Changes in FERPA Directory Information

In order to better serve our students, Grand Valley State University has enrolled in the National Student Clearinghouse’s DegreeVerify and EnrollmentVerify services.
 
As of the fall 2013 semester, GVSU FERPA directory information includes:
Name
Telephone Number
Email Address
Dates of Attendance
Enrollment Status (less than half-time, half-time, or full-time)
Degrees and Certificates Earned
Date of Degrees and Certificates
Major(s)
 
You have the option to prohibit the release of your directory information under FERPA. To exercise this option, please complete the Directory Information Release/Withhold Form. It can be submitted in person at the Allendale Student Assistance Center (150 Student Services) or the Grand Rapids Student Assistance Center (115C DeVos Center), or by fax to (616) 331-2000.
 
Professional and business organizations who wish to verify a student's enrollment or degree information should contact the National Student Clearinghouse.  Requests may be made online, by phone, fax, email or mail:
 
 
Phone: (703) 742-4200
 
Fax: (703) 742-4239
 
 
Mail: National Student Clearinghouse, 2300 Dulles Station Blvd., Ste 300, Herndon, VA 20171

 

What are my rights under FERPA? Under FERPA, you have a right to inspect and review your educational records; request to amend your educational records; have some control over the disclosure of information from your educational records.

When do FERPA rights begin? Your FERPA rights begin when you enroll regardless of age; that is, when you have registered and paid and classes have begun. Students under 18 are covered under FERPA. Can my parents get information about me? Without your express, written permission, your parents, like all other third parties, may have access only to your directory information. If you have restricted some or all of your directory information from access by the public, then those items of directory information are considered confidential, and cannot be released to your parents or other third parties.

Who can access my educational records? Your educational records are confidential and may be disclosed to appropriate University administrators, faculty members, staff members, appropriate administrators or staff members at Grand Valley State University, or contractors acting on behalf of the University, who require such access in order to perform their legitimate educational and business duties, when such records are needed in furtherance of the educational or business purposes of the student or University or to those to whom you have given express, written permission by completing the FERPA Permission to Release Non-Public Information form.

I need to have a letter of recommendation written on my behalf by either a faculty member or administrator. Is there a form I can use to request this authorization? Click here for a form to be completed by a student requesting a letter of recommendation from a staff or faculty member.

How can I restrict access to public or directory information about me? If you are currently enrolled, you may request that directory information (i.e., the information that appears on PeopleFinder) be made confidential by completing the Directory Information Release/Withhold Form and returning it to the Registrar's Office. Any restriction will remain in effect until you revoke it. Only currently enrolled students may restrict their directory information, but students may revoke the restriction of their information at any time.

Whom should I contact with questions or concerns? Direct general questions to the Registrar's Office or University Counsel.

May I access my child's student records? At the post-secondary level, parents have no inherent right to access or inspect their son's or daughter's educational records. The right of access is limited solely to the student regardless of their age. Students under 18 are covered under FERPA.

May I view my child's grades, exams, or academic progress? Final grades, grades on exams, and other information about academic progress are examples of the confidential information that makes up part of a student's educational record. This information is protected under FERPA and parents do not have access to it unless the student has provided express, written authorization.

What about crisis or emergency situations? If non-directory information is needed to resolve a crisis or emergency situation, an educational institution may release that information if the institution determines that the information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals.

Whom should I contact with questions or concerns? Direct general questions to the Registrar’s Office, Dean of Students, or University Counsel.

 

May I access confidential information about students? Access to personally identifiable information contained in educational records may be given to appropriate University administrators, faculty members, or staff members and appropriate administrators or staff members of Grand Valley State University who require this access to perform their legitimate educational duties. Faculty members do not have access to student academic records unless their normal job duties specifically require access. This type of access is termed "legitimate educational interest."

