What are Educational Records?
Under FERPA, educational records are defined as records that are directly related to a student and are maintained by an institution or by a party acting for the institution. Educational records can exist in any medium, including: typed, computer generated, videotape, microfilm, and email, among others.
- The law applies to all students in higher education, regardless of age, once they begin attending classes. The law continues to apply to students even after they have graduated, but ceases to apply upon the death of the student.
- The university will not release information, other than directory information, from a student's educational record without the student's prior written consent, except to authorized persons and organizations. Even parents are not permitted access to their child’s educational records unless the student has provided written authorization permitting access.
- Authorized persons and organizations are those who have a legitimate educational interest.
- A legitimate educational interest means that the person or organization is required to perform certain duties and these duties involve the use of student data.
- Authorized persons include employees of Missouri Southern State University, the US Department of Education and other education authorities carrying out official duties, as well as financial aid lenders. Also included are organizations which MSSU has contracted as agents of the university. An example is the National Student Clearinghouse.
- There are exceptions to the rule of non-disclosure, which involve health and safety. This means that to prevent sickness, injury or death, the University may disclose information usually held to be protected. Also, an agent of the court with a properly issued court order or subpoena may receive student data, though we will first attempt to notify the student before complying with the subpoena.
If you would like to authorize someone else, such as a spouse or a parent, to access your educational records, you can file an Authorization to Release Non-Directory Information. The authorized person(s) will be required to follow the same procedures as the student in order to obtain educational records. This generally includes a signed request and appropriate identification.
What is Directory Information?
Directory Information at MSSU and will be made available to the general public unless the student completes a Privacy Request form in the Office of the Registrar. In the case of a Privacy Request, the University will not release any information, even Directory Information. This restriction does not apply when providing information to those who have a legitimate educational interest.
Please consider very carefully the consequences of any decision by you to withhold Directory Information. Should you decide to inform the institution not to release the Directory Information, any future requests for such information from non-institutional persons or organizations will be refused. The institution will honor your request to withhold Directory Information but cannot assume responsibility to contact you for subsequent permission to release the information. Regardless of the effect upon you, the institution assumes no liability for honoring your instructions that such information be withheld.
The following is considered Directory Information:
- Student's name
- telephone listing
- institutional e-mail address
- major field of study
- dates of attendance
- enrollment status
(full-time or part-time)
- honors and awards received
- participation in officially recognized activities and sports
(includes height and weight of team members)
- most recent previous educational agency or institution attended
- place of birth
- grade level (freshman, sophomore, etc.)
- next of kin or spouse (emergency only).
What rights do students have under FERPA?
- The right to inspect and review their educational records within 45 days of a request for access. Students should submit to the Registrar a written request that identifies the record(s) they wish to inspect. The Registrar will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. The institution may refuse to provide a copy of a student's education record provided such refusal does not limit access.
- The right to request the amendment of education records that the student believes are inaccurate. The student should write the University Registrar, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed and specify why it is inaccurate. If the University decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the University will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his or her 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 file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Missouri Southern State University to comply with the requirements of FERPA.
Limitations exist on students' rights to inspect and review their education records. For example, the institution is not required to permit students to inspect and review the following:
- Records which do not contain educational information or do not fall into the category of educational records because of how they are maintained.
- Financial records of parents.
- Confidential records placed in education records prior to 1975 if they are used as intended.
- Confidential recommendations or receipts of honors if the student has waived the right of access to such information.
- Documents containing information on more than one student.