Purpose of FERPA
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records, affording them certain rights with respect to those records. For purposes of definition, education records are those records which are:
- Directly related to a student and
- Maintained by an institution or a party acting for the institution.
FERPA gives students who attend Mines the right to inspect and review their own education records. Furthermore, students have other rights, including the right to request amendment of records and to control the disclosure of personally identifiable information from these records. Additional information for students to make such requests, can be accessed here.
FERPA does not apply to records of applicants for admission who are denied acceptance or, if accepted, do not attend Mines. FERPA does not apply to records created or received after an individual is no longer a student in attendance. FERPA does not apply to the records of deceased students.
Additional information on employee responsibilities regarding student data, can be accessed here.
Definition of Educational Records
Those records directly related to a student and maintained by the institution or by a party acting for the institution are considered educational records. The term “educational records” does not include the following:
- Records of instructional, supervisory, administrative, and certain educational personnel which are in the sole possession of the maker thereof, and are not accessible or revealed to any other individualexcept a substitute who performs on a temporary basis (as defined in the institutional personnel policy) the duties of the individual who made the records.
- Records maintained by a law enforcement unit of the educational agency or institution that were created by that law enforcement unit for the purpose of law enforcement.
- Records relating to individuals who are employed by the institution, which are made and maintained in the normal course of business, relate exclusively to individuals in their capacity as employees and are not available for use for any other purpose.
- Records relating to a student which are:
- Created or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional, acting in his/her professional capacity or assisting in a paraprofessional capacity or assisting in a paraprofessional capacity.
- Used solely in connection with the provision of treatment to the student.
- Not disclosed to anyone other than individuals providing such treatment.
DEFINITION OF LEGITIMATE EDUCATIONAL INTEREST
It means the demonstrated need to know by those officials of an institution who act in the student’s educational interest, including faculty, administration, student employees, clerical and professional employees, and other persons who manage student records information.
Any school official who needs information about a student in the course of performing instructional, supervisory, advisory or administrative duties for Colorado School of Mines has a legitimate educational interest.
FERPA directory information is information contained in the student’s education record that generally would not be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. Under current Mines policy, the following information is designated as directory information:
- Student Name
- Student address (including local mailing, permanent addresses)
- Telephone Number (including local and permanent)
- University email address
- Photographs and videos taken or maintained by the institution, including student ID picture
- Date of birth
- Major, minor, and field of study
- Dates of attendance
- Enrollment status (e.g., full time or part-time student status)
- Degree status (e.g., expected graduation dates and/or conferral dates/terms) and dates
- Previous educational institutions attended
- Participation in officially recognized activities and sports and weight and height of members of athletic teams
- Classification Level (Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior, Graduate, etc.)
- Mines recognized academic honors and awards
Although these items are designated by Colorado School of Mines as directory information, only a limited amount of this information is disclosed by Mines officials. The University retains the discretion to refuse to disclose directory information if it believes such disclosure would be an infringement of the student’s privacy rights. Lists of students including any directory information above are not normally allowed to be released for non-Mines purposes.
FERPA directory information should not be confused with the directory information listed in online or printed student directories. Please contact CCIT’s Help Center for information concerning online student directories and information.
Students may authorize Mines to release their education records to their parents, a prospective employer, insurance companies, etc., by providing written consent. The notice of written consent must include the following information:
- It must specify the records to be released (transcripts, etc.).
- State the purpose of the disclosure.
- Identify the party or class of parties to whom disclosure may be made.
- Be signed and dated by the student.
At the post-secondary level, parents have no inherent rights to inspect a student’s education records. The right to inspect is limited solely to the student. Records may be released to the parents only under the following circumstances:
- Through the written consent of the student
- In compliance with a subpoena
- By submission of evidence that the parents declare the student as a dependent on their most recent Federal Income Tax form (IRS Code of 1954, Section 152). This information should be provided directly to the Registrar’s Office by the parent.
The annual FERPA notification can be accessed here.