Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (commonly referred to as the "Buckley Amendment" or "FERPA") is designed to protect the confidentiality of the records that educational institutions maintain on their students and to give students access to their records to assure the accuracy of their contents. The Act affords students certain rights with respect to education records. They are:

  1. Access to Education Records: the right to inspect and review education records within 45 days of the day the College receives a written request for access, anytime after matriculation.
  2. Request for Amendment of Education Records: the right to request amendment of education records if the student believes they are inaccurate or misleading.
  3. Disclosure of Education Records: the right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information in education records, except to the extent that the Act or any superseding law authorizes disclosure without student consent.
  4. Compliance: the right to contact the Family Policy Compliance Office with a complaint concerning the College's compliance with the requirements of the Buckley Amendment. For more information, contact the Registrar's Office.

Important definitions:

Education records: Any record maintained by the College which is directly related to a student, with the following exceptions:

  • Records created by College employees which are kept in the sole possession of the maker, are used only as a personal memory aid and are not accessible or revealed to any other person except a temporary substitute for the maker of the record;
  • Employment records unless the employment is contingent on the fact that the employee is a student;
  • Records maintained by Campus Safety solely for law enforcement purposes;
  • Records made, maintained and used by professionals or paraprofessionals (e.g., physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or counselor) only in connection with treatment of the student and disclosed only to individuals providing the treatment. Such health records may be reviewed by a physician or other appropriate professional of the student's choice.
  • Alumni records containing information about individuals after they are no longer students at the College.

Legitimate educational interest: A school official has a legitimate educational interest when the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her responsibility on behalf of the College, such as when the official is performing a task that is specific in his or her job description or by a contract agreement or other official appointment; performing a task related to a student's education; performing a task related to the discipline of a student; or providing a service or benefit relating to the student or student's family, such as health care, counseling, job placement, or financial aid.

School official: A person employed by the College in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position, including Campus Safety and Health Services staff; individuals or entities with whom the College has contracted (e.g., an attorney or auditor, the State Council on Higher Education, the National Student Clearinghouse); individuals serving on the Board of Trustees; and students conducting College business (e.g., serving on official committees, working for the College or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks).

Student: Any person who attends or has attended the College.

Access to Education Records:  A student has the right to inspect and review  education records within 45 days of the day the College receives a written request for access, anytime after  matriculation. The student should submit a written request, identifying the record(s) s/he wishes to review, to the Registrar. The College official will make arrangements for  review of the education records or will advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.

Waivers: When a student wishes a member of the faculty or administration to write a letter of recommendation to graduate schools or possible employers, s/he may be asked to sign a waiver to assure the confidentiality of the recommender's observations. If this occurs, it means only that we need to be able to speak candidly about capabilities and potential.

If a student uses the services of our Career Services offices in an effort to secure employment or access to graduate school, waivers are likely to be requested regarding the transcript, resume, letters of recommendation on file with the office(s), and any other data of natural interest to interviewers.

Records not open to student review: In accordance with federal regulations, students do not have the right to review the following records:

  • The financial records of the student's parents.
  • Letters and statements of recommendation for which the student has waived his or her right of access or which were placed in the file before January 1, 1975.
  • Records connected with an application to attend Roanoke College if that application was denied.
  • Education records containing information about more than one student, in which case the College will permit access only to that part of the record which pertains to the inquiring student.
  • Those records which are excluded from the FERPA definition of education records.

Refusal to provide copies: Roanoke College reserves the right to deny copies of transcripts or other records not required to be made available under FERPA, if the student has an overdue financial obligation to the College or if there is an unresolved disciplinary action against the student.

Fee for copies: The cost of an academic transcript (official or unofficial) is $5.00 per copy. The fee for copies of other education records, whether in response to student-authorized requests or other requests allowed by law, is $1.00 per page.

REQUEST FOR AMENDMENT OF EDUCATION RECORDS

A student has the right to request amendment of  education records if s/he believes they are inaccurate or misleading. The student  should write the College official responsible for the specific record, clearly identify the part of the record to be changed, and specify why the record is inaccurate or misleading.

That College official will reach a decision and inform ythe students in a reasonable amount of time after receiving the request. If the request to amend the record is denied, the College official will advise the student of the right to appeal the decision to the Vice-President/Dean of the College.

If the Dean supports the complaint, the education record will be amended accordingly and the student will be so informed. If the Dean decides not to amend the education record, the student will have the right to place in the education record a statement commenting on the challenged information and/or stating the reasons for disagreeing with the decision. This statement will be maintained as part of the education record as long as the contested portion is maintained, and, whenever a copy of the education record is sent to any party, the statement will be included.

Destruction of Records: Nothing in this policy requires the continued maintenance of any student record for any particular length of time. However, if. under the terms of this policy, a student has requested access to an education record, the record will not be destroyed before the custodian has granted access.

