REG 11.00.01 - Family Educational Rights and Privacy (FERPA)

Authority: Chancellor

History: First Issued: February 9, 1999. Last Revised: March 29, 2011. 

Additional Reference: 
34 C.F.R. Part 99
GPO Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) for the HIPAA Regulations 
UNC General Administration Memorandum #346
Office of General Counsel information on FERPA
Federal Law and Regulations

Contact Info: Vice Provost for Enrollment Management (919-515-2572) 


1. COMPLIANCE WITH FERPA RIGHTS

1.1  The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), a Federal law, and its corresponding regulations give students certain rights to privacy of their education records and rights of access to their education records.  Employees and agents of the University are expected to comply fully with this law.  This Regulation is administered in accordance with 34 C.F.R. Part 99.

1.2  For the purposes of this Regulation, “student” means an individual who is or has been in attendance at the university.  It does not include persons who have been admitted but did not attend the university or individuals enrolled solely in non-credit courses.  “Attendance” starts when the individual matriculates or declares their intention to enroll at the university, whichever comes first.

2. ANNUAL NOTICE OF FERPA RIGHTS

2.1  NC State University shall send a notice of FERPA rights to every enrolled student at the beginning of each fall semester.  The Provost, or his/her designee, is responsible for preparing and delivering the annual notice.

3. STUDENT RIGHT TO INSPECT AND COPY THEIR RECORDS

3.1  Students who want to inspect their education records should direct that request to the NC State officials who are responsible for maintaining the records.  The officials shall provide access to the records during regular business hours.  However, parts of their records may not be inspected by students (e.g., students may not review financial records of their parents, certain letters of recommendation, or certain medical records).

3.2  Generally, students may obtain copies of their education records if circumstances make on-site inspection impractical and the student is in good standing.  For example, a request for copies may be denied if the student lives within commuting distance of NC State, or there is a "hold" on the student’s records, or there is an unresolved disciplinary action against the student, or the requested records include exam or test questions.

3.3  When copies are provided, the student may be charged a reasonable fee for the actual copying expense.

4. DIRECTORY INFORMATION

4.1  The University may disclose "directory information" without student consent.  Directory information consists of a student's name, preferred email address, campus and home mailing address(es) on file with the Registrar, enrollment status (e.g., full-time or part-time), grade level (freshman, sophomore, etc), preferred telephone number, major field of study, dates of attendance, and honors, degrees and awards received.

5. PRIVACY OF RECORDS

5.1  NC State shall not disclose the education records of a student to other persons unless that student has given consent in writing or an exception exists under FERPA:

5.1.1  “School officials” including employees or agents of the university, advisors, faculty, university committee members, other educational institutions seeking information for the purpose of admission or enrollment, and persons or companies with whom the university has contracted may inspect a student’s records regardless of consent, but only the specific student information needed provided they have a legitimate educational interest in the records.  “Legitimate educational interest” means an activity that a school official, agent or contractor is undertaking in the name of the university for which access to educational records is necessary or appropriate to fulfill that individual’s responsibilities for the university.  Contractors are bound by the restrictions on re-disclosure under FERPA.

5.1.2  The university may disclose the final results of campus disciplinary proceedings in which a student respondent is charged with a violent crime or non-forcible sex offense.  Upon the request of the complainant, disclosure may be made regardless of whether the respondent was found responsible.  Disclosures to third parties may be made only if the student respondent is found responsible.  Disclosure in this situation is limited to the name of the violator, the type of student code violation found to have occurred, and the sanction imposed by the university.

5.1.3  Other exceptions when the university may disclose educational records without the student’s consent include, but are not limited to, the following situations: parents of dependent students, other educational institutions, to comply with a lawfully issued subpoena or court order, to protect the health and safety of the student or others in an emergency, in litigation and implied waivers by the student.

5.1.4  Students may block disclosure of directory information.  To block disclosure of directory information, a student must establish privacy settings within the MyPack portal as soon as possible after declaring their intention to enroll at the university.  Even if a student blocks directory information, it may still be disclosed or inspected by those persons authorized to inspect education records without consent.

6. NOTIFICATION OF PARENTS AND LEGAL GUARDIANS OF ALCOHOL OR DRUG VIOLATIONS

6.1  NC State may notify parents of students under the age of 21 of certain Code of Student Conduct alcohol or drug violations as set forth below.  Notification generally will take place upon the determination of a violation by a decision maker in the student conduct process.

6.1.1  First violation (Alcohol):  Unless there are extenuating circumstances, the Office of Student Conduct will generally not notify parents or legal guardians of students under the age of 21 of first time violations.  Parents and guardians will be notified if the student is determined by the Office of Student Conduct to be a danger to himself/herself, others, or to property.

6.1.2  Second and subsequent violations (Alcohol):  The Office of Student Conduct will notify parents and legal guardians of all second and subsequent violations.  For purposes of determining what constitutes a second or subsequent violation, multiple related violations of underage alcohol possession during a single incident will be treated as one offense.

6.1.3  Any violation (Drugs, Controlled Substances or their Analogues):  NC State University's Office of Student Conduct will notify parents or legal guardians of students under the age of 21 of any violation involving the unlawful use, possession, manufacture, distribution, or trafficking of drugs, controlled substances or their analogues as those terms are defined in applicable state or federal law.  For the purposes of parental notification, multiple related violations involving both alcohol and drugs, controlled substances or their analogues will not be treated as one offense.

7. RECORD KEEPING

7.1  Any time an education record is requested by or disclosed to a third party, the person who maintains the record must add to the record a written notation of the name and interest of the party who made the request or received access to the record.  Exceptions:  this requirement does not apply to (1) disclosures to an NC State official with a legitimate educational interest, (2) disclosures made with the written consent of the student, or (3) disclosures of directory information.

8.  PROCEDURE TO CORRECT RECORDS

8.1  If a student believes his/her education record is inaccurate or misleading, the first step is to discuss the concern with the person who maintains the record.  This does not apply to grade disputes (although it may be used to correct a clerical error in grades).  If the record keeper does not agree with the student, the record keeper will inform the student of the right to a formal hearing.

8.2  A student must request a formal hearing within 15 university business days from the date the student is informed by the record keeper of the right to a hearing.  The request must be in writing, and must be delivered to the Vice Chancellor or Dean to whom the record keeper ultimately reports.

8.3  The university official who receives the formal hearing request shall either hear the case personally or designate a person or persons to hear it, provided that those who hear the case do not have a direct interest in the outcome of the hearing.  Within a reasonable period of time after the request for hearing, the student shall be informed of the date, place, and time of the hearing.  The student may present evidence relevant to the issues raised and may be assisted or represented at the hearing by one or more persons of his/her choice.  The record keeper will have an opportunity to respond.  The person(s) hearing the case shall decide it solely on the basis of the evidence presented at the hearing.  The decision shall be in writing, delivered to all parties, and will summarize the evidence and state the reason(s) for the decision.  If the decision is in favor of the student, the education records will be amended accordingly.  If the decision is unsatisfactory to the student, he or she may place with the education record a statement commenting on the information in the records or setting forth any reasons for disagreement with the decision.  Such statements will be maintained as part of the student’s education record and released with the record anytime it is disclosed to third parties.

9.  VIOLATIONS

9.1  Students who believe their rights have been abridged and who have exhausted their administrative remedies under the university’s Student Grievance Procedures, may file complaints with the Family Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20202, concerning the alleged failures of the University to comply with the law.  Complaints must be filed with the Family Compliance Office within 180 days of the date of the alleged violation or the date the student knew or should have known of the alleged violation.