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Notification of Student Rights under FERPA

"The Family Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 guarantees that the academic records for students over 18 years old 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: Student's 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, and the 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". They are:

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 his or her 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 is 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; 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. 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.
  • 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 U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Defense (under the Solomon Amendment), U.S. Attorney General, INS, the Comptroller General of the United States, state education authorities, organizations conducting studies for or on behalf of the University, and 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 as long as the student is under the age of 21 at the time of the incident and 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: a student's name, electronic mail address, 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, whether or not currently enrolled, most recent educational institution attended, participation in officially recognized activities and sports sponsored by the University, weight and height of athletic team members, and photograph.

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: Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 600 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20202-4605.