The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) gives eligible students certain rights with respect to their education records. (An “eligible student” under FERPA is a student who is 18 years of age or older or who is attending a postsecondary institution.) These rights include:
1. The right to review and inspect his or her own education records. An eligible student has the right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days after the day the College receives a request for access. A student should submit to the appropriate College official a request form identifying the records the student wishes to inspect. The appropriate records custodian will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the records custodian to whom the request was submitted, that person shall advise the student of the correct records custodian to whom the request should be addressed.
2. The right to request an amendment of the education record. An eligible student has the right to seek amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes to be inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA.
A student who wishes to ask the College to amend a record should submit a written statement to the records custodian responsible for the record, clearly identifying the part of the record the student wants changed, and why it should be changed or is a violation of the student’s privacy rights. If the decision is not to amend the record, that office will notify the student in writing of its decision and advise the student regarding appropriate steps.
3. The right to provide written consent before personally identifiable information is disclosed, except when FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
The College may disclose education records without a student’s prior written consent when authorized by FERPA, including to school officials whom the College has determined to have “legitimate educational interests.” A school official typically includes a person employed by the College in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position (including law enforcement personnel and health staff); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student employed by the institution or who serves on official institutional committees. A school official may also include representatives of agencies under contract with the College who perform institutional services or functions for which the College would otherwise use its own employees. A school official typically has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities for the College.
Upon request, the College also discloses education records without consent to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll. Other disclosures of student records that may be made without student consent are available on the Registrar’s Office website.
4. The right to file a complaint. An eligible student has the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Wheaton College to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA is:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202
Release of student record information is generally not done at Wheaton College without the express written consent of the student. Exceptions to this statement include “Directory Information” and where otherwise permitted by FERPA. “Directory Information” includes the following, which may be released without the student’s consent: Name; local address; home address; e-mail address; local telephone number; home telephone number; photograph; date and place of birth; name, address and telephone number of parent, guardian and/or spouse as provided by the student; class year; dates of attendance; enrollment status (including current enrollment, full-time/part-time, withdrawn); major field(s) of study; degrees, honors and awards received (including Dean’s List); graduation date; name and dates of most recent educational institution attended; participation in officially recognized activities and sports; and weight and height of members of athletic teams.
Request to Restrict Directory Information
Students may request to withhold the release of Directory Information. To do so, a “Request for Non-Disclosure of Directory Information” form must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office. (A link to this form is provided within the Wheaton Portal). FERPA does not afford the right to restrict the College from disclosing whether you were ever enrolled at the College or any degrees awarded by the College. Please note two additional important details regarding placing a “No Disclosure” on your record:
1. Wheaton College receives many inquiries for directory information from a variety of sources outside the institution, including prospective employers, loan agencies, and churches. Having a “No Disclosure” on your record will preclude release of such information, even to these people.
2. A “No Disclosure” applies to ALL elements of directory information on a student’s record. The only exception is that Wheaton College will allow students who have completed a “Request for Non-Disclosure of Directory Information” form to authorize the release of only their local and permanent address and phone for the campus directory and switchboard.
A copy of The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), more details about your rights, and Wheaton College policy related to the Act are available from the Office of the Registrar and are detailed in the Student Handbook. Questions should be directed to the Registrar’s Office (firstname.lastname@example.org).