Student Rights Under FERPA
FERPA (Family Education Right to Privacy Act of 1974) is a Federal law that applies to educational agencies and institutions that receive funding under a program administered by the U. S. Department of Education. The statute is found at 20 U.S.C. § 1232g and the Department's regulations are found at 34 CFR Part 99.
Under FERPA, schools must generally afford students who are 18 years or over, or attending a post secondary institution:
- access to their education records
- an opportunity to seek to have the records amended
- some control over the disclosure of information from the records.
Access to Education Records
Montana Tech is required by FERPA to:
- provide a student with an opportunity to inspect and review his or her education records within 45 days of the receipt of a request
- provide a student with copies of education records or otherwise make the records available to the student if the student, for instance, lives outside of commuting distance of the school
- redact the names and other personally identifiable information about other students that may be included in the student's education records.
Amendment of Education Records
Under FERPA, Montana Tech must:
- Consider a request from a student to amend inaccurate or misleading information in the student's education records;
- Offer the student a hearing on the matter if it decides not to amend the records in accordance with the request;
- Offer the student a right to place a statement to be kept and disclosed with the record if as a result of the hearing the school still decides not to amend the record.
Montana Tech is not required to consider requests for amendment under FERPA that:
- Seek to change a grade or disciplinary decision;
- Seek to change the opinions or reflections of a school official or other person reflected in an education record.
Disclosure of Education Records
Montana Tech must:
- Have a student's consent prior to the disclosure of education records;
- Ensure that the consent is signed and dated and states the purpose of the disclosure.
Montana Tech MAY disclose education records without consent when:
- The disclosure is to school officials who have been determined to have legitimate educational interests as set forth in the institution's annual notification of rights to students;
- The student is seeking or intending to enroll in another school;
- The disclosure is to state or local educational authorities auditing or enforcing Federal or State supported education programs or enforcing Federal laws which relate to those programs;
- The disclosure is in connection with determining eligibility, amounts, and terms for financial aid or enforcing the terms and conditions of financial aid;
- The disclosure is pursuant to a lawfully issued court order or subpoena; or
- The information disclosed has been appropriately designated as directory information by Montana Tech. Students who wish to restrict the release of their directory information may do so by completing the Request to Restrict Release of Directory Information form and submitting it to the Enrollment Processing Office. Information that is considered directory information by Montana Tech is:
- Student name
- Address (including campus e-mail address)
- Telephone number
- Major field of study
- Class Standing
- Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
- Weight and height of members of athletic teams
- Dates of attendance
- Degrees and awards received
- Most recent previous school attended
- Class rosters for electronically mediated (Blackboard) classes will NOT be released, except to students enrolled in that specific class. Students may request that their name be blocked from the electronic class roster in the “personal information” settings in Blackboard.
Montana Tech MAY NOT disclose education records to a student's parents unless the student completes an Authorization for Disclosure of Confidential Information form and submits is to the Enrollment Processing Office.
Montana Tech must annually notify students in attendance that they may:
- Inspect and review their education records;
- Seek amendment of inaccurate or misleading information in their education records;
- Consent to most disclosures of personally identifiable information from education records.
The annual notice must also include:
- Information for a student to file a complaint of an alleged violation with the FPCO;
- A description of who is considered to be a school official and what is considered to be a legitimate educational interest so that information may be shared with that individual; and
- Information about who to contact to seek access or amendment of education records.
Complaints of Alleged Violations:
Complaints of alleged violations may be addressed to:
Family Policy Compliance Office
US Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-5920
Phone: (202) 260-3887
- Be timely submitted, not later than 180 days from the date you learned of the circumstances of the alleged violation
- Contain specific allegations of fact giving reasonable cause to believe that a violation has occurred, including:
- Relevant dates, such as the date of a request or a disclosure and the date the student learned of the alleged violation;
- Names and titles of those school officials and other third parties involved;
- A specific description of the education record around which the alleged violation occurred;
- A description of any contact with school officials regarding the matter, including dates and estimated times of telephone calls and/or copies of any correspondence exchanged between the student and the school regarding the matter;
- The name and address of the school, school district, and superintendent of the district;
- Any additional evidence that would be helpful in the consideration of the complaint.