CHAPTER TWO: 2600

STUDENT AFFAIRS POLICIES

June 2009


2600

STUDENT EDUCATION RECORDS

PREAMBLE: This section discusses student records, their definition, custody, and access. This section first appeared in the 1979 Handbook and was most recently amended in July, 1996. For further information, contact the Office of General Counsel (208-885-6125). [ed. 7-97, 6-09, rev. 7-05]

 

CONTENTS:

A. Purpose

B. Definitions

C. Access to Education Records [ed. 7-00]

D. Student Access to His or Her Own Records

E. Disclosure of Specific Types of Information

F. Custody of Specific Records

G. Challenges to the Contents of Records

H. Complaints to the U.S. Department of Education

A. PURPOSE. Information about UI students is collected, maintained, and used for legitimate educational purposes. The purpose of this policy is to inform students, parents, and all UI personnel about access to and protection of information in student education records. Copies of this policy are available upon request to students and parents and will be printed in the publication, UI Policies and Information of Interest to Students, as well as in the UI Faculty-Staff Handbook.

The collection, retention, and dissemination of education records is subject to federal and state regulations under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) and the Idaho Public Records Law. Students are protected specifically against improper disclosure of their grades and disciplinary records in other policies of UI. [See 2200 V and 4700 F-5. (ed. 7-97)]

B. DEFINITIONS.

    B-1. "File" and "Record" refer to any discrete gathering of information concerning a student that is stored in a manner that provides access to information about specific persons.

    B-2. "Student" is any person who is or has attended UI and about whom UI maintains records.

    B-3. "Education records." Records maintained by UI are "education records" if they (a) directly relate to a student and (b) are maintained by UI. "Education records" do not include: (1) records of instructional, supervisory, and administrative personnel and those working under their direction which are kept in the sole possession of the maker of the record and are not accessible or revealed to others unless acting for them, e.g. gradebooks, student evaluations, class notes; (2) records relating to a student in his or her capacity as an employee unless the student's status as a student is the basis of the employment; (3) records made or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other professional while treating a student and which are kept confidentially; (4) records created about alumni; and (5) records created, maintained and held by a UI law enforcement unit (see B-7 below) for law enforcement purposes. [ed. 7-00, 7-05]

    B-4. "Personally identifiable information" is information contained in any record which makes a student's identity easily traceable such as name, address, name or address of parent or other family member, social security number, student identification number, or personal characteristics which make identity easily traceable.

    B-5. "Directory information" is the student's name, individual photograph or electronic image including the photograph on the student identification card, local address and telephone number, permanent address and telephone number, electronic mail address, class, academic major, college, full- or part-time status, academic and other honors, heights and weights of members of athletic teams, specific athletic achievements, letters of commendation, high schools and other academic institutions attended, scholarships awarded, withdrawal date, degree earned and date it was conferred, dates of attendance, and leadership positions in UI organizations. [rev. 7-05]

    B-6. "Legitimate educational interest" of UI faculty, staff, employees or other school officials in educational records and personally identifiable information includes a reasonable need to know information because in the course of acting in his or her capacity as a faculty or staff member, employee, or school official, the information is legitimately related to carrying out his or her duties.

    B-7. "Law enforcement unit" includes the UI campus substation of the Moscow Police Department and the UI nightwatch service.

C. ACCESS TO EDUCATION RECORDS.

    C-1. Except as stated in C-2 and C-3, any person or entity requesting access to educational records or personally identifiable information must have prior written permission from the student to access that student's education records. The written permission must specify the record which may be disclosed, state the purpose of the disclosure, identify the party or class of parties who may have access to the record and must be signed and dated. The student giving access to his or her records may request a copy of the record disclosed. The custodian of the record has authority on behalf of UI to grant or deny access to education records. Section F below identifies the custodians of education records.

    C-2. Subject to limitations described in paragraph E below, UI faculty, staff, employees or officers may access education records when they have a legitimate educational interest in the information as defined in B-6. Professional judgment and a high regard for ethical practice guide the use of information about students by UI faculty, staff, employees or officers. [ed. 5-05]

    C-3. Disclosure of information in education records may be made by the official custodian upon reasonable request without permission of the student under limited circumstances. The official UI custodian is not required to give information or records when these circumstances exist. The policy statements in section F of this policy guide all disclosures of information or records even those made under an exception. Circumstances creating exceptions to the need for prior permission from the student include:

      a. knowledge of personal information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals;

      b. the information sought is "directory information" as defined in this policy;

      c. the person requesting access is a parent or guardian of the student discussed in the record and the student is a dependent student as defined by the Internal Revenue Code;

      d. a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena requires the disclosure; (see C-5 below)

      e. the information is sought by officials of another school or post secondary institution where the student seeks or intends to enroll;

      f. the information is sought in connection with financial aid for which the student has applied or which the student has received, and the information is necessary to (a) determine eligibility for the aid; (b) determine the amount of the aid; (c) determine the conditions of the aid; or (d) enforce the terms and conditions of the aid; or

      g. the information is disclosed in conformance with other exceptions to the prior written consent requirement of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 as amended.

    C-4. Whenever a record contains information about more than one student, and disclosure of the record requires consent from the student, each student must consent in writing to disclosure, or the information about the non-consenting student must be blacked out from the record before it is released.

    C-5. When information is disclosed in response to a judicial order or subpoena, UI will make reasonable attempts to notify the student of the required disclosure prior to compliance, unless the subpoena is issued for a law enforcement purpose or is issued by a federal grand jury and a court has ordered UI not to notify the student.

