Family Rights and Privacy Act
The following appears in the Vassar College Regulations.
Notification of Rights under FERPA
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students and former students (referred to collectively as “students” below) certain rights with respect to their education records. Education records are defined as those records directly related to a student and maintained by the institution or by a party acting for the institution. The act does exclude certain records and a listing of those exclusions may be obtained by contacting the Office of the Registrar.
A. Rights afforded by FERPA:
- The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days of the day the college receives a request for access. A student should submit to the registrar, dean, head of the academic department, or other appropriate official, a written request that identifies the record(s) the student wishes to inspect. The college official 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 college official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
- The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes are 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 write the college official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record the student wants changed, and specify why it should be changed. If the college decides not to amend the record as requested, the college will notify the student in writing of the decision and the student’s right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
- The right to provide written consent before the college discloses personally identifiable information (excluding directory information, see below) from the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
The college discloses education records without a student’s prior written consent under the FERPA exception for disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the college in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the college has contracted as its agent to provide a service instead of using college employees or officials (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing her or his tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill her or his professional responsibilities for the college.
- The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the 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 Avenu, SW
Washington, DC 20202-5901
B. Directory information
At its discretion the college may provide directory information without the written consent of the student in accordance with the provisions of FERPA. Directory information is defined as that information which would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. Designated directory information at Vassar College includes the following: student name, student ID number, address, telephone listing, electronic mail address, photograph, date and place of birth, major field of student including correlate sequence, dates of attendance, class level, enrollment status, participation in officially recognized activities or sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, degree received and honors awarded, and the most recent educational institution attended. Students may block the public disclosure of directory information by notifying the Office of the Registrar in writing. Requests for non-disclosure will be honored by the college until removed in writing by the student. Students may also control the types of directory information displayed in the online Student Directory by going to the Student Directory page of the Vassar website and logging into “set student display preferences.”