DCSIMG

FERPA Privacy Policy for 2011-2012

(While gender-neutral language is employed in this statement whenever possible, “she or “her” occasionally appear. They are used to avoid awkward locutions and are not intended to perpetuate gender stereotypes.)

I. SCOPE OF THE ACT

(a) General.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is federal legislation that establishes guidelines governing the way educational institutions maintain and supervise student records. The Act requires the College to notify parents and students annually how it complies with the Act’s requirements. The Act is intended to assure a student that he or she can:

1.       Inspect and review her educational records

2.       Request an amendment to her education records

3.       Participate in a hearing if the request for an amendment is unsatisfactory.

4.       Request that Centenary College does not disclose directory information about him or her.

5.       File a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education.

The Act permits the release of records without the prior consent of the student to appropriate College personnel and to parents of a student who have established the student’s status as a dependent. There are also other circumstances as set forth in the Act in which student information would be disclosed without the student’s prior consent.  A student who wishes to allow another person access to her records should complete a ‘FERPA Waiver’ in the Office of the Vice President for Student Engagement. The Waiver will be in effect for the duration of a student’s study at Centenary or until permission to disclose is revoked in writing by the student.  A parent wishing access to student records should have their son or daughter complete the ‘FERPA Waiver.’

(b) Records Covered.

"Educational records" of a student include records, files, documents, and other materials regularly maintained by the College that contain information directly related to a student and that are maintained in connection with the student's attendance at the College.

There are a number of types of records that are specifically excluded from the scope of the Act. For example, a student is not entitled to examine the following:

1.       Records maintained personally by faculty members that are not available to others.

2.       Records maintained by Campus Safety that are not available to others outside that department.

3.       Records that are created or maintained by a physician, psychologist, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional that are created, maintained, or used only in connection with the provision of treatment to the student and are not available to anyone other than persons providing such treatment. Thus, for example, a student does not have the right under FERPA to inspect records maintained by the College Health Service or the Counseling Center. Such records, however, can be personally reviewed by a physician or other appropriate professional of the student's choice, and a student may have a right to inspect such records under other laws.

4.       Records, such as those that might be maintained by the College's legal counsel, the confidentiality of which is protected by law.

5.       Records containing financial information about her parents, such as information submitted in connection with an application for financial aid.

II. ACCESS RIGHTS OF STUDENTS

(a) Procedure.

A student may obtain access to her education records by making application to the Office of the Registrar. The College is required to grant the request within 45 days. The Registrar will forward copies of the student's request to the appropriate offices holding the requested files. These offices will contact the student and invite her to inspect them at either the Parsippany or Hackettstown campus.

(b) Confidential Letters of Recommendation.

In general, a student may have access to confidential letters and statements of recommendation that are part of the student's education records. This right, however, does not apply to such letters and statements placed in the student's education records prior to January 1, 1975, if such letters and statements are not used for purposes other than those for which they were specifically intended.

A student may, by signing a written waiver, relinquish her right to inspect confidential recommendations placed in the student's education records on or after January 1, 1975, respecting

1.       admission to any educational institution;

2.       an application for employment; or

3.       the receipt of an honor or honorary recognition.

In no case will any student be required by the College to waive her rights to access of confidential recommendations. A student may find it appropriate to do so for a number of reasons. For example, the student may feel that her professors will write more candid and helpful letters of recommendation if the letters are not available to the student. A number of schools and departments have waiver forms available. A school or department desiring to formulate a waiver form should consult the General Counsel of the College.

 (c) Copying.

A student will ordinarily not be provided with copies of any part of her record other than her transcript, unless the inability to obtain copies would effectively prevent her from exercising her right to inspect and review her education records. In cases where copies will be provided, the Office of the Registrar may impose a charge for making such copies at such uniform rates as it shall determine. In general, the charges imposed will not exceed $.10 per page. An exception is the case of transcripts, which are $4.

(d) Other Rights.

1.       A student also has the right to be provided with a list of the types of educational records maintained by the College that relate to students. The College Registrar has compiled such a list and will, on request, make copies of this list available to any student to assist the student in determining those records to which she may want access. Generally, educational records of a current student will be maintained by the Office of Registrar, the Office of the Vice President for Student Engagement, the student’s advisor or Learner Services Specialist and the Department of the student’s major.

Academic Records of current students are also kept by the following offices if the student is currently a participant in that program:

a.       Educational Opportunity Fund Program

b.      Any program with students who have Declared Disabilities

c.       Athletics

d.      First-Year Program


In addition, the College Health Service and the Counseling Center maintain records relating to students who have utilized the services offered by those two departments. If a student has utilized the Career Development Office at the College, that office may also maintain records relating to the student.

