Rights and Privacy Related to Education Records (FERPA)
Student Rights under FERPA
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. These rights are as follows:
- The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days of the day the institution receives a request for access.
Requests for review of specific records must be made in writing. A student who seeks to review only health or career records should file a written request to do so with the director of health services, the director of the counseling service, or the Career Development Center. All other requests should be made at the Office of the Dean of the College. The appropriate College 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 official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
- The right to request the amendment of the student's education records that the student believes is inaccurate or misleading.
A student may ask the College to amend a record that she believes is inaccurate or misleading. She should write to the College official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record she wants changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the College decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, a College official will notify the student of the decision. The student has a right to request a hearing regarding a denied request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided upon request.
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.
These exceptions include the disclosure of "directory information" as detailed below and disclosure of any information to: teachers and other College officials who have legitimate educational interests; to officials of other institutions in which the student intends to enroll; to certain authorized state and federal officials; to appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to the student; to organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the College; to accrediting organizations; to comply with a judicial order or lawfully ordered subpoena; and to appropriate officials in the case of health and safety emergency.
A school official is a person employed by the College in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research or support support staff position (including law enforcement personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the College has contracted as its agent to provide a service instead of using College employees or officials (such as an attorney, auditor, IT specialist, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student or appointed volunteer serving on an official 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 responsibilities for the College.
The regulations of the Act make clear that, in the case of students who are dependents of their parents for Internal Revenue Service purposes, information from the education records of the student may be disclosed to parents without the student’s prior consent. It is the policy of the College to notify both the student and her parents in writing of academic probation, required withdrawal, and suspension. In communications with parents concerning other matters, it is normally College policy to respect the privacy of the student and not to disclose information from educational records without the student’s prior consent.
- The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the 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, S.W.
Washington, DC 20202-5920
College rights in relation to directory information
The Privacy Act gives Mount Holyoke College the right to make public at its discretion, without prior authorization from the individual student, the following personally-identifiable directory information: student's name; class year; home/permanent, off-campus/local, and College addresses; home, local, and residence hall telephone numbers; College electronic mail address; identification photograph; dates of attendance at Mount Holyoke College; enrollment status (e.g., undergraduate or graduate; full- or part-time; on leave); date and place of birth; major(s); degrees, honors and awards received; participation in officially recognized activities and sports; status as a student employee; and previous educational agency or institution most recently attended.
An individual student may limit release of the above directory information for any given year by filing such a request with the Registrar, in writing and with signature, by July 1 for fall entrants, January 1 for spring entrants. Requests received after these dates will be put into effect as quickly as possible but directory information already released cannot be recalled.
The Office of the Registrar ensures the integrity of academic records and implements College policies regarding the curriculum. The Registrar's office is also responsible for release of official academic records and transcripts.