Your Rights as a Student Under the Family Educational Rights



It is the policy of Indiana State University that all practices and procedures related to the education records of students shall be in accord with the provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended. This policy has been implemented by the development of guidelines for record keepers and a listing of the education records on campus. Both the guidelines and the listing are available for review by students as indicated below. The following questions and answers provide an outline of students’ rights under the Act.



Q. As an enrolled student at Indiana State University, what rights do I have regarding my University records?

A. You have the right to inspect and review all your records that meet the Act’s definition of “education records.”

Q. What is the definition of “education records”?

A. Education records are all records maintained by the University about you.

There are seven exceptions:

  1. Personal notes of Indiana State University staff and faculty.
  2. Employment records of all employees whose employment is not dependent upon student status.
  3. Medical and counseling records used solely for treatment.
  4. Records in the Public Safety Department.
  5. Financial records of your parents.
  6. Records that contain only information relating to a person after that person is no longer a student, such as alumni records;
  7. Confidential letters and statements of recommendation for admission, employment, or honorary recognition placed in your records after January 1, 1975, for which you have waived the right to inspect and review.

Q. Is there any situation in which the University may insist that I waive my rights?
A. Under no conditions may you be required to waive your rights under this Act before receiving University services or benefits.

Q. Where are my records kept?
A. Records are not maintained in a single location on the campus. Requests to review your records must be made to each of the offices that maintain your records. In some instances you may be required to submit in writing your request to review a record; the Act allows up to 45 days for honoring such a request. Most likely you have education records in the Office of Registration and Records, the dean of your college, your major department, and any other campus offices with which you have been involved such as the Student Academic Services Center, Student Financial Aid, Residential Life, and Student Judicial Programs. A list of the kinds of education records maintained on campus, their location, and titles of personnel responsible for those records is a part of the University policy for implementation of this Act and is available in Parsons Hall, room 203.

Q. What if I do not agree with what is in my records?
A. You may challenge any information contained in your “educational records” which you believe to be inaccurate, misleading, or inappropriate. This right does not extend to reviewing grades unless the grade assigned by your professor was inaccurately recorded in your records. The first step in challenging the record is to request of the record-keeper or the person responsible for placing the data in the record that the record be amended. If the request to amend the record is denied, you may file a request for a hearing; a hearing officer will be appointed; and a decision will be made. If the record is not amended as a result of the hearing, you may insert in the record an explanation of your reasons for believing the record to be inaccurate, misleading, or inappropriate. The explanation becomes a part of the record until the record itself is destroyed, and the explanation you have written is included every time the contents of the record are disclosed. You also have the right to file complaints with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Office, room 4511, Switzer Building, 400 Maryland Avenue SW, Washington, D.C. 20202.

Q. May I determine which third parties can view my education records?
A. Under the Act, your prior written consent must be obtained before information may be disclosed to third parties unless they are exempted from this provision. These exemptions include:

  1. Requests from Indiana State University faculty and staff with a legitimate educational “need to know” (except employees of the Public Safety Department).
  2. Requests in accordance with a lawful subpoena or court order.
  3. Requests from representatives of agencies or organizations from which you have received financial aid.
  4. Requests from officials of the educational institutions in which you intend to enroll.
  5. Requests from other persons specifically exempted from the prior consent requirement by the Act (certain federal and state officials, organizations conducting studies on behalf of the University, accrediting organizations).
  6. Parents of a dependent student as defined by the Internal Revenue Code will receive notification of sanctions of certain violations of the Code of Student Conduct (See Section III, D., of the Code of Student Conduct, “Types of Disciplinary Action” for details).
  7. Requests for directory information (please refer to the next question for an explanation).

Q. What is meant by the term “directory information?”
A. The University, in accordance with the Act, has designated the following categories of information about you as public unless you choose to exercise your right to have this information withheld. These categories are:

  1. Full name
  2. Address, campus, home, and e-mail
  3. Telephone listing
  4. E-mail address
  5. Major field of study, includes teacher licensure majors and minors
  6. Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
  7. Weight, height, and position of members of athletic teams
  8. Dates of attendance (including current classification and year, matriculation, and withdrawal dates)
  9. Degrees, awards, and honors, and dates received including honor roll designation
  10. The most recent previous educational institution attended
  11. Full or part-time status.

Q. What kinds of inquiries does the University receive for “directory information?”
A. The University receives many inquiries for “directory information” from a variety of sources including friends, parents, relatives, prospective employers, graduate schools, honor societies, licensing agencies, government agencies, and news media. Please consider very carefully the consequences of any decision by you to remove these items from the list of “directory information.” Should you decide to inform the University not to release this “directory information,” any further requests will be refused. For example, if you direct the University not to release your directory information, the University could not release your telephone number or address to a family member wishing to notify you of a serious illness or crisis in the family. A prospective employer requesting confirmation of your major field of study, address, or date of birth would also be denied access to such items should you withdraw them from the list of “directory information.” The University will honor your request to withhold the items listed above but cannot assume responsibility to contact you for subsequent permission to release them. Regardless of the effect upon you, the University assumes no liability for honoring your instructions that such information be withheld. Should you wish to file a form withdrawing information in the “directory” classification, you should complete the form developed for this purpose, which will be available for your use in the Office of Registration and Records at registration time. After you have filed this form, the Registrar will notify the appropriate University offices and begin to comply with your wishes as soon as possible.

Q. Where can I find out more information about the provisions of the Act?
A. Several documents are available in room 203 of Parsons Hall for further study. They include:

  • Guidelines for record keepers on campus in implementing provisions of the Act
  • A list of education records on campus arranged alphabetically by classification and with location and custodian identified for each.
  • The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 as amended
  • Department of Health, Education, and Welfare Final Rule on Education Records.

If you have questions or if you need assistance in understanding and exercising your rights under the provisions of the Act, assistance is available in the same office.

Q. Whom should I contact to make a complaint?
A. When you believe the University is not complying with the Act, please direct your comments to the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, Parsons Hall, room 203.

*(From Code of Student Conduct)