(Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974)
Table of Contents:
- Basic FERPA Policy
- Release of Information Policy
- Maintenance of Records
- Student Right to Access
- Waiver of Right to Access
- Procedure for Access
- Procedure for Challenging the Record and Informal Proceedings
- Formal Hearing
- Record of Hearing
- Additional Notes
- Confidentiality Request Form
Basic FERPA Policy
In compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, also known as the Buckley Amendment or FERPA, National Louis University protects the rights of students and their parents with relation to the accuracy and privacy of their educational records. In accordance with the provisions of this act, National Louis University has established basic policies to prevent the release of any personally identifiable information regarding any of its students, without first having received the consent of the student (or, in some instances, the parent). In addition, procedures have been established by which a student (or, in some instances, a parent) may request to examine his/her educational records, may challenge any portion of the record, and may request the opportunity to have any inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise inappropriate data deleted or corrected, or may have inserted into the record a written explanation regarding the content of the record.
Please note, as of January 3, 2012, the U.S. Department of Education's FERPA regulations expand the circumstances under which your education records and personally identifiable information (PII) contained in such records — including your Social Security Number, grades, or other private information — may be accessed without your consent. First, the U.S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or state and local education authorities ("Federal and State Authorities") may allow access to your records and PII without your consent to any third party designated by a Federal or State Authority to evaluate a federal- or state-supported education program. The evaluation may relate to any program that is "principally engaged in the provision of education," such as early childhood education and job training, as well as any program that is administered by an education agency or institution. Second, Federal and State Authorities may allow access to your education records and PII without your consent to researchers performing certain types of studies, in certain cases even when we object to or do not request such research. Federal and State Authorities must obtain certain use-restriction and data security promises from the entities that they authorize to receive your PII, but the Authorities need not maintain direct control over such entities. In addition, in connection with Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems, State Authorities may collect, compile, permanently retain, and share without your consent PII from your education records, and they may track your participation in education and other programs by linking such PII to other personal information about you that they obtain from other Federal or State data sources, including workforce development, unemployment insurance, child welfare, juvenile justice, military service, and migrant student records systems.
Generally, these rights belong to the student. However, the parents of a student who is financially dependent upon the parents (as defined in Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954) may have access to the student’s record without first obtaining the student’s consent.
To totally prohibit the release of even a student’s name or dates of enrollment, for example, would be as much a disservice to students as it would be an imposition on the daily functioning of the school. The law permits certain categories of information to be designated as directory information and to be released without requiring written consent, provided the student (or parents where appropriate) has been notified what information is included as directory information and has been given a specific time to request any such information to be withheld from release.
The University has designated as directory information the following categories:
- Student’s name
- Local address, telephone numbers, and NLU email address (of currently enrolled students only)
- Dates of enrollment
- Major field of study
- Diploma or degree awarded
- Honors or awards received
- Announcement of public performances and ceremonies officially recognized by the University
Information designated by National Louis University as directory information may be individually released without prior consent unless the student (or parent) requests in writing to withhold release. Any such request to withhold release of directory information will apply to all directory information. Students should send such a request to the Office of Admissions and Records.
No other personally identifiable information about a current or former student may be released to any person or agency outside the University except by the written, signed, and dated request of the student (or parent where appropriate) specifying the information to be released and to whom it is to be released. At the request of the student (or parent), a copy of the information to be released will be provided when he/she consents to the release. (The Privacy Act provides for a number of exceptions to this rule whereby information may be released to accrediting agencies, certain federal and state authorities, for reason of emergencies related to the health and safety of the student, etc., without notifying the student or parent. A list of such exceptions may be obtained upon request. Emergency release of information may be necessary on approval of an appropriate administrative officer. In addition, notification shall not be given if the student [or parent, where appropriate] has directly made the request for the release of information.) Within the University, certain information within a student’s record may be necessary for an individual or an office for whom it was not originally collected. Such information may be made available to University officials, including instructors, having legitimate educational interests.
The University shall maintain a record of all individuals or agencies that have requested or obtained access to a student’s educational records and the legitimate interest they have in such records. The University shall keep this record as part of the student’s total educational record, subject to the same restrictions on release and access. The University shall not maintain records of release of directory information requested directly by the student (or parent where appropriate) or requested by individuals within the school who have legitimate educational interest.
Whenever personally identifiable information about a student is released, the University shall stipulate, in writing, that the person or agency to whom it is released may not transmit such information to another individual or agency without the prior written consent of the student or parent of students below the post-secondary level.
Maintenance of Records
In maintaining a student’s educational record, the University shall collect part or all of the following information: name; address; social security number; phone number; date of birth; sex; ethnicity; marital status; citizenship status; names of elementary, secondary, and post-secondary schools attended with dates and diplomas or degrees earned; activities, awards, and work experiences; parents’ names, addresses, phone numbers and occupations; business address and phone numbers; emergency telephone numbers; transcripts; grades received; reports of standardized tests; degree and program evaluations; course evaluations; competency sheets; registration forms; medical forms and records; financial assistance applications; confidential financial statements and eligibility reports; records of student fee payments; student-completed questionnaires; counselor reports and notes; letters of recommendation; placement records; and correspondence.
Letters of recommendation are used as admission documents only. They are not intended nor will they be used for any other purpose.
This information is kept by various offices and departments:
- Alumni Relations
- Career Services
- Diversity, Equity, and Access
- Financial Aid
- School College Relations (National College of Education)
- Student Accounts
- Student Affairs
- Student Counseling
- Student Health
- University Ombudsman
Detailed educational records, as defined above, are kept no longer than two years after a student terminates enrollment in one of the University colleges and are then destroyed, with the following exceptions:
- The Office of Admissions and Records maintains student files until five years after the last date of attendance or degree date. Transcripts of all academic credit earned at the University are maintained permanently.
