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Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) 

The Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) requires institutions of higher education to protect the privacy of students. Under this act students have the right to (1) inspect and review their educational records, (2) request an amendment to their records to ensure that they are correct and that there has been no violation of privacy, (3) consent to the disclosure of information to other individuals or entities, (4) file a complaint with the Family Policy Compliance Office and (5) obtain a copy of the University’s policy. University of the Ozarks respects the privacy of its students; therefore, the agents and employees of the University adhere strictly to FERPA.


Directory Information

FERPA provides that the University may designate directory information to be released to third parties. Directory information is released at the discretion of the University. Students are given an opportunity to decline the release of directory information. University of the Ozarks defines directory information to include student’s identification photograph, name, University email address, enrollment status, college level, majors and minors, dates of attendance, degrees conferred, awards received, academic honors, educational institutior.is attended, participation in officially recognized activities or athletic teams and weights and heights of athletic team members.


Student Records

Students’ academic, financial or student conduct records may be released to the faculty advisors and other University personnel whose official responsibilities require the above information on a “need to know” basis. Students may grant permission for the University to release academic, financial or student conduct records to other individuals. Parental access to student records will be allowed by the University if the student is claimed as a dependent for tax purposes. The University will also notify parents of conduct in which the students’ health and safety is a concern.


Third Parties 

Students’ records, such as transcripts, will not be released to third parties without the students’ written consent. Parental access to student records will be allowed by the University if the student is claimed as a dependent for tax purposes. Official transcripts are requested through the National Student Clearing House. Official transcripts and diplomas will not be released if the student has a financial obligation to the University.


National Student Clearing House

The University discloses non-directory information on all students to the National Student Clearing House.


Posting of Grades by Faculty

The public posting of grades either by a student’s name, student identification number or social security number without the student’s written permission is a violation of FERPA. Even with names obscured, student identifier numbers are considered personal identification information. Therefore, the practice of posting grades by social security number or student identification number violates FERPA. The returning of papers via an “open” distribution system, e.g. stacking them on an open table, is a violation of a student’s right to privacy, unless the student submits a signed waiver to the instructor for such purpose. The instructor must keep the waiver on file in order to avoid institutional or personal liability.


Faculty Sending Grades Via E-Mail

There is no guarantee of confidentiality in transmitting information electronically via campus e-mail or through the Internet. Faculty who wish to send grades to students via e-mail need to understand that if there is an unauthorized release of grades to someone who is not a school official, the institution is in violation of FERPA if the student whose grades are disclosed filed a complaint with the Family Policy Compliance Office. Moodle and the CAMS Student Portals, however, are secure sites where students can access their grades electronically. Submission of grades through CAMS is also considered to be a secure transmission.


Grade Information in Letters of Recommendation

Written permission of the student is required if any information included in the recommendation is an “education record” (Grades, GPA, and other non-directory information). Personal observations about the student are acceptable comments that can be included in the recommendations without the student’s written permission.


Questions

Questions concerning access to a student’s records or FERPA should be directed to the Office of Administrative Services. Students declare their FERPA designations online during their first semester. Any changes are processed by the Office of Administrative Services.