Family Education Rights and Privacy Acts (FERPA)

Dickinson State University student records maintained by the University fall into two general categories: directory information and educational records. As custodian of student records in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, the University assumes the trust and obligation to ensure the full protection of student records which includes maintaining the confidentiality of educational records. University personnel who have or accumulate educational records that are in a personally identifiable form shall comply with the administrative procedures that follow as required under SBHE Policy 1912.

Directory information is information concerning a student which may be released publicly. It includes the following:

• Name (all names on record)
• Address (all addresses on record)
• E-mail address (all electronic addresses on record)
• Phone Number (all phone numbers on record)
• Height, weight and photos of athletic team members
• Date of birth
• Place of birth
• Major field of study (all declared majors)
• Minor field of study (all declared minors)
• Class level
• Dates of attendance
• Enrollment status
• Names of previous institutions attended
• Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
• Honors/awards received
• Degree earned (all degrees earned)
• Date degree earned (dates of all degrees earned)
• Photographic, video or electronic images of students taken and maintained by the institution

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. These rights include the following:

1) 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 Registrar, Dean, head of the academic department, or other appropriate official, written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The University 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 University 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 or misleading.

Students may ask the University to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. They should write the University official responsible for the record, 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/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.

3) 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.

One exception which permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A University official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his/her professional responsibility. University officials are those members of an institution who act in the student’s educational interest within the limitations of their “need to know.” These may include faculty, administration, clerical and professional employees and other persons who manage student education record information including student employees or agents. Examples of a school official may include a person—

a) employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff);
b) or company with whom the University has contracted, e.g. attorney, auditor, collection agency;
c) serving on an institutional governing board;
d) or student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his/her tasks.

4) Other disclosures allowable without written consent are:

a) to institutions in which the student seeks to enroll or is enrolled so long as the disclosure is for purposes relating to the student’s enrollment or transfer;
b) to authorized representatives of federal, state, or local educational authorities;
c) to accrediting agencies;
d) in connection with a health or safety emergency;
e) to comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena;
f) concerning information considered “Directory Information.”

5) The right to refuse to permit the designation of all of the aforementioned categories of personally identifiable information as “Directory Information.”

Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, students have the right to request directory information not be made public by notifying the Office of Academic Records. Students should be aware that information might be collected for use in publications in advance of printing. In order to effectively suppress release of directory information, students must restrict their directory information by the tenth day of the term and not reverse that restriction during the term.

The university receives many inquiries for ‘directory information' from a variety of sources including, but not limited to, prospective employers, other colleges and universities, graduate schools, licensing agencies, government agencies, news media, parents, friends, and relatives. Students should consider very carefully the consequences of their decision to withhold release of any or all directory information items. Dickinson State University has no responsibility to contact students for subsequent permission to release directory information after it is restricted. DSU will honor student requests to withhold directory information until the student specifically and officially requests to lift these restrictions.

6) The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Dickinson State 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