Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

Main Content

  1. Purpose

    Southern Illinois University Carbondale (“the University”) maintains records and information about its students for the purpose of providing educational, vocational, and personal services to the student. The University is committed to complying with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (20 U.S.C. 1232g) and the regulations promulgated thereunder (“FERPA”). For the purpose of complying with FERPA, the following Policy has been enacted.

  2. Definitions
    1. Student” means any individual who is or has been enrolled at Southern Illinois University Carbondale in a course of study either on campus or off campus.  The term “enrolled” is defined as having registered and paid fees into a course of study.
    2. Student Education Records” or “Education Records” means those records, files, documents, and other materials which contain information directly related to the student and are maintained by the University or by any party acting for the University.  The term does not include:
      1. personal records of instructional, supervisory, and administrative personnel which are kept in the sole possession of the maker, are used only as personal memory aids, and are not accessible or revealed to any other person except a temporary substitute for the maker of the record; or
      2. employment records relating to an individual who is employed by the University provided that the individual’s employment is not as a result of his/her student status and the records are made and maintained in the normal course of business, related exclusively to the individual in his/her capacity as an employee, and not available for use for any other purpose.
      3. records made or maintained by  a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional acting in his or her professional capacity or assisting in a paraprofessional capacity provided; however, that such records can be personally reviewed by a physician or other appropriate professional of the student’s choice and provided that the record is:
        1. made, maintained, or used only in connection with treatment of the student; and
        2. Disclosed only to individuals providing the treatment. For purposes of this definition, “treatment” does not include remedial educational activities or activities that are part of the program of instruction at the University.
      4. Records that only contain information relating to an individual after that individual is no longer a student at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
      5. Records of the Department of Public Safety are not educational records and thus not subject to the provisions of this Policy provided the records are:
        1. Created by the law enforcement unit for a law enforcement purpose;
        2. Maintained by the Department of Public Safety; and
        3. Not disclosed to individuals other than law enforcement officials of the same jurisdiction.
    3. “Student Information” means any information contained in an educational record as defined in II.B.
    4. “Legitimate Educational Interest” means the need to review an education record in order for a University official to carry out his/her responsibilities in regard to performing an administrative task outlined in the official’s duties, or performing a supervisory or instructional task directly related to the student’s education.
    5. “Personally identifiable information” means any information that would make the student’s identity easily traceable and includes but is not limited to:
      1. The name of a student or family member of the student including but not limited to the names of the student’s parents or spouse;
      2. The address of the student;
      3. A personal identifier such as the student’s social security number, Dawg Tag number, or other student number; or
      4. A list of personal characteristics which would make the student’s identity easily traceable.
    6. “Directory information” means:
      1. Student name;
      2. Student local and permanent address and telephone number;
      3. Student e-mail address (SIU-issued only);
      4. Current and past term status (full-time, part-time);
      5. Classification (freshman, sophomore, undergraduate, graduate, etc.);
      6. Expected graduation date;
      7. Academic unit;
      8. Major;
      9. Dates of attendance;
      10. Degrees and honors earned and dates
      11. The most recent educational agency or institution attended prior to enrollment at Southern Illinois University Carbondale
      12. Participation in officially recognized activity or sport and the weight, height, pictures, and date of birth of athletic teams members;
      13. Picture; and
      14.  For students appointed as fellows, assistants, graduate or undergraduate hourly employees, the title, appointing department, appointment dates, duties, and percent time of the appointment.
  3. Policy on Disclosure of Student Educational Records
    1. General Policy: Except as otherwise provided in this Policy, all requests for student educational records, other than directory information, shall not be disclosed absent a written authorization by the student for the release of those records. The appropriate recordkeeping office shall obtain this written consent prior to disclosing personally identifiable information. Written authorizations must be:
      1. Signed and dated by the student giving the consent;
      2. Identify the specific record(s) to be disclosed;
      3. Identify the party or parties to whom the disclosure may be made; and
      4. State the purpose of the disclosure.

