FERPA Privacy Act
The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, is designed to protect the privacy of a student’s education records. Bucknell University is subject to the provisions of the law and will accord all the rights under the law to students. Those rights are:
The right to inspect and review the student's educational record.
Students should submit to the Office of the Registrar a written request that identifies the record(s) they wish to inspect. The Registrar will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be viewed. The review by the student must occur, by law, within 45 days of receipt of the request. The student must provide photo identification in order to view the records. The University is not required to provide copies of materials in the records unless, for reasons such as a great distance, it is impossible for the student to inspect the records in person.
The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading.
Students may ask the University to amend a record they believe is inaccurate or misleading. They should write the official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the University decides not to amend the record, the student will be notified of his or her rights 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.
The rights of challenge under FERPA are not intended to allow students to contest, for example, a grade in a course, because they felt the assigned grade should have been higher.
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.
One exception that permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. 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 University may disclose education records in certain other circumstances, without consent. They are:
To officials of other schools, upon request, at which a student seeks or intends to enroll;
To appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student;
To accrediting organizations;
To comply with a judicial order or a lawfully issued subpoena;
To appropriate parties who need to know in cases of health and safety emergencies.
To parents of students who have established the student’s status as a dependent according to Internal Revenue Code of 1986, Section 152.
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.
Students are encouraged to first contact the Registrar’s Office, where the FERPA representative will assist the student in receiving local resolution and to confirm that all resources have been exhausted, before filing a formal complaint. If that effort is not satisfactory, a student may file a complaint with the Department of Education at the following address:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U. S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-4605
The law does allow the university to designate personally identifiable information contained in a student's educational record as "Directory Information". This information may be disclosed, at the University’s discretion, without a student's prior consent. Information designated by Bucknell as Directory Information includes:
- Major field of study
- Achievements, degrees, academic awards or honors
- Dates of attendance
- Enrollment status
- Level of study
- Weight and height if a member of athletic teams
- Participation in extra curricular activities
To avoid release of Directory Information, a student must advise the Registrar’s Office, in writing, that any or all the information with respect to that student, not be released. Notification must be done in the Fall semester and prior to the 10th day of classes in order not to appear in the University Directory for that year. The non-disclosure agreement signed by the student will remain in effect throughout the student’s academic stay at Bucknell or until such time, that the student, again, in writing releases the non-disclosure agreement. Students must understand that restricting Directory Information will result in:
- The Registrar’s Office refusing to release any information to friends, family members, or colleagues.
- Student’s address, telephone number and email address not appearing in the University Student Directory.
For the purposes of this policy, Bucknell University has used the following definitions:
Student - any person who attends Bucknell University
Education records - records directly related to a student and maintained by the institution or by a party acting for the institution. It does not include:
- Records maintained by a law enforcement unit of the University.
- Records maintained by Student Health Services and Psychological Services if the records are used only for treatment of a student and made available only to those persons providing treatment.
- Records relating to individuals who are employed by the institution which are made and maintained in the normal course of business, and relate exclusively to individuals in their capacity as employees and are not available for other purposes.
- Records maintained by the Alumni Office containing information about an individual who is no longer a student attending Bucknell.
Directory Information - information contained in an education record of a student that generally would not be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy, if disclosed.
School Official - those members of the institution who act in the student’s educational interest within the limitations of their "need to know". These may include faculty, deans, administrators, clerical and professional employees and other persons, including student employees or agents, who manage or need to view student education record information in the context of their responsibilities.
For additional information on FERPA please contact the Office of the Registrar, 102 Marts Hall, (570)577-1201.