D. STUDENT ACCESS TO HIS OR HER OWN RECORDS.

    D-1. Education records and personally identifiable information as defined in this policy, may be reviewed and copied by the student discussed in the records except as limited below. The student may be charged the cost of making such copies. Students do not have the right to access the following: financial records of their parents; confidential letters and statements of recommendation which were placed in the file before January 1, 1975, if such letters or recommendations were used only for purposes for which they were specifically intended; recommendations dated after January 1, 1975 that are included in "confidential" placement files if a student has waived access as described in D-2, and recommendations accompanying an application for admission or re-enrollment to UI.

    D-2. A student may waive access to confidential recommendations respecting 1) applications for employment, 2) admission to educational agencies or institutions, and 3) receipt of an honor or honorary recognition. The waiver must be in writing and will continue to be effective until revoked. A student may request the names of all persons making confidential recommendations and such recommendations will be used solely for the purpose for which they were specifically intended. Such waivers are not required for admission to UI or any of its departments, for receipt of financial aid, or for the receipt of any other UI services or benefits.

E. DISCLOSURE OF SPECIFIC TYPES OF INFORMATION.

    E-1. Directory information as defined in this policy, is available from the custodian of that information to the public upon reasonable written or oral request without prior written consent of the student. A student may have any or all items of directory information restricted by presenting a written request to the registrar within the first 10 days of any academic term. The restriction will continue to be effective until specifically revoked in writing. UI may update directory information using information provided by the student to any UI office or employee.

    E-2. Personal references are provided only to bona fide prospective employers or to schools to which the student is applying for admission.

    E-3. Counseling information and health records may be disclosed only upon written consent of both the student and either the director of counseling & testing center or the director of student health services. [ed. 4-07]

    E-4. Student disciplinary records maintained by any UI employee or University Judicial Council member, are protected by the Statement of Student Rights. [See 2200 V-1.]

F. CUSTODY OF SPECIFIC RECORDS. The several kinds of records held in various UI offices are described in the following paragraphs. The "custodian" of a record refers to the officer, or his or her designee, who (1) is responsible for the maintenance of that kind of file or record, (2) determines in each instance whether information contained in a file may be released, and (3) is authorized to speak for UI concerning those records. A custodian may deny disclosure of a record or personally identifiable information when: (1) he or she determines that a legitimate educational interest has not been sufficiently demonstrated; (2) giving the information may put the student or others in a dangerous situation; (3) the request is not reasonable under the circumstances; or (4) the information though retained by UI is not readily retrievable in the form requested. Unless specified below, the custodian of education records is the Vice President for Student Affairs and University Relations or his or her designee.

    F-1. The application for admission consists of the materials collected in connection with matriculation in UI. The director of admissions is the custodian of these records prior to matriculation. After matriculation these records become part of the official academic record and the registrar is the custodian.

    F-2. The official academic record is the permanent record and supporting documents and computer files. The registrar is the custodian. Transcripts of the student's UI record, are furnished only by the Registrar's Office.

    F-3. Advising records are the materials used in curricular advising and for verification of satisfaction of requirements for graduation or certification. These are not to be confused with the official academic record. Academic deans and departmental administrators are the custodians. (Withdrawal interviews are recorded in Student Advisory Services.)

    F-4. Discipline records include preliminary notification, proceedings, results, and action taken as a result of judicial hearings. The dean of students is the custodian. These records are protected from improper disclosure by the Statement of Student Rights. [See 2200 V-1.]

    F-5. Counseling records include the confidential information about individual students that is retained in the Counseling & Testing Center. The director of counseling & testing is the custodian. [ed. 4-07]

    F-6. Financial-aid records include the application, parents' confidential statement, need-analysis form, promissory notes, information on employment, and other related materials. The director of student financial aid services is the custodian.

    F-7. General financial records include student accounts, fee statements, and student loan materials. In the case of overdue accounts, UI reserves the right to release financial information necessary to obtain legal collection services. The director of business systems and accounting services is the custodian. [ed. 6-09]

    F-8. Placement records include personal educational and experience data, letters of recommendation, and related information. The director of career services is the custodian.

    F-9. Health records include individual histories, physical-examination records, notes, and related information. The director of student health services is the custodian.

    F-10. Employment records that pertain to the employment of students by UI departments may be inspected by the student concerned and by others on the same basis as all other UI employment records, unless the basis of employment is status as a student, making the record an education record as defined in this policy.

G. CHALLENGES TO THE CONTENTS OF RECORDS. A student may challenge the content of any education record using the process described below. If, after reviewing his or her file, a student wishes to challenge a perceived inaccuracy, misleading statement, or violation of privacy or other rights, the following procedure is available.

    G-1. If the official custodian of the records and the student agree that information is inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the student's rights, the custodian may make the necessary corrections or remove the information.

    G-2. Upon the request of either the official custodian of the records or the individual student, a hearing before the Administrative Hearing Board (AdHB) may be conducted to settle disputes. In addition to any rights afforded the student by the AdHB, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act requires that the student be permitted to be assisted by advisers of his or her choice, including an attorney, as part of the hearing process. [See 1640.06.]

    G-3. Decisions of the Administrative Hearing Board will be based solely on the evidence presented at the hearing and will be summarized in a written statement that will include the reasons for the decision and be given to all parties concerned.

    G-4. Should the decision be unsatisfactory to the student, the student will be informed of the right to place with the record a statement commenting on the information in the record or setting forth the reason for disagreeing with the hearing decision. Such a statement placed in the record by the student will be kept as part of the record for as long as the record is held and will be released whenever the record in question is disclosed.

    G-5. A student who believes that the adjudication of a challenge to a record is not consistent with Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act may file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education (see H below).

H. COMPLAINTS TO THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION. A student may file a complaint alleging violations of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act with the Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, D.C. 20202-4605. Complaints must be filed within 180 days of the alleged violation or of the date that the complainant knew or reasonably should have known of the alleged violation.

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University of Idaho, Moscow, ID, 83844