12.020: Student Records
|Status:||Approved on February 7, 2014||Signatures and dates
on archival copy
|Initiated by:||Debra M. Benton|
|Endorsed by:||Pam Benoit|
Executive Vice President and Provost
|Approved by:||Roderick J. McDavis|
- I. Overview
Ohio University's commitment to its educational mission and its students requires that it maintain various student records. No student records will be maintained that are not directly related to the basic purposes of the university. All policies and practices governing the collection, maintenance, review, and release of student records will be based upon the principles of confidentiality and the student's right to privacy, consistent with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, 20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99 ("FERPA"). This policy shall govern the collection, maintenance, review, and release of student records on the Athens and regional campuses of Ohio University.
A student is herein defined to mean any person who is or has been in attendance at Ohio University for whom the university maintains education records protected by FERPA.
- II. Types of Records
The university recognizes two general types of records: education records protected by FERPA and records not protected by FERPA.
- A. Education Records Protected by FERPA
Education records protected by FERPA are defined as those records, files, documents, and other materials in any form, including print, electronic, microfilm, handwritten, computer media, video or audiotape, etc., that contain information directly related to a present or former student, and that are maintained by the university, or by a person acting for the university. Education records protected by FERPA shall be subject to the principles regarding collection, maintenance, review, and release that are described below.
Education records protected by FERPA include the following:
- Admission records maintained by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, the Regional Campuses, the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, and the Graduate College. The Director of Undergraduate Admissions, the deans of the regional campuses, the Dean of the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, or the Dean of the Graduate College are the official custodians of these records, respectively;
- Academic records maintained by the dean of the student's college; academic departments, schools, and programs; the Office of the University Registrar; and eLearning. The University Registrar, the deans of the colleges, the directors or chairpersons of the schools or departments, or the Vice Provost for eLearning and Strategic Partnerships are the official custodians of these records, respectively;
- Disciplinary records maintained by the Office of Community Standards and Student Responsibility, including any information provided to the Office of Community Standards and Student Responsibility by the Ohio University Police Department. The Director of the Office of Community Standards and Student Responsibility is the official custodian of these records;
- Financial aid and student employment records maintained by the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships. The Director of the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships is the official custodian of these records;
- Employment records, other than student employment records maintained by the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships, relating to students employed because of their status as a student are maintained by University Human Resources, the University Payroll Office and the individual employing units. Depending on the location of the records, the university official responsible for the office where the records are located is the official custodian of the records;
- Placement records maintained by the Career and Leadership Development Center. The Dean of Students is the official custodian of these records;
- Housing records, including contract and lease agreements, maintained by The Office of Residential Housing. The Executive Director of Residential Housing is the official custodian of these records;
- Financial records maintained by offices that initiate, collect, and record fees assessed and paid. The University Registrar and Bursar are the official custodians of these records;
- International student records. The Director of International Student and Faculty Services is the official custodian of these records;
- Any records created or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional acting in his or her professional capacity that are disclosed to others for a purpose other than treatment (e.g., confirming to an instructor that the student was seen at the health center). The medical director (physician in charge of student health service) or Director of Counseling and Psychological Services are the official custodians of these records;
- Any records maintained by the Office of Student Accessibility Services. The Assistant Dean of Student Accessibility Services is the official custodian of these records; and,
- Any and all other records not specifically designated as records not protected by FERPA under subsection B, immediately below, maintained by a university office or agency as essential to fulfilling the basic purpose and responsibility of the office or agency. The university official responsible for that office or agency is the official custodian of those records.
Information technology staff are not official custodians of education records protected by FERPA, but rather employees assisting in creating and enhancing systems used by the official custodians.
- B. Records Not Protected by FERPA
Records not protected by FERPA include:
- Records created by institutional, supervisory, and administrative personnel, and faculty and educational personnel ancillary thereto that are in the sole possession of the maker thereof and that are not accessible or revealed to any other person except a substitute. A substitute means an individual who performs on a temporary basis the duties of the individual who made the record and does not refer to an individual who permanently succeeds the maker of the records in his or her position;
- Records and documents created by the Ohio University Police Department, provided that the records and documents are created and maintained by the Ohio University Police Department for a law enforcement purpose;
- Records relating to persons who are employed by the university that are made and maintained in the normal course of business, that relate exclusively to such person in his or her capacity as an employee and that are not available for use for any other purpose. As noted in item 5 of subsection A, above; however, employment records relating to persons employed by the university as a result of their student status are education records protected by FERPA;
- Records that are created or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional acting in his or her professional capacity, and that are created, maintained, or used only in connection with the provision of treatment to the student, and that are not available to anyone other than persons providing such treatment; provided, however, that such records can be reviewed, with written permission from the student, by a physician or other appropriate professional of the student's choice. (The privacy and confidentiality of such records may be protected by state and federal laws governing the privacy of health records); and
- Records that are created about an individual after he or she is no longer a student at Ohio University, i.e., alumni records.
