Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (F.E.R.P.A.)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, is a federal law which provides that colleges and universities will maintain the confidentiality of student education records. This law also affords students certain rights with respect to their education records.

The law basically says that no one outside the institution shall have access to students’ education records nor will the institution disclose any information from those records without the written consent of the student. There are exceptions, of course, so that certain personnel within the institution may see the records, including persons in an emergency in order to protect the health or safety of students or other persons.

Additionally, under FERPA, students have the right to:

  • Inspect and review their education records
  • Seek to amend their education records
  • Have some control over the disclosure of information from their education records (Buckley Amendment)
  • File a complaint for an alleged violation of FERPA rights

FERPA law provides that an institution of higher education shall state what information in a student education record is to be considered Directory Information which may be released without prior student consent.  Under FERPA, Sam Houston State University has established the following as directory information:

  • Name
  • Local/Home/E-mail Addresses
  • Major/Minor
  • Local/Home Telephone Numbers
  • Degrees, Diplomas, Certificates and Date of Award
  • Honors and Awards
  • Classification
  • Extracurricular Activities
  • Birth Date and Place of Birth
  • Names and Addresses of Parents/Legal Guardians
  • Weight, Height, and Related Information of Athletic Team Member

The above directory information will be available for release to the general public.  However, the Buckley Amendment under FERPA, states that each student has the right to inform Sam Houston State University that any or all of the above information is not to be released.  Sam Houston State University will honor the student’s request to restrict the release of “Directory Information” as listed.

A student may restrict the release of directory information by submitting the Buckley Amendment Form (found on this page under the Forms link) to the Registrar’s Office located on the 3rd floor of the Estill Building.  Forms must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office prior to the twelfth class day of the fall and spring terms and the fourth class day of the summer term.  Additionally, the restriction of information remains on the students’ record until the student takes action to remove it.  If the student restricts their information, the university campus staff and faculty will view a confidential message on all student records found in our current Banner student information system and NO information can be released on that student without the written permission of the student.  This includes the restriction of the student’s name being listed in the commencement program, the honor’s list, and the Dean’s/President’s list.  Release of information contained on a student’s academic transcript without the written consent of the person(s) identified on the document is in violation of Sec. 438 Public Law 90-247 (FERPA).

Additional FERPA information regarding our University policies on student rights is available under the Student Guidelines maintained by the Dean of Students.  For more information, please visit www.shsu.edu/students/guide/.

REMINDER TO ALL EMPLOYEES

If you see this message when you enter a Student ID into any Banner form,
you cannot release any information on that student:

ferpawarning

* Additionally, if you see the word, “Confidential” on the top left-hand corner of any Banner form, you cannot release any information on that student.

It is a violation of FERPA to discuss a student’s record with any person without a legitimate education interest.  This pertains to discussions on and off the job.

  • Removing any document from the office for non-business purposes is in violation of FERPA.
  • Releasing confidential student information (non-directory) to another student, University organization, or any person who does not have a legitimate educational interest, or parents of a dependent student, without the student’s written authorization is in violation of FERPA.
  • Leaving reports or computer screens containing confidential student information in view of others who do not have a legitimate educational interest in the data or leaving your monitor unattended is in violation of FERPA.
  • Making personal use of student information is in violation of FERPA.
  • Allowing another person to use your computer access code is in violation of FERPA.
  • Putting paperwork in trash with a student’s information (i.e., social security or grades) is also in violation of FERPA.

Violation of confidentiality and security may lead to appropriate personnel action.

QUESTIONS?

The FERPA campus official at Sam Houston State University is the Registrar.  If you have any questions concerning FERPA or what information can or cannot be released, please contact the Registrar’s Office.  If we cannot answer your question, we will consult the Department of Education.

 

Registrar’s Office
BOX 2029
Huntsville TX   77341
(936)294-1048
Or
Toll free (866) 232-7528 ext 41048
Email at:  ask.regstaff@shsu.edu


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