The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records.

Definitions

For purposes of this notification, The Fletcher School, Tufts University uses the following definitions of terms.

Student - any person who attends or has attended The Fletcher School, Tufts University.  Persons admitted but never matriculated are not considered students.

 

Education records - any record (in handwriting, print, tapes, film, electronic, or other medium) maintained by the university or an agent of the university that is directly related to a student, except:

  1. A personal record kept by a staff member if it is kept in the sole possession of the maker of the record and is not accessible or revealed to any other person except a temporary substitute for the maker of the record.
  2. An employment record of an individual whose employment is not contingent on the fact that he or she is a student provided the record is used only in relation to the individual’s employment.
  3. Records that are created and maintained by Public Safety for law enforcement purposes.
  4. Records made or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional acting in his or her professional or paraprofessional capacity and which are used only in connection with the treatment of a student and which are disclosed only to individuals providing that treatment.
  5. Alumni records that contain information about a student after he or she is no longer in attendance at the university and which do not relate to the person as a student.

School official - a person employed by the University 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 Trustees; 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.

Legitimate educational interest indicates the need of a school official to review an educa­tion record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility.

The following are the student’s rights provided under FERPA:

(1)   The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days of the day the University receives a request for access.

Students should submit a written request that specifically identifies the education record(s) they wish to inspect to the custodian of the record as indicated in the chart below.  An official within the department that receives the request will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the University official to whom the request was submitted does not maintain the records, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed. A student may read any recommendation in his/her files unless the right to do so has been waived in writing.

The following is a list of the types of education records that the university maintains; the location(s) of such records; and their custodians (or the custodian’s designee).  

Types

Location

Custodian

Academic Records/Advising Records (progress, advising, evaluations)

 

The university official/employee who maintains such record

 

Fletcher Registrar’s office – Goddard 212

Fletcher Registrar’s office

Admissions File

Fletcher Registrar’s Office  --  Goddard 212

Fletcher Registrar’s Office upon matriculation.

Enrollment Records

Fletcher Registrar’s Office – Goddard 212

Fletcher Registrar’s Office

Career Services Records

Mugar Hall

Fletcher OCS

Counseling & Testing Records*

120 Curtis Street

Counseling Center

Cumulative Academic Records (grades, transcripts)

Fletcher Registrar’s Office – Goddard 212

Fletcher Registrar’s Office

Disabled Student Services

Fletcher Registrar’s Office – Goddard 212

Fletcher Registrar’s Office

Disciplinary Records

Fletcher Registrar’s Office – Goddard 212

Fletcher Registrar’s Office

Financial Records

Fletcher Registrar’s Office – Goddard 212 and Dowling Hall

Tufts Financial Aid Office and Fletcher Registrar’s Office

Financial Aid Records

Fletcher Registrar’s Office – Goddard 212 and Dowling Hall

Tufts Financial Aid Office and Fletcher Registrar’s Office

Health Records*

Hooper House – 124 Professors Row

Tufts Health Services Office

International Student Records

Fletcher Registrar’s Office – Goddard 212

Fletcher International Office

Miscellaneous Records (student education records not included in the above list)

Contact the Fletcher Registrar for information.

 

* Health and counseling records are maintained by the University Health Service and the Counseling Center and are available only to health professionals.  A professional designated by the student in writing may see that student’s records.

(2)   The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes is inaccurate, misleading or otherwise in violation of his or her privacy rights.

A student may ask the University to amend a record that the student believes is inaccurate or misleading.  The student should write to the Fletcher Registrar or University official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why the student believes the record is inaccurate or misleading.

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.

If as a result of the hearing the University decides that the information in the education record is not inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights, the student shall have the right to place in the education records a statement commenting on the contested information in the record or the reason(s) the student disagrees with the decision of the University.

(3)   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.

Personally identifiable information from the education records of a student will be disclosed by the university upon the prior written consent or request of the student.  The written consent or request must (a) specify the records that may be disclosed; (b) state the purpose of the disclosure; and (c) identify the party or class of parties to whom the disclosure may be made.  Students will need to provide a signed and dated letter (or form used by an employer, potential employer or government agency) that describes what records are to be disclosed, the purpose of the disclosure, and the person(s) to whom this disclosure may be made. 

However, the university may disclose information without the prior written consent of the student in the following circumstances:

1.        To school officials with a legitimate educational interest in the records.

2.        To officials of another school, at the request of those officials, in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.

3.        To certain officials of the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Comptroller General, and state and local educational authorities, in connection with certain state or federally supported education programs.

4.        In connection with a student's request for or receipt of financial aid, as necessary to determine the eligibility, amount or conditions of the financial aid, or to enforce the terms and conditions of the aid.

5.        To organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the university.

6.        To accrediting organizations to carry out their functions.

7.        To either of two parents when at least one parent has claimed the student as a dependent for income tax purposes. A certified copy of the parents' most recent Federal Income Tax Form may be required to verify dependency.

8.        To comply with a valid court order or subpoena or to comply with federal law (e.g., the USA Patriot Act).

9.        To appropriate parties in a health or safety emergency.

10.     To a victim of an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or a nonforcible sex offense, the final results of a disciplinary proceeding conducted by the university with respect to that alleged crime or offense. The university may disclose the final results of the disciplinary proceeding, regardless of whether it concluded a violation was committed.

11.     Directory information so designated by the university.

12.     To parents of students under the age of 21 when laws or university policies regarding alcohol or drugs are violated.

13.     To a court or administrative agency in the event of legal action between the university and a student.

Directory Information

“Directory information” is personally identifiable information about students in attendance at the university that may be disclosed without the prior consent of the student, subject to the right of the student to inform the university in writing that all “directory information” with respect to him or her shall not be so disclosed, as discussed below.

The university has designated each of the following items as “directory information”:

  • the student’s name(s)
  • address(es)
  • telephone number(s)
  • Email address
  • photographs (for Fletcher Facebook, ID, and class list only)
  • date and place of birth
  • major field(s) of study and current enrollment status
  • dates of attendance
  • degrees
  • awards and academic honors received
  • previous educational institution(s) attended

Students may restrict the release of directory information, except to school officials with legitimate educational interests and to others as permitted by law.  In order to restrict the release of such records, a student must make a request, in writing, as specified below:

Each fall, all students are required to complete a directory form.  If they wish to have their directory information restricted, they simply need to check off the box on the form requesting a privacy lock on their directory information.  If at a later date they decide to change this option (either to restrict or not restrict), a simple signed and dated note to the Registrar’s Office will suffice to make a change. 

(4)   The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the University to comply with the requirements of FERPA. 

The name and address of the federal agency that administers FERPA is:

 

Family Policy Compliance Office

U.S. Department of Education

400 Maryland Avenue, SW

Washington, DC  20202-4605