- The Alumni Relations Office maintains directory information on all graduates.
- The Financial Aid Office maintains financial aid and student account records for a minimum of three years from the date the student last attended.
- The Student Accounts Office retains quarterly financial summaries of student fee payments and individual student files concerning Perkins Loans necessary to meet statutory requirements.
- The Office of School College Relations (NCE) permanently retains information files related to professional study: evaluation, notation, etc.
- The Office of Student Experience and the Office of the Provost maintain disciplinary records for five years.
Student Right to Access
Students currently or formerly enrolled in the undergraduate or graduate school may request access to their own educational records with the following exceptions:
- Medical and psychological reports and records are not open for review, although the University nurse or other recognized professional may act as a student’s agent and review the record for him/her upon the student’s request.
- Confidential letters and statements of recommendation, written before January 1, 1975 and used only for the purpose for which they were obtained are not open for review.
- Parent’s Confidential Statements and eligibility reports are not open for student’s review without parental written consent.
Although the rights provided for by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 belong primarily to the student once he or she is enrolled at a post-secondary level of education, the parents of students who are financially dependent upon them (as defined in Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954) may request access to the student’s record without the prior consent of the student, with the same exceptions as listed above.
Waiver of Right to Access
In the following situations, the University shall provide students (or parents, where appropriate) with the means of waiving their right of access to certain limited parts of their educational record for the purpose of preserving confidentiality:
- Letters of recommendation required for admission.
- Letters of recommendation collected for a student’s credential file in both the undergraduate and graduate colleges to be used in pursuit of employment.
- Letters of recommendation used in connection with a student’s eligibility for honorary recognition.
Whenever a student chooses to waive the right of such access, this limited waiver of the right of access applies to the parents, as well. In all three of the above listed situations, where the student or parent waives the right of access, the student (or parent, where appropriate) may request notification of the names of persons making recommendations and the University will provide them with such names.
In providing the means of waiving the right of access, the school shall place this option in writing as part of the printed form being used to obtain statements of recommendation. A student shall indicate in writing his/her choice of waiving or not waiving the right of access to this information before the form is given to other individuals to write their recommendations. Once a recommendation has been received, a student may not change his/her decision with regard to waiving the right to access to that recommendation.
Procedure for Access
To obtain access to any part of a student’s educational record, the student (or parent where appropriate) shall be required to submit a written request to the individual in charge of the office that keeps the records in question. An opportunity to examine the student’s file shall be provided as soon as possible and no later than 45 business days after the date of the initial request. The file must be examined within the office and in the presence of the administrator in charge of the office.
Procedure for Challenging the Record and Informal Proceedings
Should a student or parent (or another agent acting on their behalf in the case of medical or psychological records) feel that certain information within the educational record is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise inappropriate, and wish to challenge such information, the parent or student may request a formal or informal hearing of their objections. The formal hearing request must be made in writing to the official representing the University in whose presence the record is being examined.
This official may offer to hear the objection at that time and thereby attempt to settle the objection in an informal way. Should such official be convinced of the validity of the objections made, they may, at that time, remove incorrect, misleading, or otherwise inappropriate information from the file; correct such information so that it is correct and satisfactory to the person stating the objections; or he or she may insert into the record an explanatory note written by the student or the parent. A summary of the proceedings, objections, and results shall be kept by that office, not in the student’s file.
Should the individual hearing the objections not be convinced of their validity and should the person making the objection not be satisfied by the explanations given or by the offer to settle the objection informally, a formal hearing may be held. The student or parent desiring such a hearing shall make a written request to the administrator of that office and shall be contacted within one week to establish a time for the hearing. The hearing should take place no later than three weeks following the written request, providing that school is in session.
Under such circumstances, the objections shall be heard by a group of three representatives of the University, to be appointed by the President or by a designated substitute-none of the representatives to be directly involved with the information under objection. The hearing shall be conducted by one of the representatives appointed to chair the hearing. The student may bring to the hearing another person who may advise but who may not represent him/her. The chairperson shall present the information being questioned and shall give the student (or parent) requesting the hearing a full and fair opportunity to state the objections being made. The student shall, at this time, present any evidence to substantiate his/her objections. The chair shall then request the individual responsible for the information about which the objection has been made to state the rationale for the existing information and defend its validity. The chair shall then give the members of the hearing committee the opportunity to question both parties. The chair shall then invite concluding statements from each party. The objector shall be notified in writing as soon as possible of the committee's decision.
Record of Hearing
Should their decision be in favor of the objector, deletions or corrections in the student’s record shall be made immediately, and a summary of the hearing, the objections and the determinations made shall be recorded in the office where the information objected to is kept in a file, though the account of the hearing shall not appear in the student’s record. Should the decision be in favor of retaining the already existing information without change, the record shall be retained as is and a summary of the hearing, the objections and decisions made shall be recorded in the office where the information objected to is kept in a file, though the summary of the hearing shall not appear in the student’s record. Once a particular item in the educational record has been challenged and formally heard, a challenge of the same item shall not be heard again.
More detailed information concerning the provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 may be obtained by examination of the act itself, as amended.
Confidentiality Request Form
Please consider very carefully the consequences of deciding to withhold Directory Information. A "Request to Prevent Disclosure of Directory Information" will prevent the release of any information to all inquiries from non-University entities without prior written consent by the student. Identification of the individual as a past or current student at the University will not be acknowledged in any way, including degree verifications.