Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law regarding the privacy of student records and the obligations of the institution, primarily in the areas of release of the records and the access to these records. Any educational institution that receives funds under any program administered by the U.S. Secretary of Education is bound by FERPA requirements. Institutions that fail to comply with FERPA may have funds administered by the Secretary of Education withheld.
Education records are directly related to a student and maintained by an institution or its agents for all enrolled students, including those in high school. Education records can exist in any medium, including typed documents, computer-generated files, videotape, audiotape, film, microfilm, microfiche, and email, among others.
Education records include, but are not limited to, such things as graded papers, exams, transcripts, notes from a conversation with or about a student that are placed in a student's file for others in the department to reference, emails or other correspondence that contain identifying information about a student, and student disciplinary records.
Education records do not include such things as:
- Sole possession records, i.e., records/notes kept in the sole possession of the maker, used only as personal memory aid and not revealed or accessible to any other person
- Peer-graded papers before the instructor has collected them
- Medical treatment records that include-but are not limited to-records maintained by physicians, psychiatrists, and psychologists employed by the university and used for treatment purposes
- Employment records unless employment is based on student status
- Law enforcement unit records
- Alumni records
Granting Access to my Student Education Records
Texas State students can grant access to their student education records through the Bobcat Family Portal. The Bobcat Family Portal provides an electronic FERPA authorization to simplify the process of requesting access to a student's education records including academic and financial information. Parents and Family members simply submit a request and the student will decide which records to share. The Bobcat Family Portal also provides a valuable connection to important Texas State news and events for Parents and Family members.
FERPA Annual Notification to Students
Per UPPS No. 01.04.31, the Office of the University Registrar provides the Annual Notification of Student Rights under FERPA to students to inform them of their right to:
- Inspect and review their own education records (with certain limited exceptions) within 45 days of the day Texas State receives the student's request for access;
- Request an amendment to their education records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading;
- Request a hearing if the response to the request for an amendment is unsatisfactory to the student;
- Consent to disclosure of personally identifiable information contained in the student's education records;
- Request that the institution not disclose their directory information; and
- File a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education;
What is FERPA?
The Federal law, Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), protects the privacy of the student education records and guarantees students’ access to their own records. These rights include:
- The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days of the day Texas State receives a request for access. Students should submit to the Registrar, Academic Dean, Department Chair, or other appropriate official, written requests that identify the records they wish to inspect. Texas State 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 who the request should be addressed.
- The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading. Students may ask the university to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate of misleading. They should write to the university official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the university decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the university will, within a reasonable time, 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 consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception, which permits disclosure without consent, is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the university or the Texas State University System in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff)’ a person or company with whom the university has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Regents, Texas State University System; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility. Upon request, the university discloses education records without consent to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
- The right to file a complaint with the U. S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Texas State to comply with the requirements of FERPA.
- The right to know the types of personally identifiable information that Texas State deems directory information that it may release without consent. Texas State has designated the following information as directory information: (1) name; (2) fields of study, including major and minor; (3) enrollment status (actual hours enrolled, undergraduate and graduate, etc.); (4) degrees, certificates, and awards received; (5) type of award received (academic, technical, continuing education, etc.); (6) dates of attendance; (7) student classification; (8) name of the most recent previous educational agency or institution attended; (9) telephone number; (10) Active, local and permanent addresses, excluding e‐mail address; (11) weight and height of athletes; (12) participation in officially recognized activities and sports; (13) names of prospective graduates; (14) names of parents; (15) photographs of students, and (16) any other records that could be treated as directory information under FERPA.
- The right to refuse to let Texas State designate the types of directory information. Any student may refuse to let Texas State designate any or all of the above types of information about the student as directory information. To do so, the student should file a written request in the Registrar’s Office during the first twelve (12) class days of a fall or spring term, or the first four (4) class days of a summer term. The student should specify in his or her request the types of information that should not be designated as directory information, or the student may direct that all of the above types of information not be designated as directory information. Texas State will apply the request to the student’s records until the student notifies the Registrar’s Office otherwise. Texas State may release the results of campus disciplinary proceedings concerning alleged perpetrators of violent crimes to the victims of those violent crimes.
If and when a student requests for our office to place a Privacy Hold on their record, our staff is not allowed to release any information without a written consent. If and when a student decides to remove a privacy hold, they must submit a request in writing. A completed, physically signed form can be returned to the Office of the University Registrar either in person, by email, faxed or mailed in along with a legible copy of the student’s driver’s license or state ID (required to verify signature).
Any additional questions or comments regarding FERPA may be directed to the Office of the University Registrar at firstname.lastname@example.org or (512) 245-2367.