2.       A student may request that her records be amended to eliminate any information contained therein that she believes is inaccurate, misleading, or violates her privacy or other rights.

3.       If the College decides to refuse to amend a student's records, she or she is entitled to a hearing to challenge the content of her educational records in order to insure that the records are not inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of her privacy or other rights. Normally, an informal hearing will suffice with an officer of the College who has authority to make changes in a student's records.

4.       If a student is dissatisfied with the results of such a hearing, the student should be referred to the Vice President for Academic Affairs. If, after a hearing, the College decides that the student's records are not inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of her privacy or other rights, the student has the right to place in her records a statement commenting upon the information and/or setting forth any reasons for disagreeing with the decision of the College.

III. ACCESS BY OR RELEASE TO OTHERS

(a) General.

The College will not generally permit access to, or release of, educational records or personally identifiable information contained therein to any party without the written consent of the student. The College may, however, as provided in the Act, release such data to certain persons including:

1.       Officials of the College who have a legitimate educational interest (including persons with whom the College has contracted) in obtaining access to the records. Such access will be granted if the official needs to review an educational record in order to fulfill her or her professional responsibility.

2.       Persons who require access in connection with the student’s application for, or receipt of, financial aid.

3.       Parents of a student, provided the student is a “dependent” of the parents for federal income tax purposes. In general, the College does not initiate communication with a student’s parents. Where the College believes that it is in a dependent student’s interest, information from the student’s educational records may be released to the parents of such a dependent student.

4.       The College may release such information in compliance with a judicial order or pursuant to any lawfully issued subpoena. As a general policy, before any information is so released the College will first notify the student at the student’s most recent address as shown in the records maintained by the Office of the Registrar. However, in compliance with the Act, some judicial orders and subpoenas issued for law enforcement purposes specify that the College cannot disclose to any person the existence or contents of the order or subpoena or the information furnished in compliance with it.

5.       In connection with an emergency, the College may release information from educational records to appropriate persons if the knowledge of such information is necessary to protect the health or safety of a student or other persons.

(b) Release with the Student’s Consent.

Upon written consent or request by a student, the College will release information from the student’s educational records to third parties. The student should make a request for a one-time release through the Office of the Registrar. The College may impose a charge for copying a student’s records in connection with such release.

(c) Transfer of Information to Third Parties.

It shall be a condition of the release by the College of any personal information on a student to a third party that the party to which the information is released will not permit any other party to have access to such information without the written consent of the student. An institution to which such information is released may permit its officers, employees, and agents to use such information but only for the purposes for which the disclosure was made. These restrictions do not apply to certain subpoenas and court orders.

 (d) Directory Information.

The College may release “Directory Information” with respect to a student without the student’s consent. The College is required to give notice of the categories of information that it will treat as “Directory Information.”

Accordingly, the College hereby gives notice that it has designated the following categories of information as directory information with respect to each student:

  • name,
  • local and permanent address,
  • electronic mail address,
  • telephone listing;
  • date and place of birth;
  • major field of study; minor field(s) of study and concentrations (if any)
  • campus at which a student is studying,
  • learner status (Part-time, Full-time, Matriculated, Non-matriculated)
  • participation in officially recognized activities and sports;
  • weight and height of members in athletic teams;
  • dates of attendance at Centenary and campus and department attended;
  • degrees conferred, awards received, and their dates;
  • other educational institutions attended

A student in attendance at the College who does not want to have directory information relating to himself or herself released should inquire at the Office of the Vice President for Student Engagement as to the procedures to be followed.

IV. GENERAL

1.       You may view the Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act on the U.S. Department of Education Web site at www.ed.gov/offices/OII/fpco/ferpa.

2.       Other than the Office of the Registrar, each office of the College that maintains educational records may offer access only to officials of the College who have a legitimate educational interest. The Office of the Registrar will keep with each student's file a permanent record of all parties who have requested access to the student's records, other than:

  • custodians of such files,
  • College officials normally dealing with such files in performance of their
  • duties,
  • College officials who have been determined to have a legitimate
  • educational interest in obtaining access to the records,
  • parents of a "dependent" student,
  • parties who have received "directory information,"
  • parties who have received records or information pursuant to the student's
  • written consent,
  • recipients of records or information pursuant to certain subpoenas and court orders.

Such records of access should indicate specifically the legitimate interest that each such party had in obtaining access to the student's records and whether or not the request was granted. A student may inspect such records relating to her education records.

3.       Questions about the interpretation of the Guidelines should be referred to the Vice President for Student Engagement who will gain an interpretation from Counsel.

4.       Complaints regarding violations of a student's rights under the Act may be filed with:

Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, S.W.
Washington, DC 20202-4605
Telephone: 202-260-3887
Fax: 202-260-9001

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