FERPA Privacy Policy

Notification of Student Rights under FERPA

"The Family Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 guarantees that the academic records for students that have reached the age of 18 years old or are attending post-secondary education cannot be discussed with anyone except the student or authorized University personnel. However, certain information classified as "Directory Information" is available for public consumption unless the student specifically directs that it be withheld. Public Directory Information as defined by the act includes:

  • Name
  • Addresses (campus, home, email)
  • Telephone listings
  • Date and place of birth
  • Major field of study
  • Class year
  • Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
  • Weight and height of members of athletic teams
  • Dates of attendance
  • Status (full-time, half-time, part-time)
  • Degrees, honors, and awards received
  • Most recent previous educational institution attended

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974, as amended, affords students certain rights with respect to their education records." These rights are as follows:

1. The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days of the day the University receives a request for access.

Students should submit to the registrar, vice president of academic affairs, dean of enrollment management, academic department chair, or other appropriate official, written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The University 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 University official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.

2. The right to request the amendment of the student's education records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading.

Students may ask Fitchburg State University to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. They should write to the University official responsible for the record, 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. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.

3. 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.

Fitchburg State University will disclose information from a student's education records only with the written consent of the student, except:

  • To school officials with legitimate educational interests. 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 responsibility. A school official is any of the following:
    • A person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position
    • A person or company with whom the University has contracted to perform required functions (such as an attorney, auditor, service provider, or collection agent)
    • A person serving on the Board of Trustees
    • 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.
  • To officials of other institutions in which the student seeks or intends to enroll provided that the student had previously requested a release of his/her record;
  • To authorized representatives of the following:
    • The U.S. Department of Education
    • The U.S. Department of Defense (under the Solomon Amendment)
    • The U.S. Attorney General
    • The INS
    • The Comptroller General of the United States
    • State education authorities
    • Organizations conducting studies for or on behalf of the University
    • Accrediting organizations
  • In connection with a student's application for, and receipt of, financial aid;
  • To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena;
  • To parents of dependent students as defined by the Internal Revenue Code, Section 152;
  • To appropriate parties in a health or safety emergency; or
  • To the alleged victim of any crime of violence of the results of any disciplinary proceedings conducted by the University.
  • The University may disclose the result of a disciplinary proceeding to a parent or guardian if the following applies:
    • The student is under the age of 21 at the time of the incident
    • The proceeding has resulted in a violation of University drug or alcohol policies, or any federal, state, or local law
  • To students currently registered in a particular class section, the names and email addresses of others on the roster may be disclosed in order to participate in class discussion.

Fitchburg State University has designated the following items as Directory Information:

  • Names
  • Electronic mail addresses
  • Local and permanent mailing addresses
  • Telephone numbers
  • Date and place of birth
  • Major and minor fields of study
  • Dates of attendance
  • Enrollment status (full or part-time)
  • Certificates
  • Degrees
  • Honors and awards received (including scholarships)
  • Date of actual or expected graduation
  • Current enrollment status
  • Most recent educational institution attended
  • Participation in officially recognized activities and sports sponsored by the University
  • Weight and height of athletic team members
  • Photographs

The University may disclose any of these items without prior written consent, unless the student has submitted a written request to the Office of the Registrar not to release directory information pertaining to them. Requests will be processed within 24 hours after receipt.

4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Fitchburg State University to comply with the requirements of FERPA.

The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA is as follows:

Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
600 Independence Avenue SW
Washington, DC