Policy 6303 – Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
Revision Date: 1/7/2021
Last Review: 1/7/2021
Responsible Office: University Registrar
References: 20 U.S.C. 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (as amended) (“FERPA”) is a Federal law that provides guidelines for educational institutions regarding protection and release of student education record information.
This policy provides information relating to the rights of students under FERPA and Louisiana Tech University’s policies and procedures when complying with FERPA. This policy applies to anyone who maintains, accesses, or otherwise uses Education Records on behalf of the University, which includes faculty, staff, and other University representatives with access to student Education Records, as well as all students.
Education Records is a term defined by FERPA to describe records that are directly related to a student and are maintained by Louisiana Tech University or by a party acting for the University.
Directory Information is that personally identifiable student information not generally considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. Prior consent of the student is not required for disclosure of Directory Information, unless the student has specifically requested, in writing, that Louisiana Tech University not disclose this information as described below.
Directory Information at Louisiana Tech University includes the following: name, date, and place of birth; local address; permanent address; telephone listing; classification; major field of study; dates of attendance at Tech; degrees, honors, and awards received; most recently attended educational institution; current class schedule; photos; e-mail address; participation in Tech activities and sports; weight and height of members of Tech athletic teams. NOTE: Social Security Numbers and Student PIN numbers are NOT Directory Information.
Student is defined by FERPA as an individual who is or has been in attendance at the University who has reached 18 years of age or is attending the University at any age. Louisiana Tech University defines a student as an individual who is enrolled and actually attends the University. Attendance includes in person or by distance education.
FERPA provides Louisiana Tech students with the following rights with respect to their Education Records:
- The right to inspect and review the student’s Education Records within 45 days of the day Louisiana Tech University receives a written request for access.
Students should submit a signed request identifying the Education Records they wish to inspect to the Registrar. The Registrar will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the student may review their Education Records.
- The right to request Louisiana Tech University to amend that part of the student’s Education Records that the student believes is inaccurate or misleading.
- To make a request, the student will provide the Registrar with a written statement clearly identifying the part of the record they want changed and why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the Registrar, after consultation with the affected Academic Director, Department Head, Dean, and/or Provost, decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the Registrar will notify the student of this decision. Further, the Registrar will advise the student of his or her right to an appeal regarding the request for amendment.
- The Final Grade and Academic Appeals Procedure will be the process followed to provide the student this right to appeal. The affected College’s committee on standards will hear the appeal. They will make a recommendation to the Dean, whose decision will be final and carried out by the Registrar.
- If the Dean denies the appeal decision (e.g. do not amend the record), the student has a right to insert a statement in his or her Education Records. The University must maintain this statement with the student’s record and disclose the statement each time the educational record is legally requested. Note: The process of amending Education Records or requesting a related appeal regards only information that the student believes has been recorded inaccurately or incorrectly or that violates the student’s rights under FERPA. It is not a process to appeal grades, disciplinary decisions or other University decisions with which the student disagrees but which have been recorded accurately. Students who wish to dispute the decision itself, rather than the accuracy with which it has been recorded, must use normal review and appeal channels.
- 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.
- The right to restrict the release of directory information to third parties by submitting a request to the Office of Student Advancement at firstname.lastname@example.org / Keeny Hall 305. The Office of Student Advancement manages these privacy requests. Student Advancement publishes a quarterly list of privacy requests, which is distributed to each College. Faculty and staff with access to student educational record information should be familiar with and check this roster prior to release of directory-type information each time they receive a request. Please direct any questions regarding release of student information to the Registrar.
- The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Louisiana Tech to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The address of the office that administers FERPA is:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-8520
or by visiting the Department of Education’s Website
FERPA permits disclosure of Education Records without consent of the student in the following circumstances:
In general, the University may not disclose personal information from a student’s education records without the student’s prior consent. In compliance with the law, however, the University may disclose such information under the following, non-exhaustive, conditions:
- To University officials, staff, and others engaged in activities on behalf of the University with a legitimate educational interest. Someone has a legitimate educational interest if the information in an education record is necessary to fulfilling his or her professional responsibilities to the University. Such individuals may include University officers, faculty and administrative staff; law enforcement, medical and legal personnel; and contractors, consultants and other professionals engaged by the University. In addition, access to education records may be granted to University students, persons from outside the University, and volunteers, who are requested to serve on an authorized committee or board of the University (such as a disciplinary committee) or to otherwise perform authorized tasks for the University.
