Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute complies with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (Section 438 of the General Education Provisions Act, Title IV of Public Law 90-247), as amended. This Act provides that students attending any post-secondary educational institution which receives federal funds are entitled to access to their education records kept by the institution in order to inspect and review those records. Students are entitled to petition the Institute for the amendment or correction of any information in their education records which they feel is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of their privacy or other rights. Guidelines are also provided for the conduct of informal and formal hearings at which a student may present evidence that the records are inaccurate or misleading and seek to have them amended or corrected. Rensselaer also intends to comply fully with provisions of the act which limit the disclosure of certain information contained in students’ education records to the following circumstances:
- (a) with the student’s prior written consent;
- (b) as an item of directory information* (as defined in the Institute’s compliance policies) which the student has not refused to permit the Institute to disclose;
- (c) under the provisions of the Act which allow a university to disclose information without the student’s prior written consent (see the Institute’s compliance policies).
* Directory Information: The Institute intends to make certain “directory information” available for public use. This would be in connection with publicity of athletic events, honors, etc. The following constitutes directory information: the student’s name, address, photographs, telephone number, e-mail, date and place of birth, major field of study, academic load, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, degrees, honors and awards received, class year in school, and most recent previous educational agency or institution attended. A student who does not wish any of this information to be released for a given semester should notify the Registrar in writing by the end of the second week of classes. Directory information is published in various forms during the year and Rensselaer can withhold information only in those cases where written requests are received in accordance with the above-mentioned guidelines. Students must fill out a request to prevent disclosure of directory information for each semester they wish to withhold such information.
Copies of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s complete Statement of Policy and Procedures in Compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act may be obtained upon request from the Office of the Registrar. Any student who believes, after seeking correction through the internal grievance procedures specified in Rensselaer’s policy statement that the Institute has failed to comply with the provisions of this Act, has the right to file a written complaint with the Family Policy Compliance Office, Department of Education, 400 Maryland Ave SW, Washington, D.C. 20202.