Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
Each year Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology (SHSST) is required to give notice of the various rights accorded to students pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). For FERPA purposes SHSST defines a student as one who is currently attending SHSST and whose records are in the files of this school.
FERPA for Students
In accordance with FERPA, you (student) are notified of the following:
1. You have the right to review and inspect all of your education records maintained by or at SHSST within 45 days of the date the registrar receives a written request from you for access.
Education records are those maintained by SHSST, or a party acting for the institution, which are directly related to a student. Records containing your name, social security number or other personally identifiable information (data or information) may include:
A. your name; the names of your parents or other family members;
B. your address;
C. a personal identifier such as a social security number or your student ID number;
D. a list of personal characteristics, or other information which would make your identity easily traceable in whatever medium (handwriting, print, tapes, files, microfilm , microfiche, any form of electronic data storage), are covered by FERPA unless identified in one of the Act's excluded categories.
2. You have the right to prevent disclosure of personally identifiable information contained in your education records to third parties with certain exceptions allowed by Federal regulations. It is the intent of SHSST to limit the disclosure of information contained in your education records to those instances when prior written consent has been given for the disclosure, or when the provisions of FERPA allow such disclosure without prior written consent.
Parents/legal guardians of traditional-age (17-22) students have no inherent rights to inspect a student's education records. The right to inspect is limited solely to the student.
Information may be released to parents/legal guardians or sponsors, including bishop, vocation director, religious congregation provincial, only if one of the following is met: a) through written consent of the student [form for this purpose available in the Office of the Registrar], b) in connection with a health or safety issue, c) in compliance with a subpoena, or d) by submission of evidence that one or both parents declared the student as a dependent (providing more than 50% of support in the previous calendar year) on their most recent federal income tax form.
One exception which permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to a school official at SHSST who has a legitimate educational interest in a student's education record. A school official is a person employed by a postsecondary institution in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position; a person or company with whom the institution has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, NSC or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees or a student serving on an official committee or assisting another school official in performing his/her tasks.
A legitimate educational interest exists if the school official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility. Disclosure to a school official does not constitute institutional authorization to transmit, share or disclose any or all information received to another party. Upon request, SHSST discloses education records without consent to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
3. You have the right to seek to have corrected any parts of an education record which you believe to be inaccurate, misleading or otherwise in violation of your rights. This right includes the right to a hearing to present evidence that the record should be changed, if SHSST decides not to alter the education records according to your request. Note: If a student questions any grade as recorded in the Registrar's Office, the student has a period of one year, beginning with the end of the term in which the grade was awarded, to challenge the accuracy of the grade. At the end of one year, the permanent record will become the absolute record, and changes may not be made.
4. You have the right to file a complaint with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Office, Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW , Washington , D.C. 20202 , concerning any alleged failure by SHSST to comply with FERPA.
5. You have the right to obtain a written copy of SHSST's official notification to students regarding FERPA. A copy may be obtained in person or by mail from the Office of the Registrar or the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs.
Directory Information SHSST has designated certain information contained in the education records of its students as Directory Information for purposes of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). This information may be released to persons or agencies outside the college without student consent unless the student has requested non-disclosure of some or all of this information using the form available for this purpose in the Office of the Registrar. Directory information for SHSST is defined as: 1) full name, 2) major field of study, 3) participation in officially recognized activities and sports, 4) height/weight of members of athletic teams, 5) dates of attendance, including current classification and year, matriculation and withdrawal dates, 6) degrees and awards received, 7) most recent previous educational institution attended, 8) full- or part-time status, 9) photograph, and 10) campus e-mail address. Not included are: social security number, race/ethnicity, or gender. An item of directory information may be disclosed by SHSST for any purpose, without the prior consent of a student, unless the student has forbidden its disclosure in writing.
The Solomon Amendment & FERPA
SHSST is required under the provisions of the Solomon Amendment to provide directory information on students who are at least 17 years of age to representatives of the Department of Defense for military recruiting purposes upon request. That information includes: student name, addresses, telephone listings, date and place of birth, level of education, degrees received, prior military experience and the most recent previous educational institutions enrolled in. If any of this information is not collected by SHSST, the college is not required to collect it in order to provide it to military recruiters. SHSST is not required to disclose the directory information of students who have requested nondisclosure of any or all directory information. Students wishing to prevent disclosure of the designated directory information must file a non-disclosure form with the Registrar's Office. In the event that such written notification is not filed, SHSST assumes that the student does not object to the release of the directory information. Students are urged to consider very carefully the consequences of a decision to withhold any information. Such a request must be renewed annually to remain in effect, and will remain in effect once a student leaves SHSST. Any future requests for such information from non-institutional persons or organizations will be refused until the student notifies SHSST in writing that his/her information should be released.
FERPA for Faculty
1. What is FERPA?
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, passed in 1974 and continues to be interpreted by the Department of Education, is a law designed to protect the privacy interests of students, not institutions. Under this legislation, students enrolled in colleges and universities have three fundamental rights:
A. Right to review and inspect their education records
B. Right to request to amend their education records (This does not apply to grades, evaluations etc. unless a grade was recorded incorrectly.)