      When the disclosure of student educational records are made, the appropriate recordkeeping office shall, upon request, provide a copy of the records which are disclosed to the student. The University may disclose personally identifiable information from the education records of a student only on the condition that the party to whom the disclosure is made will not further disclose the information without the student’s written consent, except in the case of disclosure of directory information pursuant to paragraph III(c)(i), responses to subpoenas or court orders pursuant to paragraph III(c)(Xii), or disclosures related to disciplinary proceedings pursuant to paragraph III(c)(x).

      For purposes of this policy, the Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Department of Public Safety shall be treated as an outside agency and will therefore be required to comply with regulations relating to the disclosure of information from students’ educational records, as set forth in the policy.

    2. Disclosure to Parents (including legal guardians). Parents may not have access to student records except as follows:
      1. the student signs a consent form that meets the requirements of this Policy; or
      2. The parent sends a statement in writing certifying that the student is a dependent as defined Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954. The statement must be accompanied by a copy of the last income tax form filed by the parent(s). Once this statement and attachment is received, parents may have the same access to the student’s record as the student.
    3. Exceptions to Prior Consent Requirements. The University may disclose personally identifiable information from the education records of a student in the following circumstances without the prior consent of the student. Except for disclosures pursuant to (i), (x), (xii), or (xiii) below, disclosures of records under this subsection shall be on the condition that the party to whom the disclosure is made will not further disclose the information without the student’s written consent.
      1. Directory information in accordance with subsection d below.
      2. University personnel who have a legitimate educational interest as defined above;
      3. Officials of other schools or school systems in which the student seeks or intends to enroll, if there is a legitimate need as determined by the head of the unit from whom the records are sought;
      4. Faculty or students conducting student characteristic research providing the research project has written approval of the academic unit executive officer sponsoring the research and providing guarantees are made that no personally identifiable information will be published or released;
      5. Certain state and federal representatives specified by law for the sole purpose of the evaluation and auditing of governmentally funded programs in which the University participates, with the guarantee that the identity of the students will be protected;
      6. State and local officials as directed by the State Statute adopted prior to November 19, 1974, as approved by University General Counsel;
      7. Organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, state or federal educational agencies or institutions for the purpose of developing, validating, or administering predictive tests, administering student aid programs, and improving instruction, with the guarantee that the identity of the student shall be protected;
      8. in connection with financial aid for which the student has applied or received if the information is necessary to determine eligibility for the aid, determine the amount of aid, determine the conditions for aid, or enforce the terms and conditions of the aid;
      9. Accrediting organizations to carry out their accrediting function, with the guarantee that the identity of the student shall be protected;
      10. The final results of a disciplinary proceeding, if the University 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/her. Victims of an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense may be provided with the final results of the disciplinary proceeding, regardless of the finding;
      11. Appropriate individuals in connection with an emergency, if knowledge of such information is necessary to protect the health or safety of a student or other persons;
      12. In compliance with a judicial order or subpoena provided that the University shall make a reasonable effort to notify the student in advance of compliance unless such notification requirement is otherwise exempted by law. All such orders or subpoenas shall be sent to the Office of General Counsel upon receipt for handling; and
      13. Parents of a student who is under 21 years of age at the time of disclosure when the University has determined that the student has committed a violation of any federal, state, or local law or any rule or policy of the University related to the use or possession of alcohol or controlled substance.
    4. Disclosure of Directory Information. Directory information pertaining to students may be released by the University without the prior consent of the student unless the student has provided a written notification to Admission and Records that he/she does not wish for his/her directory information to be released without his/her prior consent. Upon receipt of this request, Office of the Registrar shall identify all information which the student desires not to be released outside the University and shall inform all University recipients of that information that the information is not to be released. The notification shall remain in effect until the student requests that the information no longer be restricted. All recipients of student information will be bound by this Policy. 