How does FERPA affect letters of recommendation? Writing a letter of recommendation may require express, written permission from the student to allow you 1) to access the student's educational records and 2) to disclose confidential information about the student to a third party. A faculty member may access a student's educational records without the student's express written permission only if specific job duties, such as the duties of an academic advisor, require access to those records. However, a faculty member, or any other appropriate University official, may not disclose confidential information from a student's educational records to a third party without express, written permission from the student. Click here for a form to be completed by a student requesting a letter of recommendation from a staff or faculty member. Personal observations about a student may be disclosed without the student's consent.

What information may I disclose to parents? Without the express, written permission of the student, parents, like all other third parties, may have access only to the student's directory information. If a student has restricted his or her directory information, then directory information is also considered confidential.

Does FERPA affect the return of assignments? Personally identifiable information about a student may not be disclosed without the student's express, written permission. Therefore, extreme care should be used to protect such information when returning assignments to students.

Does FERPA affect the posting of grades? University policy prohibits the disclosure of any confidential student information in a personally identifiable manner without the student's written consent. Faculty members may use student-specific, password-protected systems (such as Blackboard) to communicate academic work grades or other confidential information to students on an individual basis. Students may also access their final course grades using myBanner.

How do I properly dispose of confidential information? Dispose of all material containing confidential information (such as tests, papers, class rosters) by shredding or by placing them in a receptacle intended for the collection of material to be disposed of in a secure manner.

Whom should I contact with questions or concerns? Direct general questions to the Registrar’s Office or University Counsel.

Click here for a handout of Faculty and Staff responsibilities under FERPA.

What information about students may I release to faculty members and other University staff members? Items defined as directory information (name, local phone number and email address) may be released without a student's written permission, provided that the student has not chosen to restrict his or her directory information. All other personally identifiable information in a student's educational record is confidential and may be disclosed to appropriate University administrators, faculty members, staff members, appropriate administrators or staff members of Grand Valley State University or contractors acting on behalf of the University, who require such access in order to perform their legitimate educational and business duties, when such records are needed in furtherance of the educational or business purposes of the student or University.

What information about students may I release to parents? You may disclose directory information to a parent (as you may to any third party) if the student has not restricted his or her directory information. If the student has restricted all of his or her directory information, you should respond to any inquiries by saying "I have no information to provide about that individual." Confidential information may only be released to parents with the express, written permission of the student.

Do I have to release information from a student's educational record? FERPA regulations state that you MAY release directory information about a student, but FERPA does not require or compel you to do so.

Do I have to keep a record of the release of information from a student's educational record? A record of each request for access and each disclosure must be kept, unless the request was made by or the disclosure was made to one of the following: The student; a school official who has legitimate educational interest; a party with written consent from the student; a party seeking directory information only. These records must be kept with the educational records of the student as long as the educational records are maintained by the University. Click here for a form to be completed by a student requesting a letter of recommendation from a staff or faculty member.

Whom should I contact with questions or concerns? Direct general questions to the Registrar’s Office or University Counsel.

Click here for a handout of Faculty and Staff responsibilities under FERPA.

Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA) requires that the university establish a policy and adopt and enforce procedures to protect the confidentiality, accuracy, and privacy of the information it collects on its students. The information collected on students may only be viewed by those individuals who have a legitimate “business” need to use the data as determined by the university’s FERPA officer. The responsible officer at Grand Valley is the Registrar.

Who on campus can access student records? At Grand Valley, access to student educational records without prior consent of the student is limited to those faculty, administrators, and staff who individually or collectively, are acting in the student's educational interest, within the limitations of their need to know.

What are education records? Handwriting, print, computer, videotape, audiotape, film, microfilm, microfiche or email – of an institution that contain information directly related to the student and are maintained by an agency or institution or party acting on its behalf.

Education records do not include:
• Private notes in your possession that are not accessible or revealed to any other persons and are not stored in the student's record • Medical records • Employment records when employment is not contingent on being a student, provided the record is used only in relation to the individual's employment • Records created and maintained by a law enforcement unit used only for that purpose, is revealed only to law enforcement agencies of the same jurisdiction, and the enforcement unit does not have access to education records • Information obtained when a person is no longer a student (i.e., alumni records) and does not relate to the person as a student.

 

 

Page last modified January 23, 2014