The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 establishes specific rights for students and/or their parents and prevents the release of certain information without the written consent of the student.
Generally, this federal law gives students, former students, and alumni the right to review in the presence of Central Penn personnel their own records maintained by Central Penn, including academic and financial records.
Parents of dependent students, as defined by the Internal Revenue Service, may have access to the Central Penn records of their dependent sons or daughters without student consent. Parents do not have the right to see records of students who are no longer dependent upon them.
The student has the right to inspect, in the presence of a staff member, official college
records, files, and data primarily and directly related to himself/herself. This right includes
an explanation of any information contained in these sources. The student is entitled
to such rights within 45 days of the time that he/she requests in writing the Office of Records and Registration to initiate such an inspection.
Education records of the student will not be released to the student, his parents, or any
third party as long as a financial indebtedness or serious academic and/or disciplinary
matter involving the student remains unresolved. This limitation does not preclude
the student from having personal access to the records – merely from obtaining
the release of the information. The student may not have access to the confidential financial statement of parents or any information contained in such statements. The student is entitled to request copies of his/her records, files, and data at a reasonable administrative cost.
Note: In no case will letters of recommendation and other information obtained or prepared before January 1, 1975, which were written on the assumption or expressed promise of confidentiality to the authors, be available for inspection, disclosure, or challenge.
The student is entitled to challenge and/or add to the factual basis of any record entry contained in records, files, and/or data. The purpose of this challenge is to ensure that such entries are not inaccurate or misleading or in violation of his/her privacy or other rights as a student, and to provide an opportunity for the correction or deletion of any such inaccuracies, misleading or otherwise inappropriate data contained therein. The substantive judgment of a staff member about a student’s work, expressed in grades and/or evaluations, is not within the purview of this right to challenge.
The Office of Records and Registration will provide the student with an opportunity to place in the records a statement commenting upon the challenged information in the education records, which will be kept so long as the contents are contested.
If a records entry question has not been satisfactorily resolved by this informal procedure, the student is entitled to a hearing on the matter. The student shall submit a written request for a hearing to the Office of Records and Registration. The hearing must be held within a reasonable time after the request and the student notified as to the time, date, and place of the hearing in a reasonably advanced time of the hearing as to make his/her presence practical.
A hearing officer/panel will be designated by the President (or designee), and the
student will be afforded a full and fair opportunity to present evidence relevant to the
issues of the record entry validity. The student may be assisted or represented by an
advisor of his/her choice, including, at his/her own expense, an attorney. The student
will be furnished, within a reasonable time following the hearing, a written decision from the designated hearing officer. In addition, the student is entitled to receive a written summary of the evidence and the reasons for the decision.
Explanatory Statement: The contents of the student’s challenge will remain a part of the student’s record regardless of the outcome of any challenge.
No personally identifiable information from education records shall be disclosed by any means to individuals or agencies outside the school without the consent of the student in writing, except pursuant to lawful subpoena or court order, or except in the case of specifically-designated educational and government officials as required by law.
Information contained in such records may be shared within the school. Records originating at another institution will be subject to these policies. FERPA permits the College to disclose personally identifiable information from education records to school officials with legitimate educational interest. A “school official” is a person employed by the College in a faculty, administrative or staff position, or a contractor or other party to whom the College has outsourced institutional services. 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.
The following is a list of public information, which may be made available regarding students of the College without their prior consent and is considered part of the public record of their attendance:
- City of Residence
- Student Activities, including Athletics
- Dates of Enrollment
- Date of Graduation
- Degree and Awards Received
- Most Recent Educational Institution Attended Prior to Admission • Photos
The student is entitled to request that this information not be made publicly available; such a request must be made in writing to the Office of Records and Registration. This request shall be effective only with respect to directory information not prepared for release at the time the request is received by the Office of Records and Registration. Such a request remains effective until revoked by the student.
Failure to Comply
If the College fails to comply with the Act, the student may file a written complaint by mailing it directly to: The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Office, Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, 330 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20201.