The University of St. Thomas is required to provide this annual notice by a means that is reasonably likely to inform those who have rights under the Act.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. These rights include:
- 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 University Registrar written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The Registrar 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 Registrar, the Registrar will advise the student of the official to whom the written request should be addressed.
- The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes to be inaccurate or misleading. Students may ask the University to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. They should write the University Registrar, 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.
- 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. Some of the exceptions authorized by the law are set out below.
- The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the University of St. Thomas 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
400 Maryland Ave. SW
Washington, DC 20202-4605
The University also advises students that:
- The University may deny access to the following classes of records: Financial information submitted by parents; confidential letters or recommendations placed in the file prior to January 1, 1975; confidential letters or recommendations to which the student has waived right of inspection; private records of instructors, counselors, or administrators kept for their own use; alumni records that contain only directory information and information collected after the student has left the university; and medical, psychiatric, psychological or similar records.
- The University may disclose educational records without written consent of students to the following:
- School officials within the University who maintain educational records and those with a legitimate educational interest, including faculty or staff who deal with the student and carry out education studies, and employees designated by them to assist in these tasks. The University of St. Thomas defines “legitimate educational interest” as “needs the record(s) to carry out employment responsibilities.” Therefore, any university employee, or person acting on behalf of the university, may have access to student records without the student’s written consent if that person needs the access to carry out his/her employment responsibilities. This includes law enforcement personnel and health services staff and may also include a person or company with whom the university has contracted as its agent to provide a service instead of using university employees or officials such as: an attorney, auditor, collection agent, person serving on the board of trustees, grievance committee, or assisting another school official in the performance of his or her duties.
- Upon request, the University also discloses educational records without consent to officials of other colleges or universities in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
- Organizations conducting studies approved by the university having educational value or concerning financial aid.
- Accrediting organizations approved by the university carrying out their accrediting functions.
- Persons in compliance with a judicial order or a lawfully issued subpoena, with a notice of the disclosure being sent to the last known address of the student.
- Persons in an emergency, if in the judgment of an official in charge of the records, knowledge of the information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other person.
- Directory information may be released without the written consent of the student, unless the student specifies to the contrary as described below. Directory information includes student name, address, email address, photographs, telephone number, class year, major field of study, dates of attendance, degrees and awards, current membership in clubs or fraternities, participation in activities and sports with weight and height of team members, high school and other colleges attended, parent’s names and addresses, and anticipated date of graduation.
- To withhold directory information from the public, undergraduate students must file a form available in the office of the registrar and online here within one week from the beginning of the fall semester (or the semester in which the student enters). The order for withholding will remain in effect until the student rescinds it in writing. The form for withholding directory information will inform the student of some possible consequences. For example, as long as a non-disclosure order is in effect the student cannot participate in intercollegiate athletics where team rosters are published, or commencement ceremonies. Graduate students will fill out this form in their respective graduate offices.
- University officials whose employment duties permit them access to information from parents’ federal income tax returns may use those returns to determine whether students are dependent on a parent as defined by the Internal Revenue Service. In such cases, FERPA and University policy permit those officials to disclose information from those student’s education records to their parents without student consent. The university is not required to notify students or maintain a record of these disclosures.
- When personally identifiable information other than directory information is released, a notice will be given that the recipients are not permitted to disclose the information to unauthorized persons without written consent of the student. University personnel will be informed annually of this restriction and their responsibilities under this Act so that individual notices will not be required.
This statement adheres to the standards of a FERPA annual notification as provided by the United States of America, Department of Education.
Please contact Paul Simmons, University Registrar, (651) 962-6706, for more information.