- III. Maintenance of Records
Education records protected by FERPA shall be maintained only by university administrative personnel assigned responsibility for each of the types of records listed in section II, above. All university personnel, including student employees, involved in the handling and maintenance of education records protected by FERPA shall be instructed concerning the confidential nature of such information and their responsibilities regarding it, pursuant to this policy and the provisions of FERPA. This instruction should be a part of each office's orientation procedure for new employees, including student employees.
- IV. Persons Authorized to Place Materials in Records Files
Only the following qualified persons are permitted to place information into an education record protected by FERPA: personnel in the office or agency responsible for maintaining the files (including faculty and staff), and the individual student or others at the request of and, therefore, with the consent of, the student.
- V. Inspect and Review Student Records
A student who is or has been in attendance at Ohio University shall have the right to inspect and review the contents of his or her education records protected by FERPA, subject only to reasonable arrangements concerning time, place, and supervision; but in no case shall the time be more than forty-five (45) days after a request has been made. Contact the appropriate university office that maintains the record to make appropriate arrangements. If a student is not within commuting distance, the student may request a copy of his or her education record; the office responsible for maintaining the records may charge a reasonable fee for such copies. If the education records of a student contain information on more than one student, the student may inspect and review or be informed of only the specific information about that student. Exceptions to this general right of review are:
- Financial records of the student's parents or any information contained therein;
- Confidential letters and statements of recommendation that were placed in the student's education record prior to January 1, 1975, as long as such letters or statements are not used for purposes other than those for which they were specifically intended, as determined by the administrative officer responsible for the office or agency where the record is kept;
- If the student has signed a waiver of the student's right of access under this Policy and FERPA, confidential recommendations respecting admission to any educational agency or institution, respecting an application for employment, or respecting the receipt of an honor or honorary recognition.
A student or a person applying for admission may waive his or her right of access to confidential statements described in this item, except that such waiver shall apply to recommendations only if the student is, upon request, notified of the names of all persons making confidential recommendations, and such recommendations are used solely for the purpose for which they were specifically intended. The student may revoke, in writing, the previous waiver of his or her right to access to confidential statements or recommendations. Such revocation shall only apply to confidential statements or recommendations placed in the record after the waiver has been revoked. Such waivers may not be required as a condition for admission to, receipt of financial aid from, or receipt of any other services or benefits from, the university.
- VI. Request to Amend Student Records
A student has the right to a formal hearing, pursuant to and in compliance with sections 99.20 through 99.22 of the Regulations of FERPA, to challenge the content of such student's FERPA-protected education records in order to ensure that the records are not inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student's right of privacy, and to provide an opportunity for the correction or deletion of any such inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise inappropriate data contained therein, and to insert into such records a written explanation respecting the content of such records.
However, the student shall first attempt to resolve his or her grievance informally through the department chair or school director, dean of his or her college, or in the case of other records, through the official custodian of the records. The department chair or school director, dean, or official custodian, after careful review of the facts surrounding the challenge, shall inform the student, in writing and within five (5) days after the student presents the challenge, of his or her decision and any corrective action that will be taken.
If the student is dissatisfied with the results of his or her informal challenge through the department chairperson, dean, or official custodian, he or she has the option to proceed with the formal hearing as referenced in the first paragraph of this section. Appeals of the results of these formal hearings shall follow the organizational hierarchy to the Executive Vice President and Provost. The decision of the Provost will be final.
The Faculty Handbook, Section IV, part C, "Final Examinations and Change of Grade," provides the mechanism by which students may challenge grades. No right to appeal a grade exists beyond this.
- VII. Releasing Student Records
Student records at Ohio University are held in trust by the university for the mutual benefit of the student and the educational mission of the university. Therefore, except with the prior written consent of the student (the Consent to Release Education Records form may be used), or as otherwise stated below, no information in any student education record may be released to any individual or organization.
- Record-keeping personnel may have access to student education records protected by FERPA according to the conditions stipulated in section III, above.
- University officials demonstrating a legitimate educational interest may have access to student education records protected by FERPA. A university official is a person employed by the university in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the university has contracted to perform a service on behalf of the university; a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another university official in performing his or her tasks. A university official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an educational record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility.
