Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
The Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) affords to students, who are currently or were previously enrolled at Bridgewater State University as registered students, the right of access to their educational records that contain information directly related to such persons. Individuals who unsuccessfully apply to the University for admission are not covered under the Act.
FERPA also restricts the persons to whom the University can release a student’s educational records without the prior written consent.
The “educational records” of a student include files, documents, and any other materials regularly maintained in connection with a student’s enrollment at the University.
The following are examples of records not covered under FERPA:
1.) Records maintained personally by faculty that are not available to others.
2.) Records that are created or maintained by a physician, psychologist or other recognized professional that are used in connection with treatment to the student and are not available to anyone other than the treatment provider.
3.) Records created by campus law enforcement, for law enforcement purposes, and maintained by the law enforcement unit.
The University may release "directory information" with respect to a student without the student's consent. The University is required to give notice of the categories of information that it will treat as "directory information." Accordingly, the University hereby gives notice that it has designated the following categories of information as directory information with respect to each student:
• a student's name and hometown
• college or school and major field of study
• participation in officially recognized activities and sports
• weight, height, and age of members of athletic teams
• dates of enrollment
• class level (i.e., freshman, sophomore, or first-year, second-year, etc.)
• enrollment status (i.e., full-time or part-time, undergraduate or graduate)
• certificates, degrees and awards received, including dean's list and graduation honors
A student's grades are considered directory information only to the extent that dean's list and graduation honors may be published. Individual grades and GPA information are not directory information and will not be released without the consent of the student.
Students’ Rights to Access
Students who wish to review their academic record should submit a request in writing to the Registrar, identifying the specific record(s) they wish to inspect. Within 45 days, the Registrar will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the record(s) may be inspected.
Students may ask the University to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. Requests to amend should be made in writing to the Registrar, 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 their right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment.
The right to challenge grades does not apply under the act unless the grade assigned was inaccurately recorded.
Access by or Release to Others
The University does not generally permit access to, or release of, educational records or personally identifiable information contained therein to any party without the written consent of the student except to the extent that the law authorizes disclosure without consent. The University may, however, under FERPA release such data to certain persons including:
1.) Officials of the University who have a legitimate educational interest in obtaining access to the records in order to fulfill their professional responsibilities. A school official is defined as a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the University has contracted as its agent to provide a service instead of using university employees or officials (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.
2.) Persons who require access in connection with the student's application for, or receipt of, financial aid.
3.) Upon request, the University may disclose education records without consent to officials of another school in which a 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.
4.) The University may release such information in compliance with a judicial order or pursuant to any lawfully issued subpoena. As a general policy, before any information is so released, the University will first attempt to notify the student at the student's most recent address as shown in the records maintained by the Registrar’s Office.
5.) In connection with an emergency, the University may release information from educational records to appropriate persons if the knowledge of such information is necessary to protect the health or safety of a student or other persons.
Release to others:
1.) Upon written consent or request by a student, the University will release information from the student's educational records to third parties. The student should make a request for such release to the department or office having custody of the record involved. Any student who wishes to authorize a third party to speak with the University regarding their student record should complete an Authorization for the Release of Student Information. Students should identify the specific information from their educational record that is to be released to the authorized third party. The authorization remains in effect until revoked by the student in writing. Neither FERPA nor this authorization requires the University or its employees to disclose information.
2.) The University may release directory information without the student's consent. As a public university, all directory information is considered public information, and is therefore subject to release to outside parties upon request.
Preventing disclosure of directory information: Any student who wishes to prevent the disclosure of directory information can complete a request form and return it to the Registrar’s Office.
Any questions related to FERPA or concerns about the privacy of a students’ educational record or this policy should be brought to the attention of the Registrar, Boyden Hall 003
Any complaints regarding the violation of a student’s rights under FERPA may be filed with:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, S.W.
Washington, DC 20202-5920