    5. Record of Disclosures. Records custodians shall maintain a written record of each request for access to and disclosure of records containing personally identifiable information of a student with the records that were accessed. The record must identify the parties who requested and received a student’s record(s) and their basis for such request. This record shall be maintained in the file for as long as the educational record is maintained. Records of disclosure are not required to be kept in the record of a student when the disclosure is initiated by the student, is to University officials with a legitimate educational interest, or is to a party seeking directory information.
  4. Identification and Description of Student Information
    1. Academic records. The Office of the Registrar retains the official academic record of a student.  It is a cumulative history of a student’s academic participation and performance.  Certain biographic and demographic information is also kept for identification for enrollment and research-related purposes.  For information concerning these records contact the University Registrar  Academic records may also be maintained in academic units, departments, and divisions.  For information concerning these records contact the head of the academic unit, department, or division in question.  Institutional Research also maintains some academic records. Admissions records are maintained by Undergraduate Admissions for undergraduate students and the Graduate School for graduate students.
    2. Financial records. Offices within the business area maintain certain financial records which relate to the payment and accounting of tuition, fees, and other charges.  They also maintain records which record student loans and grants.  For information concerning these records, contact the Bursar’s office.  For billing purposes, the Office of the Registrar maintains a record of financial aid received and tuition and fees paid.  For information concerning these records, contact the the University Registrar.  Financial Aid maintains records of students receiving loans, grants, and aid along with scholarship information and some academic information.  It also maintains records pertinent to student employment including the family financial statement.  For information concerning these records, contact the director of Financial Aid.  Housing maintains records of housing accounts.  For information concerning these records, contact the director of Housing.
    3. Medical/Counseling/Clinical Center Records. The Health Service Clinic maintains medical records of students who have required medical assistance through the student health program.  Only information pertinent to the health of the individual is contained therein.  For information concerning these records, contact either the director of Student Health Programs or the medical chief of staff of the Health Service Clinic.  The Counseling Center maintains records pertinent to services rendered by that office.  For information concerning these records, contact the coordinator of the Counseling Center.  The Clinical Center maintains records pertinent to services rendered by that office.  For information concerning these records, contact the director of the Clinical Center.
    4. Disciplinary records. Student Rights and Responsibilities maintains records of disciplinary action which has been taken against a student with documentation pertaining thereto.  That office also maintains only the academic information necessary to permit its functioning.  For information concerning these records, contact the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities.
    5. Placement records. University Career Services creates a record for those persons who wish to avail themselves of its services, with student’s voluntary participation.  This information is distributed to potential employers.  It consists of self-completed resumes and various personal references.  For information concerning these records, contact the director of University Career Services.
  5. Student Rights related to Review and Inspect Educational Records
    1. Right to inspect or review educational records. A student has the right to review his/her educational records (except those records identified below) in the presence of a designated University representative. Students who wish to review an educational record shall submit his/her written request for review to the appropriate office. That office shall comply with the request within a reasonable time, but in any case, compliance shall be no more than 45 days after the receipt of the request. If a student needs an explanation or interpretation of a record, he/she shall make that request for an explanation or interpretation to the University representative participating in the review. Upon receipt of a reasonable request(s) for an explanation or interpretation of a record, a qualified University representative shall provide such explanation or interpretation. This request shall be fulfilled within a reasonable time after the request is made. A student may not remove original records from the University’s premises.  The University shall provide a copy to the student only if not providing a copy would preclude review of the educational records by the student. Reasonable copying charges shall be assessed to the student. Copies of transcripts from other educational institutions will be provided only if the original source of those transcripts is no longer available or going to the original source would cause undue hardship as determined by this University.
    2. Records exempted from student inspection or review. A student may not inspect or review the following records:
      1. Financial records and statements of the student’s parents;
      2. Confidential letters or materials placed in records before January 1, 1975 so long as they were solicited with an understanding of confidentiality and are used only for the purpose for which they were written;
