Family and Educational Rights and Privacy Act
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act [FERPA] is a federal law designed to protect the privacy of a student’s education records. The rights of the FERPA heretofore assigned to parents are now transferred to their college students. These rights are:
- Eligible students have the right to inspect and review all their education records maintained by the school. The student must contact the University Registrar and Registrar office to make an appointment to view their academic record.
- Eligible students have the right to request that a school correct records believed to be inaccurate or misleading. If the school refuses to change the records, the eligible student then has the right to a formal hearing. After the hearing, if the school still refuses the correction, the eligible student has the right to place a statement in the records commenting on the contested information in the records.
- Generally, Samford University must have written permission from the eligible student before releasing any information from a student’s record. However, the law allows schools to disclose records, without consent, to the following parties:
- School employees who have a need to know
- Other schools to which a student is transferring
- Parents when a student over 18 is still dependent
- Certain government officials in order to carry out lawful functions
- Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student
- Organizations doing certain studies for the school
- Accrediting organizations
- Individuals who have obtained court orders or subpoenas
- Persons who need to know in cases of health and safety emergencies
- State and local authorities to whom disclosure is required by state laws adopted before November 19, 1974
Schools may also disclose, without consent, “directory type” information, such as a student’s name, address and telephone number. Samford University has designated the following as directory information: student name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, date and place of birth, enrollment status, major field of study, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, honors, degrees and awards received, most recent previous school attended, and photograph. An eligible student who does not wish for this information to be released without prior written consent must notify in writing the Office of the University Registrar and Registrar by the last day to drop/add without financial penalty in a semester or term.