FERPA Compliance Policy

Policy Title FERPA Compliance Policy
Policy Category Ethics, Integrity, and Legal Compliance
Policy Approval Date October 18, 2019
Responsible Office Office of the Provost
Related Policies None
Policies Superseded None
Frequency of Review 3 Years
Date of Revision October 18, 2022

I. Scope

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA” or the “Act”) is a law that protects the privacy of Students’ Education Records. This FERPA Compliance Policy (“Policy”) applies to all current and former Students of Arcadia University (the “University”). See section V below for the definitions of capitalized terms contained in this Policy.

II. Policy Statement

The University has deep respect for the right to privacy of current and former Students. As such, it is the intent of the University to comply with all provisions of FERPA.

III. Policy

  1. Directory Information
    The University will annually notify Students of the categories of Personally Identifiable Information which the University has designated as Directory Information and which the University will release without the written consent of the Student. Students may direct the University, in a written document containing a date and original signature, to withhold Directory Information. The written directive to withhold Directory Information will remain in effect until the Student directs the University, also in a written document containing a date and original signature, that Directory Information may once again be released. All other information about Students is confidential and is treated as such.
     
  2. Release of Records
    Personally Identifiable Information from Education Records will not be released without the prior written consent of the Student except under such conditions as the following:
  • Releases to School Officials within the University with a legitimate interest
  • Releases to other institutions in which Students seek to enroll
  • Releases to persons or organizations providing financial aid to Students
  • Releases to accrediting agencies carrying out their accreditation function
  • Releases to organizations conducting studies to develop, validate, and administer predictive tests, to administer student aid programs, or to improve instruction, provided that individual identity of Students is not made and that the disclosure is restricted to the representatives of the organization that have a legitimate interest in the information
  • Releases in an emergency to protect the health or safety of Students or other persons
  • Releases to federal and state representatives of agencies listed in the Act
  • Releases pursuant to a judicial order or a lawfully-issued subpoena or when otherwise necessary to comply with a legal obligation
  • Releases to the parent(s) or guardian(s) of a Student under twenty-one (21) years of age who has been found responsible for a violation of the Code of Conduct involving the use or possession of alcohol and/or drugs

The University will inform parties to whom Personally Identifiable Information is released that the recipients of such Personally Identifiable Information are not permitted to disclose same to others without the written consent of the Student.

Records of disclosures and requests for disclosures of a Student’s Education Record, other than to the Student, to others in response to written requests from the Student, or to School Officials, are considered a part of the Student’s Education Record and will be retained as long as the Education Record is retained by the University. Students may request release of their Education Records using the University’s Request to Release Information form.

  1. Right to Review
    Students have the right to inspect and review their Education Records. Students do not have a right to review the financial records of their parents or guardians; materials to which they have waived their right of inspection and review, including confidential letters and recommendations associated with admission, employment, or job placement; or Education Records containing information about more than one Student, in which case the University will permit access only to that part of the Education Record which pertains to the inquiring Student. Parents or legal guardians of Students may establish their right to review a Student’s Education Records provided the parents or guardians can document the Student's dependency as defined by the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, Section 152. The University’s practice is to seek a Student’s release upon receiving such a third party request.
     
  2. Right to Challenge
    Students have the right to challenge contents of their Education Records that they believe are inaccurate or misleading, or in violation of their privacy rights. In the event of such a challenge, Students will be provided a full and fair opportunity to present evidence relevant to the issue raised.

    Specifically, Students who wish to challenge the accuracy of their Education Records may notify the University, in a written document containing a date and original signature, of the nature of the inaccuracy. The University may amend the Education Record within a reasonable period of time and notify the Student of the amendment. If the University will not amend the Education Record, the Student will be informed of the decision, along with their right to a hearing.

    If, as a result of the hearing, the University decides that the information in the education record is not inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the privacy rights of the Student, it shall inform the Student of their right to place a statement in their Education Record commenting on the contested information in the Education Record or stating why the Student disagrees with the decision of the University. If the University places such a statement in the Education Record of the Student, it will maintain the statement with the contested part of the Education Record for as long as the Education Record is maintained and disclose the statement whenever it discloses the portion of the Education Record to which the statement relates.
     

  3. Withholding Transcripts
    Transcripts of the Student’s Education Record must be issued to Students upon written request unless, with some exceptions such as those related to bankruptcy, there are unpaid financial obligations to the University or other unresolved issues. The University is not obligated, however, to provide Students with copies of transcripts or source documents from other institutions.
     
  4. Right to File a Complaint
    Students have the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the University to comply with FERPA. The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is:

     

Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20202-5920

IV. Procedures

The Office of the Registrar has been designated to coordinate the inspection and review procedures of Student Education Records. Directives to withhold Directory Information, requests for the release of Education Records, and requests to review Education Records or challenge the contents thereof, as well as all questions or concerns regarding this Policy or other matters pertaining to FERPA, should be directed to the Office of the Registrar at registrar@arcadia.edu. Copies of Education Records will be made at the requester’s expense at a reasonable rate. The University will comply with an eligible request within a reasonable period of time, but not more than forty-five (45) days after it has received the request.

For individuals who have participated in educational experiences through The College of Global Studies, rather than the Office of the Registrar, such requests should be directed to the Academic Records and Systems Manager at tcgregistrar@arcadia.edu.

V. Definitions

Directory Information is considered by the University to include a Student’s name, graduation date, degree granted and University honors received, enrollment status (for current students), dates of attendance, and program/major. Student addresses and telephone numbers are not currently included as Directory Information. If there are any changes to the definition of Directory Information, notice of same will be posted and this Policy amended.

An Education Record is any record directly related to a Student and maintained by the University or a party acting for the University, including a Student’s admissions, disciplinary, academic, financial, cooperative education, and placement files. Educational Records do not include records of instructional, administrative, and educational personnel which are the sole possession of the maker and are not accessible or revealed to any individual except a temporary substitute; records of Public Safety that were created by Public Safety for the purposes of law enforcement; student health records; employment records; or alumni records containing only information about an individual after they are no longer a Student at the University.

Personally Identifiable Information includes, but is not limited to, a Student or Student’s family member’s name or address; a Student’s social security number, student identification number, date of birth, place of birth; other information that, alone or in combination, is linked or linkable to a specific Student that would allow a reasonable person in the University community, who does not have personal knowledge of the relevant circumstances, to identify the Student with reasonable certainty; or other information requested by a person who the University reasonably believes knows the identity of the Student to whom the education record relates.

A School Official is a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including Public Safety and Student Health and Counseling Services staff); 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, or collection agent) when that person is under the direct control of the University with respect to the use and maintenance of the Education Record and subject to the same conditions on use and disclosure of Education Records that apply to other School Officials; a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a Student serving on an official committee, such as a Student Conduct or Judicial Board, or assisting another School Official in performing tasks.

A Student is an individual who has enrolled in and attended Arcadia University. Individuals who merely audit classes or who are accepted to the University but do not attend any classes are not Students for purposes of FERPA or this Policy.

The University is Arcadia University, its colleges, schools, affiliates, divisions and subsidiaries. 

VI. Effective Date

This Policy is effective on the date that it is signed by the President

VII. Date of Approval

October 18, 2019