      3. Confidential letters of recommendation and confidential statements of recommendation placed in the education records of the student after January 1, 1975, are subject to the student’s right to inspect and review unless the student has signed a written waiver;
      4. Any portion of a reports that involves two or more students unless that may be censored to protect the identity of the other students(s);
    3. Waiver of Right to Review or Inspect Educational Records. A student may waive his/her right to inspect and review education records.  Any waiver must be in writing and signed by the student.  The University (or each appropriate recordkeeping office) may not require a waiver of rights but it may request such a waiver. If a student has waived his/her right to see confidential letters of recommendation placed in his/her record after January 1, 1975, the waiver will be effective only if (i) the applicant or student is, upon request, notified of the names of all individuals providing the letters or statements; (ii) the letters or statements are used only for the purpose for which they were originally intended, and (iii) the waiver is not required by the University as a condition of admission to or receipt of any other service or benefit from the University. A waiver may be revoked but the revocation must be in writing and signed by the student.  Revocation of waiver will affect only documents received after its execution.
    4. Effects of an Administrative Hold. When the University has placed an administrative hold on a student’s ability to request a transcript, to register for a subsequent term, to reenter the University after a period of attendance interruption, or to be officially graduated, the student may view such records but will not be able to obtain a copy of the record(s) until the administrative hold is removed through the appropriate University channels
  6. Student Rights to Request Amendment of Educational Records. A student has the right to request an amendment to the contents of an educational record on the ground that he/she believes it is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of his/her privacy or other rights and to have inserted in the record his/her written explanation of its contents.  Academic grade review procedures are covered in the University catalog and/or the particular academic unit, department, or division.
    1. Request for Review. A student who believes that an educational record is inaccurate or misleading may submit a written request for review and modification of the record to the University official responsible for the record. The written request shall clearly identify the part of the record the student wants changed and each and every basis for the allegation or belief that the record is misleading or inaccurate. Within 30 days following receipt of such request, the University official, or his/her representative, shall provide a written decision on the request to the student
    2. Hearing. If the student disagrees with the decision of the University official, he/she may submit a written request for a hearing on the matter to the Chancellor. The written request shall include the original written request, the decision of the hearing officer on that request, and an explanation/justification for the request for a hearing. No hearing shall be held if a hearing or the opportunity for a hearing is available through some other University process. The existing hearing processes (capricious grading, student disciplines) already provide for an opportunity to add, correct, or otherwise modify that record. The Chancellor or his/her designee shall appoint a hearing officer who does not have a direct interest in the outcome of the hearing. The hearing officer shall provide written notice of the hearing date and location to the student, sent to his/her last known address, not less than 10 days in advance of the hearing. The student and University official responsible for the record shall have the right to attend the hearing, to be advised by an individual of his/her choice at his/her own expense, including an attorney, and to call witnesses in his/her behalf. Hearings shall not be open to the public. The hearing officer shall issue a decision on the matter within ten (10) days following the hearing. A copy of the decision shall be provided to the student and the University official responsible for maintaining the record. The decision reached shall be based solely upon the evidence presented at the hearing and shall include a summary of the evidence and reasons for the decision. The hearing officer’s decision is final.
  7. Destruction of Records. The University may destroy education records when they are no longer necessary provided that educational records may not be destroyed if there is an outstanding request to inspect or review them. Explanations of educational records placed in the record by the student and records of disclosure shall be maintained as long as the educational record to which they pertain is maintained.
  8. Annual Notification to Students. The Dean of Students or his/her designee shall provide a notification of rights and any other notifications required by law to students currently in attendance at the University of their rights under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (20 U.S.C. 1232g). All such notices shall be provided in a means that is reasonably likely to inform the students of their rights.
  9. External Complaints. If a student believes that his/her rights have been violated, he/she should first file a complaint with the head of the office which maintains the records in question. After exhausting all remedies available within the University, the student may file a written complaint within one hundred eighty (180) days of the alleged violation to:

Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue
Washington, D.C.  20202-4605