Student Records: Notification of Student Rights under FERPA
The College subscribes fully to the guidelines set forth in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974, Section 438 of the General Education Provision Act. It provides students access to education records directly related to them and protects the private information contained within those files from unauthorized persons.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that applies to educational agencies and institutions that receive funding under a program administered by the U.S. Department of Education. It affords students certain rights with respect to access to, amendment, and disclosure of their education records. Specifically, these rights include:
- The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days of the day the College receives a request for access.
A student should submit to the Registrar or Vice President for Student Development and Dean of Students, or other appropriate official, a written request that identifies the record(s) the student wishes to inspect. The College official 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 College official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
2. The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA.
A student who wishes to ask the College to amend a record should write the College official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record the student wants changed, and specify why it should be changed. If the College decides not to amend the record as requested, the College will notify the student in writing of the decision and the student’s 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.
3. The right to provide written consent before the College discloses personally identifiable information from the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
The College discloses education records without a student’s prior written consent under the FERPA exception for disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the College in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the College has contracted as its agent to provide a service instead of using College employees or officials (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks.
A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities for the College.
Upon request, the College may also disclose education records without consent to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll. In such cases, the College will make reasonable efforts to notify students of this action.
Exceptions to the rights outlined above relate, primarily, to student and/or campus safety issues. The limited occasions when a student’s consent is not required to disclose personally identifiable information include:
- To protect the health or safety of students or other individuals. Such a release of information could include medical or law enforcement personnel, public health officials, and parents. This information may include medical or health treatment records.
- The final results of an institutional disciplinary proceeding to an alleged victim of any crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense.
- To provide timely warning and information of crimes that represent a threat to the safety of students or employees.
- To provide information from campus law enforcement units to others.
- To comply with the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System requirements.
- To another institution at which the student seeks or intends to enroll.
- To parents if a student is a dependent for income tax purposes, if a health or safety emergency involves their child, or if a student under the age of 21 has violated any law or policy concerning the use or possession of alcohol or other controlled substance. Please note that disclosure of information to parents in these circumstances is permitted, not required. The policy of Kalamazoo College is to notify parents only in the case of a health or safety emergency or other set of extraordinary circumstances that affect a student’s status at the college
4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the University 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 Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 202-5901
Maintaining Accurate Academic Records
The official academic record of a student is the file maintained in the Registrar’s Office. This file contains all official enrollment and academic information. It is the responsibility of students to have all pertinent information regarding declarations, changes, waivers, exemptions, substitutions, scores, and transcripts on file in the Registrar’s Office.
Any appeal for a change to the official Kalamazoo transcript record must be made within one year of the original recording. After one year, the transcript record is considered the permanent record.
Requests for Release of Educational Records
Students may request that educational records (including units attempted, units earned, grades, GPA, address, phone number, class schedule, and student conduct/disciplinary records) be shared with other entities by submitting a written request to the appropriate office. For example, many graduate schools and employers seek grade transcripts and disciplinary information. Students may contact the Office of the Registrar (transcripts) and the Office of the Vice President for Student Development and Dean of Students (disciplinary records) to request the release of these records.
Transcript request requests can be made in person, through ground mail, via fax, through the Hornet Hive, or through the Student Clearinghouse. Requests for official transcripts must include the appropriate fee.
The College reserves the right to withhold a request if there is an outstanding financial obligation to the College or an unresolved disciplinary action.
The following notations regarding separation status will appear on a student’s transcript if applicable: suspension, dismissal, expulsion.
Definition of Suspension, Dismissal, Expulsion
Suspension – A compulsory separation from the college for a specific amount of time. Student must apply for reinstatement to return.
Dismissal – A compulsory separation from the college. Student must petition Academic Standards Committee in order to be reinstated.
Expulsion – A compulsory separation from the college with no possibility of returning.
“Directory information” is defined by FERPA as information contained in the education records of a student that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. This information does not require student consent for release. Kalamazoo College defines directory information as:
- Dates of attendance
- Classification (first year, second year, etc.)
- Enrollment status (full- or part-time)
- Campus box number from the directory
- Campus telephone listing from the directory
- Campus e-mail address
- Most recent educational agency or institution attended
- Major field of study (including minors and concentrations)
- Degree conferred (including date)
- Honors and awards
- Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
- Height and weight of members of athletic teams
- Leadership positions at Kalamazoo College
Defining directory information does not obligate the institution to release information, but means that the College may release the information without the consent of the student. Careful consideration is given to all requests to ensure that information is not released indiscriminately.
Students may file a written request that their directory information be withheld by submitting it to the Vice President for Student Development and Dean of Students. This request will then be shared with the appropriate parties at the College.