POLICY STATEMENT ON ACCESS TO RECORDS
STUDENT RIGHTS UNDER THE FAMILY EDUCATIONAL RIGHTS AND PRIVACY ACT
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. They are:
- The right to inspect and review the student's education records within forty-five days of the day the College receives a request for access.
Students should submit to the Registrar, the Dean of Students, the Director of Career Education and Vocational Reflection (placement records only), the chair of the Health Sciences Committee, or other appropriate official, written requests that identify the record(s) they wish 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.
- The right to request the amendment of the student's education records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading.
Students may ask the College to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. They should write the College 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 College decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the College will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his or her right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedure will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
- The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student's educational records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
One exception which permits personal disclosure without consent is 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 (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 responsibility.
Upon request, the College discloses education records without consent to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
- The right to file a complaint with the U. S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Hampden-Sydney College to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the office that administers FERPA are:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U. S. Department of Education
600 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington D. C. 20202-4605
The College considers the following information public information: name of student, address, telephone listing, date and place of birth, major field of study, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, the most recent previous educational institution attended by the student, and other similar information.
No later than one week before classes begin in the fall (or before enrollment if one enters second semester or in the May Term), a student may submit a written statement to the Dean of Students stating that he does not want specified information about him included as public or directory information. The request will be honored.
ACADEMIC RECORDS, PRIVACY, AND THE BUCKLEY AMENDMENT
Institutions of higher education accumulate and maintain extensive records concerning the characteristics, activities, and accomplishments of their students. These records pose special problems for those concerned with personal privacy, problems that derive from a basic tension between the rights and needs of individuals and the legitimate demands of institutions in which they participate. In choosing to pursue a college education the student is often hopeful that this experience will contribute to the attainment of career objectives and is keenly aware that his performance will be viewed and evaluated by others. At the same time, the right to privacy asserts that individuals have a legitimate interest in controlling what information about themselves they will reveal to others and what uses may be made of this information.
For its part, the College has a legitimate interest in obtaining information necessary to carry out its functions and to fulfill its obligations to the student. For these reasons, the following policies and procedures are published so that this information will be available to all members of the College community. All statements herein apply only to the official records of the institution pertaining to current and former students, and these policies are in conformity with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 as amended (Buckley Amendment). The text of the law is available in the Office of Student Affairs.
Briefly, the purposes of the Act are to assure college students access to their educational records as limited and defined by the Act, and to protect students' rights to privacy by limiting the transferability of their records without their consent. The rights in the Act are, essentially, accorded to the college student himself.
All members of the faculty, administration, and clerical and other staff are expected to respect confidential information about students which they acquire in the course of their work.
ACCESS TO RECORDS
Student access to records is limited to records maintained by the Registrar (academic records); by the Dean of Students; by the Director of Career Education and Vocational Reflection (placement records only); and by the Health Sciences Committee.
For the purposes of this policy the term "educational records" means those records, files, documents, and other materials maintained by the College which contain information directly related to a student.
The term "educational records" does not include:
- Financial records of the parents of the student or any information contained therein.
- Confidential letters and statements of recommendation which were placed in the education records before January 1, 1975, if such letters or statements are not used for purposes other than those for which they were specifically intended.
- Confidential recommendations
- Respecting admission to any educational agency or institution;
- Respecting an application for employment;
- Respecting the receipt of an honor or honorary recognition if the student has signed a waiver of his right of access. A student may sign a statement waiving his right of access for any or all of these three types of recommendation letters. The general waiver would eliminate the need to face the question of waiver of access on each letter that may be written for admission to graduate or professional school, employment, etc. If a student waives his right of access to any or all of these three categories, he may request that the College notify him of the names of all persons making confidential recommendations. The College will use these recommendations solely for the purpose for which they were specifically intended.
- Records of institutional, supervisory, and administrative personnel and educational personnel ancillary thereto which are in the sole possession of the maker thereof and which are not accessible or revealed to any other person except a substitute.
- The records and documents of the campus police (who do not have access to educational records) which are maintained solely for law enforcement purposes and are not made available to persons other than law enforcement officials of the same jurisdiction.
- Records which are created or maintained by a physician, psychologist, psychiatrist, or other recognized professional or para-professional acting in his professional or para-professional capacity, or assisting in that capacity, and which are created, maintained, or used only in connection with the provision of treatment to the student, and are not available to anyone other than persons providing such treatment; provided, however, that such records can be personally reviewed by a physician or other appropriate professional of the student's choice.
- Records such as the alumni records gathered after a student leaves the College are not considered educational records, and therefore students do not have access to them.
PROCEDURE FOR EXAMINING RECORDS
A student wishing to inspect and review specified educational records pertaining to himself should submit the request in writing to the particular office in which the records are maintained. To the extent that the law permits, the request will be granted as soon as possible, no later than forty-five days after the written request is made.
If desired, a student will be granted an opportunity to challenge the content of his records in an informal hearing between the student and the College personnel involved. If satisfactory adjustments cannot be agreed upon by the student and the author of the information challenged, the College official in charge of the particular office in which the records are kept will meet with the parties to attempt to resolve the matter by correcting, deleting, or allowing refutation of allegedly inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise inappropriate data in the content of the records. If the matter cannot be resolved informally, at the request of the student, a hearing will be conducted by a College official without a direct interest in the outcome of the hearing, normally the Dean of Students. A student has the right to file a written complaint directly with the following office:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U. S. Department of Education
600 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington D. C. 20202-4605
If a student desires copies of educational records to which he has access as allowed by this policy, he shall be furnished copies at a rate covering the cost to the institution, $.10 per page copied, plus postage, if any.