- The following information is considered public or directory information, and may be published in a university publication or otherwise released:
- the student's name,
- residence hall, mailing, and home addresses,
- local or land line, cell (if designated as public), and permanent telephone numbers,
- university e-mail address,
- current major program(s),
- participation in officially recognized activities and sports,
- weight and height of members of athletic teams,
- dates of enrollment at Ohio University,
- degrees and awards received from Ohio University, including dates and major programs,
- previous educational agencies or institutions attended by the student,
- student's "also known as" (AKA) name,
- student standing and degree level (first year undergraduate, second year graduate, etc.),
- enrollment status (full-time, etc.), including total hours enrolled, by term,
- primary advisor,
- expected graduation date,
- current college and campus,
- residency status (Ohio resident, out-of-state),
- admission status (new, continuing, etc.),
- record hold(s),
- deceased status.
The university shall give public notice of the categories of information that shall be considered public or directory information, and shall allow a reasonable period of time after such notice has been given for a student to inform the university, by filing a Confidentiality Status Request with the Office of the University Registrar, that none of the information so designated should be released without the student's prior consent.
- Direct access to disciplinary files is limited to the staff members of the Office of Community Standard and Student Responsibility, the Office of Legal Affairs, and the Dean of Students. In addition, the Office of Community Standard and Student Responsibility shall notify the academic college in which a student is enrolled when the student is found in violation of the Student Code of Conduct, so as to assist the colleges in their work with students. This item shall not be construed so as to prohibit the Office of Community Standard and Student Responsibility from advising appropriate university offices that demonstrate a legitimate educational interest of the facts and disposition of a particular disciplinary case, nor shall it be construed so as to prohibit the Office of Community Standard and Student Responsibility from advising any person demonstrating a need to know as to whether a disciplinary file does or does not exist.
- Medical and psychological treatment records are legally confidential and privileged. They will not be released to anyone other than professional and clerical staff responsible for medical and psychological information without the express written authorization of the student involved. In such cases, the student must designate what information is to be released and to whom that information is to be released.
- VIII. Exceptions for Releasing Student Records
Notwithstanding the provisions above:
- Education records will be released in compliance with a judicial order, or pursuant to any lawfully issued subpoena, upon condition that the university makes a reasonable effort to notify the student of all such orders or subpoenas in advance of the compliance therewith by the university unless the court or issuing agency has ordered that the existence or the contents of the subpoena or the information furnished in response to the subpoena not be disclosed. In addition, if a student initiates legal action against the university, the university may, without a subpoena or court order, disclose to the court the student's education records that are relevant for the university to defend itself.
- Records or information from records containing personally identifiable information may be made available, upon request, to officials of other schools or school systems in which the student seeks or intends to enroll, upon condition that the student, upon request, receives a copy of the records and be given an opportunity for a hearing to challenge the content of the record.
- Records or information from records containing personally identifiable information may be released in connection with a student's application for, or receipt of, financial aid.
- Records or information from records may be released to the parents or guardians of a dependent student, as defined in Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. The university presumes, for this purpose only, that all students are independent. The parents or guardians of a student have the burden to show dependent status as defined in Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 by filing a Certificate of Dependency form with the Office of the University Registrar. The dependent student will be notified via e-mail that a Certificate of Dependency form has been received. A student has the legal authority to sign and submit a Certificate of Non-Dependency form to the Office of the University Registrar indicating that he or she is no longer a dependent of the parents or guardians, as defined in Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.
- Records or information from records may be released to the categories of persons or institutions designated in 20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99, and in subsequent federal legislation enacted into law specifically designating the recipients.
- Records or information from records may be released to organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, educational agencies or institutions for the purpose of:
- developing, validating, or administering predictive tests;
- administering student aid programs; and
- improving instruction;
provided that such studies are conducted in such a manner as will not permit the personal identification of students or their parents by persons other than representatives of such organization and such information will be destroyed when no longer needed for the purposes for which it was released.
- Records or information from records may be released to accrediting organizations in order to carry out their accrediting functions.
- Records or information from records may be released to appropriate persons if the knowledge of such information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other persons.
- The final results of a disciplinary proceeding conducted by the university may be disclosed in the event a student is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense and, with respect to the allegation made against the student, the student is found to have violated the Student Code of Conduct. For purposes of this provision and the following provision, "final results" means a determination made pursuant to the procedures contained in the Student Code of Conduct and includes only the name of the student, the violation committed, and any sanction imposed by the university against the student.
- The final results of a disciplinary proceeding shall be disclosed to the victim of an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense, regardless of whether the alleged perpetrator is found to have violated the Student Code of Conduct.
