Goucher College FERPA Guidelines

Students have four primary rights under FERPA. They have the rights to: inspect and review their education records; have some control over the disclosure of information from their education record; amend their education records, under certain circumstances; and complain to the federal government if they believe the College is not complying with FERPA.

FERPA Annual Notice to Reflect Possible Federal and State Data Collection and Use

As of January 3, 2012, the U.S. Department of Education's FERPA regulations expand the circumstances under which your education records and personally identifiable information (PII) contained in such records - including your Social Security Number, grades, or other private information - may be accessed without your consent. First, the U.S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or state and local education authorities ("Federal and State Authorities") may allow access to your records and PII without your consent to any third party designated by a Federal or State Authority to evaluate a federal- or state-supported education program. The evaluation may relate to any program that is "principally engaged in the provision of education," such as early childhood education and job training, as well as any program that is administered by an education agency or institution. Second, Federal and State Authorities may allow access to your education records and PII without your consent to researchers performing certain types of studies, in certain cases even when we object to or do not request such research. Federal and State Authorities must obtain certain use-restriction and data security promises from the entities that they authorize to receive your PII, but the Authorities need not maintain direct control over such entities. In addition, in connection with Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems, State Authorities may collect, compile, permanently retain, and share without your consent PII from your education records, and they may track your participation in education and other programs by linking such PII to other personal information about you that they obtain from other Federal or State data sources, including workforce development, unemployment insurance, child welfare, juvenile justice, military service, and migrant student records systems.

 When do FERPA rights begin?

A student's FERPA rights begin when the student registers and attends his/her first class.

What are education records?

Under FERPA, education records are defined as records that are directly related to a student and are maintained by an education agency or institution or by a party acting for the agency or institution, unless the records fall into one of FERPA's excluded categories. Education records can exist in any medium, including: typed, computer generated, videotape, audiotape, film, microfilm, microfiche and email, among others.

Withholding the release of Directory Information

FERPA allows a student to request, while still enrolled, that the institution not release any "directory information" about him/her. Directory information is defined in the College's FERPA policy and includes the following information: name, local address, telephone number and e-mail address, home address and telephone number, date and place of birth, photograph, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, height and weight of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, including full- and part-time status, and graduation, including the listing of such information in the commencement program, major and minor fields of study, honors, degrees and awards received, previously attended educational agencies or institutions, class (freshman, sophomore, etc.), and anticipated date of graduation.

Institutions must comply with a request to withhold directory information. At Goucher College, students who wish to restrict the release of directory information must complete a Request To Restrict Directory Information form or otherwise notify Student Administrative Services in writing. Students have the choice of restricting all or a portion of their directory information. The student must submit his or her request in person to the SAS office. The restriction will stay in place until rescinded in writing by the student.

STUDENTS WHO WISH TO RESTRICT DIRECTORY INFORMATION SHOULD REALIZE THAT THIS ACTION COULD HAVE NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES. The names of students who have restricted their directory information will not appear in the commencement bulletin and other College publications. Also, employers, credit card companies, loan agencies, scholarship committees and the like will be denied any of your directory information and will be told: "I'm sorry, but we have no information available about this person's attendance at Goucher College."

Parent's access to a student's records

At the postsecondary level, parents have no inherent rights to access or inspect their son or daughter's education records. This right is limited solely to the student. At Goucher College, records may be released to parents only if the student has gone into their myGoucher account (under "FERPA") and indicated which outside party (ex. parent) should have access to this information. Parents who have been given access under FERPA by their student, should expect to be asked to provide documentation of their identity when requesting information from their student's education records.

Crisis situations/Emergencies

If non-directory information is needed to resolve a crisis or emergency situation, an education 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." When Goucher College is contacted to provide non-directory information in such a situation, including the location of a student on campus or the course schedule of a student, the request for information is referred to the Registrar's Office and/or Office of Public Safety who will determine an appropriate response to the request.

Student's right to inspect education records.

Students have the right under FERPA to inspect their education records, with some exceptions. Students who desire to inspect their records should submit to Student Administrative Services, the Registrar, the Academic Dean or other appropriate College official, a written request that identifies the record(s) they wish to inspect. The College official to whom the request is directed will make arrangements for access or direct the student to the appropriate official for this purpose.

Who to contact with questions/concerns

General questions may be directed to the Registrar’s Office or the Office of the General Counsel. Comments or suggestions should be addressed to Registrar Andrew Westfall (andrew.westfall@goucher.edu; 410-337-6500 or extension 6500).