- If the information has been designated as directory information.
- In health or safety emergency situations. In an emergency, the University discloses information from education records to the appropriate parties, including parents, if the University deems the information necessary to protect the health, safety or well-being of the student or other individuals. Such disclosure may include any disciplinary action previously taken for conduct that posed a significant risk to the safety and well-being of that student, other students or members of the University community.
- In compliance with a subpoena. The University will make a reasonable effort to notify the student of any subpoena before complying. However, in the case of a subpoena issued for law enforcement purposes or an ex parte order under the USA Patriot Act, the University is not required to notify the student of the existence or the contents of the subpoena, or of the information furnished in response to the subpoena, if the Court or other issuing agency has ordered that such information not be disclosed.
- If the information is a record of a campus disciplinary proceeding. Federal law requires the University to disclose, to both the accuser and the accused student, the outcome of all student disciplinary proceedings that involve a charge of sexual assault. In addition, the University may disclose the final results of student disciplinary proceedings regarding a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense in which a student has been found to have committed a violation of the University’s policies. Final results include the name of the offender, the violation, and any sanction imposed. The University can also inform parents about violations of the University’s drug and alcohol policy by a student under the age of twenty-one.
- To officials of other institutions or organizations:
- To which the student seeks or intends to transfer, or in which the student is already enrolled, provided the disclosure is for purposes related to the student’s transfer or enrollment. The University has a policy of forwarding records to requesting institutions in these circumstances.
- In connection with the student’s placement or participation in internships, practica, affiliations or other programs related to the student’s courses or programs at the University
- To which a student has applied for or from which he or she has received financial aid, in cases where the information is related to (1) determining the eligibility for, amount of, or conditions of the aid, or (2) enforcing the terms and conditions of the aid
- To send corrections of records previously sent to another institution or organization in which the student has enrolled, has been placed, or has sought financial aid.
- To the parents of dependent students. In rare circumstances, the University may disclose information from education records to a student’s parents without the student’s prior consent, if the student meets the criteria of dependency as defined by Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. In cases of divorce or separation, when relying on dependency as the basis for communication, the University reserves the right to communicate with both parents unless provided with evidence that one parent’s rights have been legally revoked or otherwise limited.
- To authorized representatives of certain government offices. The University will release information to authorized representatives of the US Comptroller General’s Office, the US Attorney General, the US Department of Education, and state and local education authorities in connection with an audit or an evaluation of federal- or state-supported programs and to assure enforcement of or compliance with legal requirements related to these programs.
- In compliance with the Solomon Amendment. The University will release student information for the purposes of military recruitment to the Department of Defense. Released information is limited to student name, address, telephone listing, age or year of birth, place of birth, levels of education and degrees received, academic major, and the most recent previous educational institution in which the student was enrolled.
- In response to complaints and legal actions involving the student and the University. If a student or parent initiates legal action or brings a complaint against the University, the University may disclose education records relevant to its response to the complaint without a court order or subpoena. In addition, in the event that the University initiates legal action against a parent or student, the University may disclose education records relevant to the action without a court order or subpoena.
- To authorized representatives of state and local government where allowed by law.
- To accrediting organizations. The University may release information to organizations that accredit colleges and universities for the purpose of assisting their accrediting functions.
- To organizations conducting studies for or on behalf of the University. The University may disclose information to organizations seeking to improve education for or on behalf of the University (e.g. developing predictive tests or administering student aid programs).
- To parties who provided or created a record. The University may send an education record (such as a transcript or letter) back to its creator or sender for confirmation of its authenticity.
- After removal of all personally identifiable information. The University may release information concerning a student if all personally identifiable information has been removed from the record and the University has made a reasonable determination that a student’s identity is not discernible.