FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act)
- What does this mean? (explanation of "My Privacy")
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) afford eligible students certain rights with respect to their education records. (An “eligible student” under FERPA is a student who is 18 years of age or older or who attends a postsecondary institution.) These rights include:
- The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days after the day the University of Massachusetts Lowell receives a request for access. A student should submit to the registrar, dean, head of the academic department, or other appropriate official, a written request that identifies the record(s) the student wishes to inspect. The University 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 University 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 is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA. A student who wishes to ask the school to amend a record should write the University Official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record the student wants changed, and specify why it should be changed. 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.
- The right to provide written consent before the university discloses personally identifiable information (PII) from the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
The University of Massachusetts Lowell discloses education records without a student’s prior written consent under the FERPA exception for disclosure to University Officials with legitimate educational interests.
- A “University Official” is any individual employed by the University of Massachusetts’ (“System Office’) or one of its campuses, (the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, including the Mount Ida Campus of UMass Amherst; the University of Massachusetts, Boston; the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, (including its school of law, University of Massachusetts School of Law, Dartmouth); the University of Massachusetts, Lowell; the University of Massachusetts Worcester, a/k/a the University of Massachusetts Medical School,) (individually a “Campus”) who has a legitimate educational interest in the student information. These individuals include; but, are not limited to instructors; faculty; advisers; admissions counselors; academic advisers; employment placement personnel; deans; department chairpersons; individuals serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee; individuals assisting a University Official; directors; law enforcement personnel; health staff; counselors; attorneys; Advancement Office employees; the president; members of the University of Massachusetts' Board of Trustees; auditors; collection agents.
A University Official may also be an outside contractor or other agent of the University of Massachusetts’ Campus or the System Office, where the Campus or the System Office or both are outsourcing institutional services or functions, and:
- (a) The outside contractors or other agents are under the direct control of the Campus or the System Office or both with respect to the use and maintenance of the education records; and
- (b) The outside contractor or other agent may not disclose the information to any other party without the student’s consent, and may not use the information for any purpose other than the purpose for which the disclosure was made. In addition, further disclosures may only be made upon the prior written authorization of the respective Campus or System Office.
- The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the University of Massachusetts Lowell 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
In addition, there are a number of disclosures that postsecondary institutions may make without consent.
FERPA permits the disclosure of Personally Identifiable Information from students’ education records, without consent of the student, if the disclosure meets certain conditions found in §99.31 of the FERPA regulations. Except for disclosures to University Officials, disclosures related to some judicial orders or lawfully issued subpoenas, disclosures of directory information, and disclosures to the student, §99.32 of FERPA regulations requires the institution to record the disclosure. Eligible students have a right to inspect and review the record of disclosures. A postsecondary institution may disclose PII from the education records without obtaining prior written consent of the student –
- To other University Officials, including teachers, within the University of Massachusetts Lowell whom the school has determined to have legitimate educational interests. This includes contractors, consultants, volunteers, or other parties to whom the school has outsourced institutional services or functions, provided that the conditions listed in §99.31(a)(1)(i)(B)(1) - (a)(1)(i)(B)(2) are met. (§99.31(a)(1))
- To officials of another school where the student seeks or intends to enroll, or where the student is already enrolled if the disclosure is for purposes related to the student’s enrollment or transfer, subject to the requirements of §99.34. (§99.31(a)(2))
- To authorized representatives of the U. S. Comptroller General, the U. S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or State and local educational authorities, such as a State postsecondary authority that is responsible for supervising the university’s State-supported education programs. Disclosures under this provision may be made, subject to the requirements of §99.35, in connection with an audit or evaluation of Federal- or State-supported education programs, or for the enforcement of or compliance with Federal legal requirements that relate to those programs. These entities may make further disclosures of PII to outside entities that are designated by them as their authorized representatives to conduct any audit, evaluation, or enforcement or compliance activity on their behalf. (§§99.31(a)(3) and 99.35)
- In connection with financial aid for which the student has applied or which the student has received, if the information is necessary to determine eligibility for the aid, determine the amount of the aid, determine the conditions of the aid, or enforce the terms and conditions of the aid. (§99.31(a (4))
- To organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, the school, in order to: (a) develop, validate, or administer predictive tests; (b) administer student aid programs; or (c) improve instruction. (§99.31(a)(6))
- To accrediting organizations to carry out their accrediting functions. ((§99.31(a)(7))
- To parents of an eligible student if the student is a dependent for IRS tax purposes. (§99.31(a)(8))
- To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena. (§99.31(a)(9))
- To appropriate officials in connection with a health or safety emergency, subject to §99.36. (§99.31(a)(10))
- Information the school has designated as “directory information” under §99.37. (§99.31(a)(11))
- To a victim of an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense, subject to the requirements of §99.39. The disclosure may only include the final results of the disciplinary proceeding with respect to that alleged crime or offense, regardless of the finding. (§99.31(a)(13))
- To the general public, the final results of a disciplinary proceeding, subject to the requirements of §99.39, if the school determines the student is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense and the student has committed a violation of the school’s rules or policies with respect to the allegation made against him or her. (§99.31(a)(14))
- To parents of a student regarding the student’s violation of any Federal, State, or local law, or of any rule or policy of the school, governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance if the school determines the student committed a disciplinary violation and the student is under the age of 21. (§99.31(a)(15))
- The Solomon Amendment which requires institutions to release certain directory information to military recruiters. (If a confidentiality request was made by the student, then information will not be released.)