DISCLOSURE OF EDUCATION RECORDS

A student has the right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information in education records, except to the extent that the Act or any superseding law authorizes disclosure without consent. Other than directory information, Roanoke College will disclose student education records only with the written consent of the student, except in certain situations where the College retains discretion under FERPA or is authorized under any superseding law to disclose such records without consent, including the following:

  1. To school officials who have a legitimate educational interest in the records.

    A school official is:
    1. a person employed by the College in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position, including Campus Safety and Health Services;
    2. individuals or entities with whom the College has contracted (e.g., an attorney or auditor, the State Council on Higher Education, the National Student Loan Clearinghouse);
    3. individuals serving on the Board of Trustees;
    4. students conducting College business (e.g., serving on official committees, working for the College, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks).

      A school official has a legitimate educational interest when the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her responsibility on behalf of the College, such as when the official is
    5. performing a task that is specific in his or her job description or by a contract agreement or other official appointment;
    6. performing a task related to a student's education;
    7. performing a task related to the discipline of a student; 
    8. providing a service or benefit relating to the student or student's family, such as health care, counseling, job placement, or financial aid.
  2. To officials of another school in which the students has sought or intends to enroll;
  3. To authorized officials of the following entities, in connection with federal- or state-supported education programs: the U.S. Department of Education; the U.S. Comptroller General; the U.S. Attorney General; or state and local educational authorities;
  4. In connection with a student's request for financial aid, including determining the eligibility, amount or conditions of the financial aid or enforcing the terms and conditions of the aid;
  5. To state and local authorities to whom such information is specifically allowed to be reported or disclosed under state law in connection with the juvenile justice system;
  6. To organizations conducting certain studies for educational purposes for or on behalf of the College;
  7. To accrediting organizations, including individuals on visiting committees, to carry out their functions;
  8. To parents who claim the student as a dependent for income tax purposes. If tuition is being paid by someone else, but the student is not a dependent for federal income tax purposes, the student should notify the Registrar of the independent tax status, in which case education record information will be released only with the student's consent or upon receipt of a federal income tax return indicating dependency status, unless otherwise authorized by law;
  9. To comply with a judicial order or a lawfully issued subpoena, provided the College makes a reasonable attempt to notify you in advance of compliance (except in certain cases involving grand jury subpoenas) or when the College is involved in a legal action with a parent or student, where disclosure is to the court, without a court order or subpoena, and is relevant for the College to proceed as plaintiff or to defend itself;
  10. To appropriate parties in a health or safety emergency;
  11. To comply with a court order obtained under the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 for education records considered relevant to a terrorism investigation or prosecution, without advance notice to the student;
  12. To disclose information provided to the College under Section 170101 of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (42 U.S.C. 14071) concerning registered sex offenders who are required to register under that section;
  13. To the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) / Department of Homeland Security (DHS) concerning an F, J, or M nonimmigrant alien, only to the extent necessary for the College to comply with Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) reporting requirements, as mandated by the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, the USA PATRIOT Act, the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002, and the regulation at 8 CFR 214.1(h). Consent is not necessary for the College to disclose required information to USCIS or DHS in compliance with SEVP reporting obligations.

Consent for the disclosure of a student's education records must be in writing, signed and dated by the student, specifying the records to be released, the reasons for such release, and to whom the records are to be disclosed.

Record of disclosures: Except where not required under FERPA regulations (34 CFR 99.33) (e.g. disclosures to parents, disclosures of directory information, disclosures pursuant to court order under the USA PATRIOT Act), the College will inform all third parties (anyone outside the College) to whom personal information from a student's education record is released that no further release of such information is authorized without written consent of the student. The College will maintain a record of third parties who have requested or obtained access to a student's education records (not including parties seeking directory information, parties having student consent, parents, circumstances involving certain grand jury subpoenas, and disclosures pursuant to court order under the USA PATRIOT Act). This record of access, to be kept with the student's educational record, is available only to the student and the custodian(s) of the record.

Directory Information: Roanoke College designates the following categories of student information as public or "Directory Information." Roanoke College may disclose such information at its discretion.

  • Name
  • Current Enrollment Status
  • Local Address
  • Home Address
  • Local Telephone Number
  • Home Telephone Number
  • Campus E-mail address
  • Date and Place of Birth
  • Dates of Attendance
  • Grade Level (classification)
  • Previous Institutions Attended
  • Major Field(s) of study
  • Minor Field(s) of study
  • Concentration(s) of study
  • Degrees, awards and honors
  • Photographic or videotaped image
  • Participation in officially recognized sports and activities, including fraternities and sororities
  • Physical factors of athletes (height and weight )

Requests for non-disclosure may be made by currently enrolled students. To withhold disclosure, written notification must be made to the Roanoke College Registrar's Office. Requests are in effect from the date received in writing from the student until rescinded in writing by the student. For the published directory, requests must be received in the Registrar's Office no later than September 15 to ensure that the student's Directory Information is not published in the Campus Directory. Students should understand that, by withholding directory information, some information considered important to students might not reach them.

COMPLIANCE

Students are encouraged to contact the Registrar (registrar@roanoke.edu) if there are questions regarding this law. Under FERPA, students have the right to contact the Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, DC 20202-4605, e-mail address ferpa@ed.gov, with a complaint about the University's compliance with FERPA. The complete regulations and full definitions of terminology are at http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/reg/ferpa/ or http://www.ed.gov/offices/OII/fpco/pdf/ferparegs.pdf.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act