FERPA and Student Records
The Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA), also known as the Buckley Amendment, is “a federal law designed to protect the privacy of education records, to establish the right of students to inspect and review their education records, and to provide guidelines for the correction of inaccurate and misleading data through informal and formal hearings.”
The Act applies to students enrolled in higher education institutions as well as K–12 students. When a student turns 18 years old or enters a postsecondary institution at any age, all rights afforded to you as a parent under FERPA transfer to the student. The Act states:
- College students must be permitted to inspect their own education records
- Institutions may not disclose information about students nor permit inspection of their records without consent unless such action is covered by certain exceptions permitted by FERPA. Some of those exceptions specifically related to disclosure of information to parents without student consent are as follows:
- Schools may disclose education records to parents if the student is claimed as a dependent for tax purposes.
- Schools may disclose education records to parents if a health or safety emergency involves their son or daughter.
- Schools may inform parents if the student, if he or she is under age 21, has violated any law or policy concerning the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance.
- A school official may generally share with a parent information that is based on that official's personal knowledge or observation of the student.
In addition to these exceptions, disclosure of student information to parents can also occur if the student provides written permission through Rider's "Consent to Disclose Educational Records" form. Download a copy of the Rider University Consent to Disclose Educational Records form.
Additional FERPA Resources
Aside from academic records which are kept by the Registrar and the Dean’s office of each college, all official records of Rider University pertaining to students are kept in files maintained by the Registrar’s Office. These folders include, but are not limited to, student information forms, housing contracts, disciplinary actions and official correspondences. Students who want to inspect and review their records may make an appointment with the Registrar or his/her designee, Bart Luedeke Center, Room 213l, on the Lawrenceville campus. Students who believe that the official records contain factual inaccuracies that have not been modified through normal channels may apply to the Registrar to have the inaccuracy corrected in the records. If the matter is not satisfactorily resolved by the Registrar, the student may apply for a hearing before the University Appeals Council. Copies of the information contained in a student’s own file may be requested, in writing, and will generally be released only if failure to do so would effectively prevent a student from reviewing his/her records.
Record Retention Policy
In order to ensure compliance with the Clery Act, non-academic records of students, including but not limited to, campus housing information, financial records, disciplinary records, Public Safety records, and application materials will be maintained for seven (7) years after the date of last attendance. Records may be kept longer at the sole discretion of the University.
Access to Student Records
Access to student records may be accorded to University personnel with a legitimate educational interest in the records. An educational interest is legitimate if it exists for the educational benefit of the student. University personnel includes, but is not limited to, senior-level administrators, deans, faculty directors, clerical staff, Residence Life staff, Public Safety and contracted personnel of the University.
Information may be released to other agencies and individuals according to these policies in compliance with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 (as amended):
- The University may release the following information without written permission from the student:
- enrollment status
- dates of enrollment
- degree candidacy
- degree awarded
- major field.
- The University may release the following directory information unless the student requests in writing by the end of the second week of classes each semester that the information not be released:
- home and local address
- home and local telephone number
- participation on athletic teams and organizations
- dates of attendance
- honors and awards received
No other information concerning an individual will be released without the written permission of that person, except in those circumstances specifically outlined in FERPA as not requiring written consent such as matters of emergency; to the parents of dependent children as defined by the IRS; complying with legal orders, etc. FERPA also requires that a record be kept of certain information that may be released without a student’s consent.
A student may request to view this record by making an appointment with the Registrar or his/her designee.
Each student is given the opportunity to decide whether or not his or her name will be included in the University directory. Students should be aware that exclusion from this directory also excludes organizations on and off-campus from notifying students of information that may be of interest to them. Students should contact the Dean of Students to request exclusion from this directory.
Students having questions or complaints regarding FERPA may write to:
Family Education Rights and Privacy Act Office (FERPA)
U.S. Department of Education
Room 4512, Switzer Building
Washington, DC 20202.