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Confidentiality of Student Records (FERPA)
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

Procedures for the release and disclosure of student records maintained by the University are in large measure governed by state and federal laws. Where the law is silent, the University is guided by the principle that the privacy of an individual is of great importance and that as much information in a student's file as possible should be disclosed to the student upon request. A current or former student has the right to inspect and review official records, files and data directly related to that student. This right does not extend to applicants, those denied admission to the University or those who were admitted but did not enroll. Some records are not available to students.

Third parties do not have access to personally identifiable records or other information pertaining to a student without the written consent of the student who specifies that the records be released. Parents are considered third parties.

Detailed guidelines for the release and disclosure of information from the student record are available from the Office of Student Life. These guidelines comply with the legal requirements of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. (FERPA) as amended which are highlighted below.

 

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (including its implementing regulations, “FERPA”) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records, as defined in FERPA. These rights include:


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.

2. The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes are inaccurate, misleading or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA.

If the school decides not to amend the record as requested, the school will notify the student in writing of the decision and the student's 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 provide written consent before the University discloses personally identifiable

information from the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes

disclosure without consent.

4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the 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 20202-5901

FERPA requires that a Student’s education record can only be disclosed to persons who meet the strict definition of a school official who has a legitimate educational interest in the records (or others explicitly granted access under the law),

18.0 School Official

A school official is defined as:

  • A person employed by the university or the Rhode Island Board of Education in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position including for example, any other institution in the Rhode Island system of public higher education.
  • A trustee or outside contractor such as health or medical staff, an attorney or auditor acting as an agent for the university.
  • A student, alumni or other person serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or who is assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks.

A school official has a legitimate educational interest, or legal right to know, if the official is:

  • Performing a task that is specified in his/her position description or contract;
  • Performing a task related to a student’s education or to student discipline;
  • Providing a service or benefit related to the student or student’s family; or
  • Maintaining safety and security on campus.

An example of a legitimate educational interest would be an academic advisor who needs to review a student’s education record to determine what courses have been and/or need to be completed. This is a task related to advising the student. The advisor would not be authorized to view education records that are not relevant to the task at hand. Curiosity does not qualify as a legal right to know.

Additional parties to whom educational records may be released without written permission:

  • To officials of another school, upon written request, in which a student seeks or intends to enroll. The student shall receive notification of the disclosure unless the student     initiated the disclosure
  • Appropriate persons, in connection with an emergency, if the knowledge of such information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or others.
  • To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena, provided the university makes a reasonable effort to notify the student in advance of compliance, unless the university receives a federal grand jury subpoena or other subpoena prohibiting notification.

Managing eCampus FERPA Restrictions

Directory information is information contained in a student education record that would generally not be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. While institutions may designate and release specified items, students have the right to and may place a directory hold on any or all of this information.

To manage your FERPA restrictions, log into eCampus and go to:

  • Home > Self Service > Campus Personal Information >FERPA Restrictions

18.1 Public Records (Directory Information)

Public (Directory Information) may be released or published without the student's consent. Currently enrolled students may inform the appropriate office that public records should not be released or published (forms for this purpose are available at designated offices). Information confirming the following items about the individual student is public and available from the offices listed below:

Full Name Enrollment Services
Campus/local/home address Enrollment Services
Campus voice mail box number Enrollment Services
E-mail address Enrollment Services
Web site address Enrollment Services
Telephone (local & home) listing Enrollment Services
Date and place of birth Enrollment Services
Major field of study Enrollment Services
Full time/part time status Enrollment Services
Participation in officially recognized activities Student Activities Office
Sports participation Sports Information Office
Weight and height of members of athletic teams Sports Information Office
Dates of attendance Enrollment Services
Degrees and awards received Enrollment Services
The most recent previous educational institution attended Enrollment Services
Class year Enrollment Services
Graduation dates Enrollment Services

18.2 Confidential Records

All personal information other than public records as defined above relating to a particular student is considered confidential information.

This information includes, but is not necessarily limited to:

  • Academic evaluations.
  • General counseling and advising records.
  • Disciplinary records.
  • Financial aid records.
  • Letters of recommendation.
  • Medical or health records.
  • Clinical counseling and psychiatric records.
  • Transcripts, test scores and other academic records.

Third parties, including the URI campus police, do not have access to personally identifiable records or information pertaining to a student without the written consent of the student who specifies that the records be released.

For purposes of this section, the "official records, files and data" means material on students pertaining to their status as students, held by any unit or department of the University and intended for University use or to be available to parties outside the University.

It does not include:

  • Personally signed letters of recommendation to which students have waived their right of access.
  • Campus law enforcement records held in the campus police station.
  • Clinical, medical, counseling, or psychiatric records.
  • Financial records of the parents of the student or any information contained therein.
  • Private records kept by individual faculty or administrators possibly used as memory aids.

18.3 List of Records Maintained

Type of Record Location Individual Responsible
Academic Records

Enrollment Services Office

Enrollment Services

Related Correspondence Student's Academic Dean's Office Student's Academic Dean
Discipline Records Office of Student Life Director
Health Records Student Health Services Director
Counseling Records Counseling Center Director
Career Records Career Services Director
Financial Aid Records

Enrollment Services Office

Director
International Student Records International Student Services Coordinator
Talent Development Student Records SPTD Office Director
Tuition, Fees and Debts to the University Records Enrollment Services Office Enrollment Services
Athletic Records Athletic Department Director
Meal Plan Information Dining Services Office Director
Residence Hall Records Office of Residential Life Director

Request to Restrict Information

Students availing themselves of this right should understand what the consequences of the action may be. For example, if a request is made to withhold from disclosure a student's name and degrees and honors received, the campus cannot make public any honors received by the student and cannot include the student's name and degree earned in the campus commencement program without the written consent of the student. Similarly, if a request is made to withhold from disclosure a student's name and dates of attendance, a student's status as a student can not be verified for potential employers without the written consent of the student. Furthermore, if a student's last instruction to the campus was to withhold from disclosure the degree granted to that student and the date on which the degree was conferred, that information cannot be confirmed for a third party in connection with the appointment of that graduate to a new position or published in connection with an honor that individual subsequently receives.







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