Release of Student Information
Notification of Rights under FERPA
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords eligible students certain rights with respect to their education records. (An “eligible student” under FERPA is a student who is 18 years of age or older or who attends a postsecondary institution.) These rights include:
- The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days after the day the University at Albany receives a request for access. A student should submit to the University Registrar, Dean, head of the academic department, or other appropriate official, a written request that identifies the record(s) the student wishes to inspect. The school 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 school official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
- The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes is inaccurate. While a school is not required to amend education records in accordance with a student's request, the school is required to consider the request. A student who wishes to ask the University to amend a record should write the school official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it should be changed. If the University decides not to amend the record as requested, the University will notify the student in writing of the decision and their right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. The FERPA amendment procedure only may be used to challenge facts that are inaccurately recorded, it may not be used to challenge a grade, an opinion, or a substantive decision made by a school about an eligible student. FERPA was intended to require only that schools conform to fair recordkeeping practices and not to override the accepted standards and procedures for making academic assessments, disciplinary rulings, or placement determinations. Thus, while FERPA affords students the right to seek to amend education records which contain inaccurate information, this right cannot be used to challenge a grade or an individual's opinion, or a substantive decision made by a school about a student. Additionally, if FERPA's amendment procedures are not applicable to a student's request for amendment of education records, the school is not required under FERPA to hold a hearing on the matter. Additional information regarding hearing procedures are provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
- The right to provide written consent before the University discloses personally identifiable information (PII) from the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. The University discloses education records without a student’s prior written consent under the FERPA exception for disclosure to University officials with legitimate educational interests. A University official is a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person serving on the board of trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee. A University official also may include a volunteer or contractor outside of the University who performs an institutional service or function for which the University would otherwise use its own employees and who is under the direct control of the University with respect to the use and maintenance of PII from education records, such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent or a student volunteering to assist another University official in performing his or her tasks. A University 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 University.
- 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 20202
When Does FERPA take Effect?
FERPA becomes effective on the first day of classes (see academic calendar) for those newly admitted students who are registered* for at least one class.
“Student” applies to all students, including continuing education students, students auditing classes, distance education students, and former students.
Individuals who have applied for admission, but have not been accepted, have no rights under FERPA.
*The University at Albany considers “registered” and “enrolled” equivalent terms in the administration of FERPA.
Effective Fall 2015
Notice of Disclosure and Directory Information
Generally, schools must have written permission from a student in order to release any information from a student’s education record. However, FERPA permits the disclosure of personally identifiable information (PII) from students’ education records, without consent of the student, if the disclosure meets certain conditions found in §99.31 of FERPA regulations, some of which are listed below:
- School officials with legitimate educational interest*
- Other schools to which a student is transferring
- Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes
- Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student
- Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school
- Accrediting organizations
- To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena
- Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies
- State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific State law
FERPA also permits schools to disclose, without consent, “directory” information. The University, in accordance with FERPA, has designated the following information about students as public (directory) information:
- Address (local and permanent)
- Academic status (Undergraduate, Graduate, General Studies, etc.)
- Dates of attendance
- Degrees completed
- Program of Study
- Honors and Awards
Students have the right to have this directory information withheld from the public if they so desire. If such a request is made, it is the policy of the University that all directory information will be withheld. Each student who wants all directory information withheld shall so indicate by contacting the Office of the University Registrar in writing.
The University receives many inquiries for “directory information” from a variety of sources, including friends, parents, relatives, prospective employers, the news media, etc. Each student is advised to carefully consider the consequences of a decision to withhold “directory information.” The University, in all good faith, will not release directory information requested to be withheld, unless it’s under the provisions listed above.
*School Officials with a Legitimate Education Interest:
A school official is a person employed by the University at Albany and/or the State University of New York — SUNY in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person serving on the board of trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee. A school official also may include a volunteer or contractor outside of the University at Albany who performs an institutional service or function for which the school would otherwise use its own employees and who is under the direct control of the school with respect to the use and maintenance of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) from educational records, such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent or a student volunteering to assist 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 University at Albany and/or the State University of New York — SUNY (http://www.suny.edu/sunypp/documents.cfm?doc_id=540).