- Records or information from records may be released to the parents or guardians of students under the age of 21 at the time of disclosure who have committed a violation of the Student Code of Conduct with respect to the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance in violation of any Federal, State, or local law, or of any rule or policy of the university.
- IX. Implementation Responsibilities and Right to File Complaint
The university officials responsible for implementing the Student Records Policy and ensuring compliance with FERPA are the Executive Vice President and Provost with the assistance of the General Counsel, and the Dean of Students. Questions regarding the implementation of this policy should be directed to the General Counsel.
The student has the right to file a complaint with the Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the University to comply with the requirements of FERPA. Written complaints should be directed to: The Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20202-5920; phone: (202) 260-3887; fax: (202) 260-9001; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- X. Record of Access
Each office shall keep with each student's education records protected by FERPA a record that will specifically indicate the legitimate interest that each such person, agency, or organization accessing the information has in obtaining this information. Such record of access shall be available only to the student, the school official, and his or her assistants who are responsible for the custody of such records, and to persons or organizations authorized to conduct an audit pursuant to FERPA. The record should include the name of the individual or agency requesting information, the reason for the request, the date of the request, and the disposition of the request. The office responsible for the records shall, upon a request in writing from the student, provide a copy of the records disclosed and charge the appropriate fees therefore. The provisions of this paragraph do not apply if the request was from or the disclosure was to the student; school officials and other persons designated in section VII ("Release of Student Records"), above; or a party seeking or receiving the records as directed by a Federal grand jury or other law enforcement subpoena and the issuing agency has ordered that the existence or the contents of the subpoena or the information furnished in response to the subpoena not be disclosed.
Education records protected by FERPA or information therefrom shall only be transferred to a third party on the condition that such party will not permit any other party to have access to such information without the written consent of the student, or a judicial order. The provisions of this paragraph do not apply to disclosures made to pursuant to section VII, item D, as well as section VIII, items A, D, I, J, and K.
- XI. Retention of Records
Each record-keeping office will establish and make available a reasonable and justifiable policy regarding the retention of records after the separation of the student from the university. Where legal statutes govern retention, such policies shall be in accordance with those statutes.
- XII. Holds on Release of Records
Unmet university obligations, or pending disciplinary cases, may result in a hold being placed on the release of student records.
- XIII. Incorporation of Federal Law
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, 20 U.S.C. § 1232g and the corresponding regulations enacted in pursuance thereof at 34 CFR Part 99, are hereby incorporated by reference into this policy; and, to the extent that this policy conflicts with the law or regulations, the law or regulations shall take precedence.
Proposed revisions of this policy should be reviewed by:
- Chief Information Officer
- Dean of Students
- Vice President for Research and Creative Activity and Dean of the Graduate College
- All other Academic and Regional Campus Deans
- Vice Provost for eLearning and Strategic Partnerships
- Director of the Office of Community Standard and Student Responsibility
- Director of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships
- Assistant Vice Provost and Director of Undergraduate Admissions
- Executive Director of Residential Housing
- Director of International Student and Faculty Services
- Assistant Dean of Student Accessibility Services
- Medical Director (physician in charge of student health service)
- Director of Counseling and Psychological Services
- Associate Provost for Institutional Research and Effectiveness
- Faculty Senate
- Administrative Senate
- Student Senate
- Graduate Student Senate
- Forms, References, and History
- A. Forms
The following forms are specific to this policy:
- Confidentiality Status Request: this form is available online from https://www.ohio.edu/registrar/forms.cfm.
- Consent to Release Education Records: this form is available online from https://www.ohio.edu/registrar/forms.cfm.
- Certificate of Dependency: this form is available online from https://www.ohio.edu/registrar/forms.cfm.
- Certificate of Non-Dependency: this form is available online from https://www.ohio.edu/registrar/forms.cfm.
- B. References
The following items are relevant to this policy:
- Policy 12.010, "Access to the Student Information System (SIS)."
- Policy 40.007, "Public Records Requests."
- Policy 93.001, "Data Classification."
- Policy 93.002, "Records Management and Archiving."
- The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974
- 20 U.S.C. § 1232g (159 KB PDF file).
- 34 CFR Part 99 (151 KB PDF file).
- C. History
Draft versions of this policy that were circulated for review, their cover memos, their forms, and Reviewers' comments on them are available on the password-protected Review site, at https://www.ohio.edu/policy2/12-020/.
Prior versions of this policy were approved on:
- December 5, 2008
- January 15, 1987 (then numbered 28.005)
- August 1, 1986
- August 1, 1974