Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA)

FERPA provides a student the right to examine his educational records within 30 days of the day Central Methodist University receives a request for review. Submit the request in writing to the Dean’s Office, and specify which record is desired for examination. A representative from the Dean’s Office will notify the student of a meeting place and time for inspection. Arrangements can also be made if a student requests a record not maintained by CMU.

The student may also request amendment of information believed to be inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights. Submit a request for amendment in writing to the Dean’s Office, and specify which part of the record should be changed, and why it is inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of student rights. A representative from the Dean’s Office will notify the student of the decision whether or not to amend the record within 30 days of receiving the request. If not amended, the student has a right to a hearing. If, as a result of the hearing, CMU decides that the information is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the privacy rights of the student, the Dean’s Office will amend the record accordingly and inform the student of the amendment in writing. If, as a result of the hearing, CMU decides against the request for amendment, the Dean’s Office will inform the student of the right to place a statement in the record commenting on the contested information in the record or stating why he or she disagrees with the decision.

Each student may waive or not waive his or her rights of educational privacy as spelled out under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. The federal government requires that the University obtain—from every enrolled student—a signed Permission to Release Education Information form. If a student requests, CMU will provide him or her with a copy of the records disclosed.

The FERPA act does, however, authorize disclosure without consent if the disclosure meets one or more of the following conditions:

  • ¬†Disclosure is to other school officials within CMU (including faculty, staff, trustees, etc.) who CMU has determined have legitimate educational interests. A university official is any person in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position. Temporary employees, student workers, and graduate assistants employed by CMU are also considered university officials. (A contractor, consultant, volunteer, or other party to whom CMU has outsourced institutional services or functions may also be considered a school official if they meet specific requirements outlined by FERPA.) A legitimate educational interest is defined as the need to review a student’s educational record in order to: perform an administrative task outlined in that official’s duties; perform a supervisory or instructional task directly related to a student’s education; or perform a service or benefit for the student such as health care, job placement, or student financial aid.
  • Disclosure is to officials of another school, school system, or institution of postsecondary education where the student seeks or intends to enroll, or where the student is already enrolled so long as the disclosure is for purposes related to the student’s enrollment or transfer.
  • Disclosure is to state and local educational authorities, and specified federal offices.
  • Disclosure is in connection with financial aid for which the student has applied or which the student has received, if the information is necessary for school officials to perform specific tasks outlined by FERPA.
  • Disclosure is to organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, educational agencies or institutions, with specific purposes determined by FERPA.
  • Disclosure is to accrediting organizations to carry out their accrediting functions.
  • Disclosure is to parents of a dependent student, as defined by the IRS.
  • Disclosure is to comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena. Disclosure can also be made to a victim of specified alleged criminal acts.
  • Disclosure is in connection with a health or safety emergency.
  • Disclosure is in connection with a disciplinary proceeding at CMU, with specific rules for release of final results.
  • Disclosure is to a parent of a student at CMU regarding the student’s violation of any Federal, State, or local law, or of any rule or policy set by CMU governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance.

Unless specifically prohibited by the student (submit written request to Office of Student Development within 10 days after registration each semester), CMU may release "Directory Information" at its discretion for news releases and other purposes which it believes serve the student’s interest. "Directory Information" includes

  • name, mailing and e-mail address, telephone number, dates of attendance, date and place of birth, photograph, grade level, enrollment status, and most recent educational agency/institution attended;
  • awards, honors, degrees, and major field of study; and
  • records of participation and accomplishments in sports and other University activities—for athletes this includes physical factors such as height and weight.

A student has the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education (Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, DC 20202) concerning alleged failures by CMU to comply with the requirements of FERPA.

 
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