identifiable information about the student is made public.

  • Accrediting organizations.

  • To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoenas, provided that the educational agency or institution makes a reasonable effort to notify the student of the order or subpoena in advance of compliance.

  • In connection with an emergency when such information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other persons.

  • Parents of an eligible student if the parent has provided evidence that the student is a dependent for IRS tax purposes.

  • Information the school has designated as “directory information”.

  • If the disclosure is the result of a disciplinary hearing where the student is found responsible for a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense. The disclosure may only include the final results of the disciplinary proceeding with respect to that alleged crime or offense, regardless of the finding.

  • To the general public, the final results of a disciplinary proceeding, if the school determines the student is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense and the student has committed a violation of the school’s rules or policies with respect to the allegation made against him or her.

  • To parents of a student regarding the student’s violation of any Federal, State, or local law, or of any rule or policy of the school, governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance if the school determines the student committed a disciplinary violation and the student is under the age of 21.

  • Other school officials within the educational institution who have legitimate educational interests.

Other school officials are defined as:

  • A person employed by the university in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or

  • support staff position, including health and medical staff.

  • A person appointed to the Board of Regents.

  • A person employed by or under contract to the university to perform a special task, such as the attorney or auditor; or

  • A student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or who is assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks.

A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official is:

  • Performing a task related to the student’s education.

  • Performing a task related to the discipline of a student.

  • Providing a service or benefit relating to the student or student’s family, such as Health care, counseling, job placement, or financial aid; or

  • Maintaining the safety and security of the campus.

Attempts by other individuals or organizations to access student records without the express written consent of the student are considered a violation of university policy/federal law. Examples of violations include but are not limited to:

  1. Illegally accessing information from student or faculty information systems.

  2. Misrepresentation to obtain another student’s transcript, term grades, or class registration.

  3. Using a student’s ID number without their permission to gain access to other university services.

Confidential information shall only be transferred to a third party on the condition that such party will not permit any other party to have access to the information without the written consent of the student.


Procedure to Inspect Education Records

Eligible students have the right to inspect and review their education records maintained by Science & Arts within 45 days after Science & Arts receives a request for access. Eligible students should submit to the records custodian or appropriate university staff person a written request which identifies as precisely as possible the record or records they wish to inspect. The records custodian or appropriate university staff person 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 school official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.

Science & Arts is not required to provide copies of records, unless, for reasons such as great distance, it is impossible for eligible students to review the records. Science & Arts may charge a fee for copies. When a record contains information about more than one student, the student may inspect and review only the records which relate to themselves.

The university reserves the right to refuse to permit a student to inspect the following records:

  1. The financial statement of the student’s parents.

  2. Letters and statements of recommendation for which the student has waived his or her rights of access.

  3. Records related to an application to attend Science & Arts if that application was denied.

  4. Those records which are excluded from the FERPA definition of education records.

Students have the right to request that Science & Arts correct records which they believe to be inaccurate, misleading or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA. A student who wishes to ask Science & Arts to amend a record should write the records custodian or appropriate university staff person, clearly identify the part of the record the student wants changed and specify why it should be changed.

If Science & Arts decides not to amend the record as requested, Science & Arts will notify the student in writing of the decision and the students 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. After the hearing, if Science & Arts still decides not to amend the record, the eligible student has the right to place a statement with the record setting forth his or her view about the contested information.

The university reserves the right to deny students copies of their educational records, including transcripts, not required to be made available by the FERPA in the following situations:

  1. The student has an unpaid financial obligation to the university.

  2. There is an unresolved disciplinary action against the student.

  3. The education record requested is an exam or set of standardized test questions.

Although the permanent academic record is a cumulative record compiled by the student, the Registrar is the officer of the institution charged with responsibility for its accuracy and safekeeping. Accordingly, the student’s file and the permanent cumulative academic record are not available to anyone for removal from the Registrar’s assigned depository.

Original Credentials

Original credentials with which a student applies for admission or readmission to Science & Arts become the property of the university and are assembled in a permanent student file. These credentials are made available only to those persons properly authorized to receive educational records protected by FERPA and only in consultation with a professional staff member in the Registrar's Office.

Education Record and Personal Identifiers

An education record is any file, document, or record which contain information related to an identifiable student. Education records include but are not limited to grades, transcripts, class lists, student papers, student exams, student databases, student class schedules, financial records, correspondence, email, handwritten notations, and student discipline files. The information may be recorded in any way, including, but not limited to, handwriting, print, computer media, videotape, audiotape, film, microfilm, microfiche, and e-mail. Student health records are not considered education records at a postsecondary institution.

Personal Identifiers are Social Security numbers, credit or debit card numbers, driver’s license (or non-driver identification) numbers, bank account numbers, visa or passport numbers, protected health information subject to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and personal financial information subject to the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA). These are considered high-risk data when they appear in conjunction with an individual’s legal name or other identifier.

Records of The Deceased

According to the AACRAO (American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers) 2012 FERPA Guide, FERPA rights and privacy rights of an individual expire with the individual’s death. Thereby making the records of deceased students an institutional matter. The Registrar will evaluate each request for release of a transcript or other education records of a deceased student on the individual merits of the request and reserves the right to deny the request in whole or to release only partial academic records.

FERPA Complaints

Eligible students may file a written complaint with the Family Policy Compliance Office regarding alleged violations under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. The office’s address is: Family Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20202-4605.

FERPA Annual Notice

Students are notified annually of their FERPA rights in the Science & Arts Couse Catalog and through emails sent out to the student list serve.