With the exceptions as noted, no one from outside the College has access to educational records.
RELEASE OF RECORDS
The College will not release educational records (or personally identifiable information contained therein other than what is considered public information as defined in this policy statement) of a student without the written consent of the student to any individual, agency, or organization other than the following:
- Other College officials, including teachers, who have legitimate education interests, e.g., the educational background of the student.
- Officials of other schools in which the student seeks, or intends, to enroll.
- Authorized representatives of the Comptroller General of the United States, the Secretary or assistant (D.O.E.) and administrative head of an education agency, state educational authorities, the Commissioner of Education, and the Director of the National Institute of Education.
- College officials dealing with a student's applications for, or receipt of, financial aid.
- State and local officials or authorities to whom such information is specifically required to be reported or disclosed pursuant to State statute adopted prior to November 19, 1974.
- Organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, educational agencies or institutions for the purpose of developing, validating, or administering predictive tests, administering student aid programs, and improving instruction, if such studies are conducted in such a manner as will not permit the personal identification of students and their parents by persons other than representatives of such organizations, and on the condition that such information will be destroyed when no longer needed for the purpose for which it is conducted.
- Accrediting organizations in order to carry out their accrediting functions.
- Parents of a dependent student of such parents as defined in section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954.
- Subject to regulations of the Secretary in connection with an emergency, appropriate persons if the knowledge of such information is necessary to protect the health and safety of the student or other persons.
Other than the exceptions listed above under Release of Records and Public Information, the College will not release in writing, or provide access to, any personally identifiable information in education records unless:
- There is written consent from the student specifying the records to be released, the reasons for such release, and to whom or what class of parties the records are to be furnished. The student shall receive a copy of the records, if requested.
- Such information is furnished in compliance with judicial order, or pursuant to any lawfully issued subpoena, upon condition that the students are notified of all such orders or subpoenas in advance of the compliance therewith by the College.
The College will notify any third party receiving information about a student from the College (other than educational institutions, etc., noted in this policy statement as exceptions) that the information is being transferred on the condition that such third party will not permit any other party to have access to such information without the written consent of the student.
NOTE: The College reserves the right not to release transcripts of the academic record, grades, or other information if all debts to the College are not paid.
RELEASE OF GRADE REPORTS AND DISCIPLINARY ACTION TO, AND CONSULTATION WITH, PARENTS AND GUARDIANS
Realizing that parents and guardians have a legitimate interest in the progress of their sons and daughters, the College routinely mails copies of deficiency reports (for freshmen and first-semester sophomores), and notices of significant disciplinary action taken against a student, to parents and guardians. A financially independent student (as defined by the Internal Revenue Code) may submit a written request to the Dean of Students asking that the College not send designated information to parents or guardians, and this request will be honored.
The College recognizes the legitimate interests of parents and guardians to consult with the professional staff about the academic and personal well-being of their sons and daughters. This consultation will be carried out consistent with basic College policy respecting the rights of confidentiality of the student. Whenever a student is separated from the College for academic, disciplinary, or other reasons, the College notifies the parents or guardians.
RECORD OF RELEASE OF OR ACCESS TO EDUCATIONAL RECORDS
A record of all requests for educational information is maintained in each office where applicable student records are kept. The form includes information on the name of the inquirer, institution, or agency; the date of the request; the purpose or legitimate interest that each person, institution, or agency has in obtaining this information; and the disposition of the record. A student may see this record.
EDUCATIONAL RECORDS MAINTAINED BY THE COLLEGE, THE COLLEGE OFFICIAL IN CHARGE, COLLEGE PERSONNEL WHO HAVE ACCESS AND THE PURPOSES FOR WHICH THEY HAVE ACCESS
The College does not expunge academic records after a student leaves college or is graduated. These records are maintained either on microfilm or in a storage facility for possible future reference. Most other records are kept for up to five years.
Academic, administrative, and clerical personnel of the College having a legitimate and demonstrable need for information concerning students as a result of their duties in the College are permitted access to those records directly related to their duties and functions. Whenever possible, the information needed by such persons should be provided by the officials responsible for the records, without permitting direct access to the records themselves.
If academic records and personnel folders are relevant to student courts, social fraternities, student government, or honor societies, the necessary information will be provided only when authorized by the appropriate College official.
- Records in the Office of the Registrar. The Registrar is responsible for the maintenance of academic records (transcripts and grade reports).
- Records in the Office of Student Affairs. The Dean of Students is responsible for the maintenance of the following records:
- Some materials related to the admission process: application form, autobiography, high school grades, and copies of correspondence of both confidential and non-confidential nature.
- Copies of letters notifying the student of disciplinary action taken against him.
- Copies of letters of commendation for honors, Dean's List, etc.
- Copies of letters sent to the student warning him of poor class attendance.
- Copies of letters of academic suspension and the like.
- Copies of letters of recommendation written by the Dean of Students to graduate/professional schools or prospective employers.
- Transcripts from colleges attended other than Hampden-Sydney.
- Copies of letters granting advanced- placement credit and waiver of academic requirements.
- Records in the Office of Career Education and Vocational Reflection. The Director of Career Education is responsible for the maintenance of placement records, including résumés and letters of recommendation for employment and graduate or professional school.
- Records in the Office of the Chair of the Health Sciences Committee of the Faculty. The Chair of the Health Sciences Committee of the Faculty is responsible for the maintenance of recommendations for and evaluations of applicants to medical or dental school made by professors and administrators and the recommendation statement made by the Health Sciences Committee to medical or dental schools.
Note: All officers listed in this section receive mail at the following address:
Hampden-Sydney, Virginia 23943