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Privacy of Student Records (FERPA)

Because a faculty advisor will maintain and have electronic access to some educational records‹records of advisees’ grades and other academic information–all advisors should understand the major provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (commonly referred to as FERPA or the Buckley Amendment). Basically, FERPA is designed to protect the privacy of educational records, to establish the rights of students to inspect and review their records, and to provide a means of correcting inaccurate or misleading data. “Educational records” include any records relating to students in the possession of an employee which are shared with or accessible to another individual. Certain “student records” are not included among education records under the Buckley Amendment. Among these student records are records held by educational personnel (such as faculty) that are not accessible to or revealed to any other person. Shepherd University makes every effort to comply fully with this legislation. 

In communications with parents concerning academic matters, it is normally institutional policy to respect the privacy of the student and not to disclose information from student records without the prior consent of the student. At the student’s request, such information will be provided to parents and guardians.

Certain information is considered public and is released by the University at its discretion. Unless a student files written notification in the Office of the Registrar to withhold disclosure, the University will release “directory” information, including participation in officially recognized activities, announcements of graduation, honors and awards, verification of dates of attendance, and the conferring of degrees. Names, addresses, and other directory information will be released for use within the University community. However, directory information is released only through the Office of the Registrar or the Office of Student Affairs.

Transcripts of academic records and statements of academic status are released to third parties only with written authorization from the student. A student has the right of access to his/her academic records. A student has the right to challenge and request the correction of any contents of his/her educational records that are considered to be inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the student¹s privacy or other rights. Such a challenge should be directed to the Registrar.

FERPA does exclude a student’s right of access to personal notes that his/her academic advisor may have made during advising sessions. Under FERPA, these notes constitute records made by educational personnel and kept solely in their possession. As an advisor, you should therefore remove any personal notes from the student¹s file before you transfer a student¹s advisement file to another permanent academic advisor. For a full enumeration and discussion of students’ Rights to Privacy, see the “Bill of Rights” section of “Appendix A: Guidelines and Policies Affecting Student Life” in the current Shepherd University Student Handbook.

For more information from the U.S. Department of Education, please refer to the following page: