Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) Information
General FERPA Information
This institution is covered by the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) which is designed to protect the student’s rights with regard to educational records maintained by the institution. The intent of this legislation is to protect the rights of students and to ensure the privacy and accuracy of education records. The Act applies to all institutions that are the recipients of federal aid administered by the Secretary of Education. Additional details regarding FERPA can be found at: http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html
Georgia Southern is subject to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA); U.S.C. 1232g, which is designed to protect the student’s rights with regard to education records maintained by the institution. Under this Act, a student has the following rights:
- The right to inspect and review education records maintained by this institution that pertain to the student within 45 days after the day the institution 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 right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes are inaccurate, misleading or a violation of privacy or other rights. A student who wishes to ask the institution to amend a record should write to the Office of the Registrar, clearly identifying the part(s) of the record the student wants changed, and specifying why the information should be changed; and
- The right to provide written consent before the institution discloses personally identifiable information (PII) from the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html
Georgia Southern University 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 typically includes a person employed by the institution in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee. A school official also may include a volunteer or contractor outside of the institution who performs an institutional service or function for which the school would otherwise use its own employees and who is under the direct control of the school with respect to the user and maintenance of PII from education records, such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent or a student volunteering to assist another school official in performing his or her tasks. Clinical preceptors/supervisors will be considered school officials when they are supervising a student’s clinical education. A school official typically has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities for the institution. Upon request, the school also discloses education records without consent to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the institution to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the office that administers FERPA are:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202
Any student, regardless of age, who is or has been in attendance at Georgia Southern University has the right to inspect and review his or her “Education Record” within a reasonable period of time after requesting to do so (not to exceed 45 days). However, the student shall not have access to:
- Financial records of parents.
- Confidential letters or recommendation concerning admissions placed in the record prior to January 1, 1975.
- Letters of recommendation concerning admission, application for employment or honors for which the student has signed a waiver.
- Transcripts received from other institutions. Students may inspect transcripts from other institutions but may not obtain copies of these records. Students may request personal copies of these records from the institutions that issued them.
- Treatment Records.
- Title IX investigation information, except the outcome and any resulting sanctions may be provided to the complainant/victim.
- Records that are kept in the sole possession of the maker of the record and are not accessible or revealed to any other person except a temporary substitute for the maker of the record.
- Legitimate Educational Interest – shall be determined on a case-by-case basis. The information requested must be necessary for the requestor to perform appropriate tasks specific to their job performance. The information must be relevant to accomplishment of a specific task or to make a determination about the student. https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2004/privacy/section_4b.asp
- Education Record – those records that are: (1) directly related to a student; and (2) maintained by an educational agency or institution, or by a party acting for the agency or institution.
- Student – any individual who attends or has attended the University. For purposes of FERPA, Georgia Southern University considers an enrolled student to be “in attendance” when the student begins attending class. Note: the definition of “student” set forth is only for use in connection with this guidance. For the official University definition of “student”, please refer to the Georgia Southern University Student Code of Conduct.
Directory Information: In accordance with federal law, a university may exempt certain student information from the confidentiality provisions of FERPA. Georgia Southern University has defined Directory Information to include:
- Student’s name
- Enrollment status and enrolled hours
- Post office box
- Local telephone number
- Classification (freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, or graduate student)
- Participation in activities
- Weight and height and photograph of members of athletic teams
- Dates of attendance
- Degrees and awards received
- Thesis/dissertation title and faculty mentor
- Most recent educational institution attended.
This information is considered public information and will be released to those requesting such information unless the student has specifically requested that the information in this category be restricted. Students who wish to prohibit the release of Directory Information and have their records marked confidential may send an email to email@example.com for further direction and such information will not be released. However, requests that directory information be withheld from a written publication must be received in sufficient time to prevent delay in processing that publication.
Solomon Amendment: The University will also release additional specific information as required by the Solomon Amendment (10 U.S.C. sec. 983) when requested by appropriate agencies. Additional information provided under this federal law includes permanent home address, permanent home telephone and date of birth.
Release of personally identifiable student information will not be allowed without the written consent of the student except as follows:
- Georgia Southern University personnel, where such persons have a legitimate educational interest and demonstrate a need to know to the official responsible for the record.
- Officials of other agencies or institutions where the student seeks to enroll. The student will be notified of the release of such information and will be provided a copy of the record if requested.
- Representatives of Federal Agencies authorized by law to have access to education records, and state education authorities.
- Appropriate persons in connection with a student’s application for receipt of financial aid.
- State and local officials to whom information must be released pursuant to a state statute adopted prior to November 19, 1974.
- Organizations conducting studies for the institution.
- Accrediting organizations.
- Parents of a dependent student, as determined by the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, as amended.
- Necessary persons in emergency situations to protect health and safety.
- Persons designated in subpoenas or court orders. (Records will be released in compliance with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena. However, every reasonable effort will be made to notify the student in advance of the compliance).
The following records are considered restricted and are not included in the “Education Records” noted above. They are not available for inspection by the student or his/her representative under FERPA except noted below:
- Records kept by education personnel which remain in the sole possession of the maker.
- Law enforcement records maintained by Public Safety.
- Treatment records, by definition, are not available to anyone other than the professionals providing treatment to the student, or to physicians or other appropriate professionals of the students choice.
How to Update FERPA Information
Students who still have access to their MyGeorgiaSouthern Portal will be able to update their FERPA information by following the steps below:
- Log in to their MyGeorgiaSouthern Portal.
- Click the Settings icon with their name in the top right-hand corner and then go to Personal Settings.
- From there, the student will click on the “Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) Consent and Online Family Services” and update the information listed by either adding or remove/rescind family members.
Students in this population are those who have not been enrolled in classes at Georgia Southern in at least 3 calendar years.
If your MyGeorgiaSouthern account has been inactivated and you need to update your FERPA contacts, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You must provide the following information:
- First Name
- Last Name
- Relationship to you (i.e. Father, Mother, Stepfather, Stepmother, Grandfather, Grandmother, Sibling, Spouse, Legal Guardian, Other)
- Email address (for the Family member you are adding)
Last updated: 7/25/2022