Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), 20 U.S.C. §1232g, and the Texas Public Information Act, Texas Government Code §552.001 et seq., are respectively a federal and state law that mandate the review and disclosure of student educational records. In accordance with these laws, the University has adopted the following policy. Individuals are informed of their rights under these laws through this policy, which is included in the University Handbook of Operating Procedures (HOP) and Catalog. The Catalog is available in the Registrar's Office and the Office of Admissions and the HOP is available in the University Library, administrative offices, and on the UT Tyler web site.
The University will not permit access to or the release of personally identifiable information contained in student education records without the written consent of the student to any party, except as follows:
- to appropriate university officials who require access to educational records in order to perform their legitimate educational duties;
- to officials of other schools in which the student seeks or intends to enroll, upon request of these officials, and upon the condition that the student be notified and receive a copy of the record if desired;
- to federal, state, or local officials or agencies authorized by law;
- in connection with a student's application for, or receipt of, financial aid;
- to accrediting organizations or organizations conducting educational studies, provided that these organizations do not release personally identifiable data and destroy such data when it is no longer needed for the purpose it was obtained;
- to the parents of a dependent student as defined in section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, provided a reasonable effort is made to notify the student in advance;
- in compliance with a judicial order or subpoena, provided a reasonable effort is made to notify the student in advance unless such subpoena specifically directs the institution not to disclose the existence of a subpoena;
- in an emergency situation if the information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the students of other persons; or
- to an alleged victim of any crime of violence, the results of the alleged perpetrator's disciplinary proceeding may be released.
- research papers and theses authored by the student will be available to interested members of the public.
The University will release information in student education records to appropriate University officials as indicated in (1) above when such records are needed by administrators, faculty, or staff in furtherance of the educational or business purposes of the student or University.
A record of requests for disclosure and such disclosure of personally identifiable information from student education records shall be maintained the Office of the Registrar for each student and will also be made available for inspection pursuant to this policy. If the institution discovers that a third party who has received student records from the institution has released or failed to destroy such records in violation of this policy, it will prohibit access to educational records for five (5) years. Respective records no longer subject to audit nor presently under request for access may be purged according to regular schedules.
At its discretion, the University may release Directory Information, which shall include:
- name, address, telephone number
- major field of study at UT Tyler
- dates of attendance
- most recent previous educational institution attended
- degrees, certificates and awards received
- date of graduation
- e-mail address
- participation in officially recognized activities and sports
- weight and height of members of athletic teams
- enrollment status (e.g., undergraduate or graduate; full-time or part-time)
Students may have all Directory Information withheld by notifying the Office of the Registrar in writing by the census date of each semester. If the student restricts the release of Directory Information, a notation is placed in the student record system and no information can be released on that student. Request for non-disclosure will be honored by the institution until the student notifies the Office of the Registrar in writing that Directory Information may be released.
All other information may not be released without written consent of the student. Grades, student identification numbers, ethnic background, and student schedules may not be released to anyone other than the student.
Access to File
Upon written request, the University shall provide a student with access to his or her educational records. The Executive Vice President for Business Affairs has been designated by the institution to coordinate the inspection and review procedures for student education records, which include admissions files, academic files, and financial files. Students wishing to review their education records must make written requests to the Executive Vice President for Business Affairs listing the item or items of interest. Education records covered by the Act will be made available within 45 days of the request.
Educational records do not include:
- financial records of the student's parents or guardian;
- confidential letters of recommendation which were placed in the educational records of a student prior to January 1, 1975;
- records of instructional, administrative, and educational personnel which are kept in sole possession of the maker and are not accessible or revealed to any other individual except a temporary substitute for the maker;
- records of law enforcement units;
- employment records related exclusively to an individual's employment capacity;
- medical and psychological records;
- thesis or research paper; or
- records that only contain information about an individual after the individual is no longer a student at the institution.
Challenge to Record
Students may challenge the accuracy of their educational records. Students who believe that their education records contain information that is inaccurate or misleading, or is otherwise in violation of their privacy may discuss their problems informally with the Registrar. If agreement is reached with respect to the student's request, the appropriate records will be amended. If not, the student will be notified within a reasonable period of time that the records will not be amended, and they will be informed by the Registrar of their right to a formal hearing.
Student requests for a formal hearing must be made in writing to the Registrar who, within a reasonable period of time after receiving such requests, will inform students of the date, place and the time of the hearing. Students may present evidence relevant to the issues raised and may be assisted or represented at the hearings by one or more persons of their choice, including attorneys, at the student's expense. The hearing officer that will adjudicate such challenges will be appointed by the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs.
Decisions of the hearing officer will be final, will be based solely on the evidence presented at the hearing, will consist of the written statements summarizing the evidence and stating the reasons for the decisions, and will be delivered to all parties concerned.
The education records will be corrected or amended in accordance with the decision of the hearing officer, if the decision is in favor of the student. If the decision is unsatisfactory to the student, the student may place with the education records statements commenting on the information in the records or statements setting forth any reasons for disagreeing with the decision of the hearing officer, or both.
The statements will be placed in the education records, maintained as part of the student's records, and released whenever the records in question are disclosed.
Students who believe that the adjudications of their challenges were unfair or not in keeping with the provisions of the Act may appeal in writing to the President of the institution.
Students may have copies of their educational records upon requests. These copies will be made at the student's expense at rates authorized in the Texas Public Information Act, except for transcripts and other records which may be subject to specific fees pursuant to other legislative enactments. Official copies of academic records or transcripts will not be released for students who have a delinquent financial obligation or a valid "hold" at UT Tyler.
Complaints regarding alleged failures to comply with the provisions of the FERPA may be submitted in writing to the Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW, Washington, D.C. 20202-4605. Additional FERPA information can be found at http://www.uttyler.edu/students/studentaffairs/ and in the UT Tyler Student Handbook.