C. Right to limit disclosure of "personally identifiable information" contained in education records.
Student FERPA rights pertain to the education records that SHSST maintains on a student, not to the student himself/herself.
2. What is covered by FERPA?
The records SHSST maintains in the Academic Office in any form for any individual who attends or has attended a class offered by SHSST are considered to be education records and are covered by FERPA. For this reason, it is critically important that faculty check the roster for their classes at the beginning of each term and return the amended class list to the Registrar by the specified date.
Education records are those maintained by SHSST, or a party acting for the institution, which are directly related to a student. Records containing a student's name, social security number or other personally identifiable information in whatever medium, are covered by FERPA unless identified in one of the law's excluded categories.
“Personally identifiable” means data or information which may include 1) student's name; the names of student's parents or other family members; 2) student's address; 3) a personal identifier such as a social security number or student ID number; or 4) a list of personal characteristics, or other information which would make a student's identity easily traceable. Education records include handwritten, printed, taped, filmed, microfilmed, on microfiche, or any form of electronically stored data.
Categories of student information which FERPA excludes from identification as education records include: 1)sole possession records; 2)records maintained by a law enforcement/security unit for law enforcement purposes; 3)student employment records other than employment records for positions that are included in a student's financial aid package; 4)medical, pastoral counseling, counseling center and mental health records; and 5)information gathered on individuals who are no longer in attendance (alumni surveys/achievements).
3. What information does FERPA say SHSST can release?
SHSST has designated certain information contained in the education records of its students as Directory Information for purposes of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Directory Information is generally not considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. This information may be released to persons or agencies outside SHSST without student consent unless the student has requested non-disclosure of some or all of this information using the form available for this purpose in the Office of the Registrar. This form must be filed annually prior to the add/drop date for the current term.
Directory information for SHSST is defined as: 1) full name, 2) major field of study, 3) participation in officially recognized activities and sports, 4) height/weight of members of athletic teams, 5) dates of attendance, including current classification and year, matriculation and withdrawal dates, 6) degrees and awards received, 7) most recent previous educational institution attended, 8) full- or part-time status and 9) photograph. Not included are social security numbers, race/ethnicity, or gender. An item of directory information may be disclosed by SHSST for any purpose, without the prior consent of a student, unless the student has forbidden its disclosure in writing and 10) campus e-mail address
Even though information is designated as Directory Information by SHSST, this does not mean that SHSST will disclose this information, only that it may choose to disclose it.
If a student leaves SHSST with a non-disclosure request in force, the request remains in force until a student withdraws it in writing. If the signed form is not on file in the Registrar's Office by the end of the add/drop period, directory information may be released.
4. Who else can have access to a student's education records under FERPA?
With the exception of information in a student's record designated by SHSST as Directory Information, education records cannot be disclosed to anyone other than the student, a school official, and certain other persons or agencies specifically identified by the law.
A student's education record may be disclosed without consent to school officials with legitimate educational interests. Any school official who needs to review the student's record in order to fulfill his/her professional responsibility is considered to have a legitimate educational interest. School officials under FERPA include administrators, supervisors, faculty and academic staff, research or support staff (including security staff and health staff); a person or company with whom SHSST has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, NSC or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Directors; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or employed in or voluntarily assisting another school official in performing his/her tasks.
A student's education record may be disclosed without consent of or prior notification to the student to 1) authorized representatives of the Comptroller General, Attorney General, Secretary of Education, and state and local education authorities; 2) to schools in which the student seeks or intends to enroll; 3) in connection with financial aid; 4) to organizations conducting studies for or on behalf of educational agencies or institutions; 5) to parents of a dependent student if the parent can prove that he/she claimed the student on his/her most recent tax return; 6) to comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena; and 7)if there is a health/safety emergency.
SHSST requires a dated, signed, written release from a dependent student prior to releasing that student's education records to his/her parents. When releasing a student's education information to anyone other than a school official, it is always best to have a dated, signed written statement describing the purpose of the disclosure and containing the name of the party or class of parties to whom the disclosure will be made.
5. What responsibilities does SHSST have under FERPA?
A. SHSST is required to notify students annually of their rights under FERPA and SHSST's intent to protect their rights to inspect, review, and submit a request to amend their records.
B. SHSST is required to protect students' rights to limit disclosure of certain personally identifiable information, called Directory Information, contained in their education records. All other information contained in a student's education records can't be released except as described earlier in this document.
C. SHSST is required to ensure that third parties do not re-disclose personally identifiable information, except if a) the disclosure is made pursuant to a court order or to lawfully issued subpoenas; b) the disclosure contains only Directory Information and a Non-Disclosure Order has not been filed; or c) the disclosure is to the student.
D. SHSST is required to keep records of requests for and disclosures of student education records.
6. What happens if SHSST doesn't comply with FERPA?
The Department of Education may issue a notice to cease the practice complained of and could ultimately withhold funds administered by the Secretary of Education, such as federal financial aid dollars and federal grants.
7. Who on campus is responsible for FERPA compliance?
FERPA compliance is a campus-wide responsibility. However, official education records are maintained in the Academic Department. The registrar has the responsibility to administer FERPA. If there are questions, please contact that office at: x 6974.