FAMILY EDUCATIONAL RIGHTS and PRIVACY ACT
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their educational records.
Record Inspection – Students have the right to inspect and review their education records. Access to education records should occur within a reasonable period of time, not to exceed 45 days from the time the request was made. Students should submit to the registrar, dean, head of the academic department, 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.
Challenge to Educational Record – FERPA was never intended to provide a process to be used to question substantive judgments that are correctly recorded. The rights of challenge are not intended to allow an eligible parent or student to contest, as an example, a grade in a course because it is believed a higher grade should have been assigned. However, in the event an eligible parent or student believes education records contain inaccurate or misleading information, or are otherwise in violation of a student’s privacy, a request for amendment may be made.
In the event an eligible parent or student believes that an amendment is appropriate, he/she should place such request, in writing, to one of the following university officials (registrar, dean of graduate studies or dean of students), clearly identifying the specific part of the record he/she believes needs to be changed, and specifying the reason(s) it is inaccurate, misleading or otherwise in violation of his/her privacy.
In the event the university official determines that no amendment needs to be made to the records, as requested, an eligible parent or student will be notified, in writing, of the decision and advised of the right to a hearing before an ad hoc committee. The committee will submit a recommendation to the provost/vice president for student services, depending upon the particular type of record being challenged.
An eligible parent or student’s request for hearing must be submitted, in writing, to the provost or vice president for student services within ten (10) working days from the date the eligible parent or student was notified that his/her request for amendment was denied.
Membership of the ad hoc committee will be as follows: a non-voting, except in the case of a tie, chair selected from the membership of the committee; four (4) faculty members, two (2) tenured or tenure-track faculty and two (2) non-tenure-track faculty selected by the Faculty Senate; one (1) managerial staff member selected by the Staff Senate; and two (2) students, one (1) undergraduate and one (1) graduate student selected by the Student Government Association.
The procedures attendant to a hearing before the ad hoc committee for consideration of challenges to education records are as follows:
1. A copy of the request for hearing and charge of responsibility will be given to the committee by the provost/vice president for student services. A copy will also be forwarded to the university official and eligible parent or student.
2. A hearing will be scheduled within ten (10) working days from the date the request is filed by the eligible parent or student. The eligible parent or student and university official(s) denying the request for amendment, will be informed, in writing, of the date, place, and time of the hearing.
3. Four (4) members must be present to constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. Decisions must be reached by a majority of the members present. The chair may cast a deciding vote in the event of a tie. The number of yes, no, and abstention votes will be recorded without designating the person who cast each vote.
4. After the committee considers the matters referred to it by the provost or vice president for student services, the eligible parent or student and the university official(s) will have the right to present witnesses and documentary evidence. Any and all oral testimony and such documentary evidence as is necessary to make a proper determination will be accepted by the committee. The chair may rule on the admissibility of evidence and on the relevance of questions. Responsibility for questioning witnesses, securing evidence, and determining the order of proof will be vested in the committee.
5. Strict judicial rules of evidence will not be applied. The members are to receive all evidence felt to be relevant and material to the issue. The eligible parent or student and the university official(s) will have the right to be present any time testimony is presented and to secure copies of all evidence considered.
6. The eligible parent or student and university official(s) may be assisted and/or represented by an individual of his/her choosing, such assistance may be provided by an attorney at his/her own expense. The university legal counsel may be present.
7. The committee will have five (5) working days from the date of the final hearing to forward a recommendation to the provost/vice president for student services for final decision. A final decision will be rendered within ten (10) working days after receipt of the committee’s recommendation.
8. A written record of the minutes of the proceedings and the recommendation of the committee will be made available to the eligible parent or student and university official(s).
9. In the event the provost/vice president for student services determines that the information in the education records is not accurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the privacy rights of the student, the eligible parent or student will be provided an opportunity to place a statement in the education record commenting on the contested information, or a statement setting forth why he/she disagrees with the decision of the university, or both.
10. In the event the university places a statement in the education records of a student that the records did not contain inaccurate or misleading information, or that the records did not violate the privacy rights of the student, the university will maintain the eligible parent or student’s statement contesting the decision in the record and upon disclosure of the education records to an authorized individual, the university will include the statement submitted by the eligible parent or student.
11. The time-frames may be adjusted when the university is not open for instruction upon extraordinary circumstances, upon approval of the provost/vice president for student services.
Record Disclosure – In general, the University does not disclose personally identifiable information contained in a student’s education records unless the student provides written permission for disclosure. FERPA does permit the University, however, to disclose personally identifying information from a student’s education records without the student’s consent to the following parties:
1. To university officials who have legitimate educational interests. A university official is a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the University has contracted (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 university official in performing his or her tasks. A university official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an educational record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility.
2. To other college or university officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
3. To certain governmental officials in order to carry out lawful functions.
4. To appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to the student.
5. To organizations conducting studies concerning predictive tests, student aid programs, and improving instruction.
6. To accrediting organizations.
7. To parents of dependent students.
8. To parents of entering freshmen under the age of 21 who violate the university’s alcohol or drug policies. (Non-academic information.)
9. To individuals who obtain lawful court orders or subpoenas.
10. To appropriate persons when necessary to protect the health or safety of students or other persons.
11. To State or local authorities to whom disclosure was required by state laws adopted before and after November 19, 1974 in very limited circumstances.
Questions concerning the requirements of FERPA should be directed to the university’s legal counsel in the President’s Office or to the registrar.
Filing Complaint – Students have the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the University of Central Arkansas 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, D.C. 20202-4605
FERPA Authorization to Release Information from Academic Records– Used to grant access of a second party to your academic records.
1. Text for this page taken from the 2014-2015 UCA Student Handbook pgs. 28-31, section “University Records”. Please reference the current student handbook and undergraduate bulletin for complete and up to date University policies and regulations.