Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
The federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of (FERPA) governs release of and access to Student education records. Academic records considered to be official are maintained by Enrollment Management for all students at MUSC. This office acts as custodian of these records. A student has the following rights:
- The right to inspect and review your education record within a reasonable time after the University receives a request for access. If you want to review your record, contact the University office that maintains the record to make appropriate arrangements. You may request contents of the file that is maintained by Enrollment Management to be photocopied by staff at the published fee (delivery within 45 days, by law) excluding, materials submitted in support of the admission process (e.g., transcripts from other institutions, test scores, etc.), confidential recommendations for which you have waived your rights to inspect, and parental financial information.
- The right to request an amendment of your education record if you believe it is inaccurate or misleading. If you feel there is an error in your record, you should submit a statement to the University official responsible for the record, clearly identifying the part of the record you want changed and why you believe it is inaccurate or misleading. That office will notify you of their decision and advise you regarding appropriate steps if you do not agree with the decision.
- The right to consent to disclosure of personally identifiable information contained in your education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception which permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to school officials with “legitimate educational interests.” A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official has a “need to know” information from your education record in order to fulfill his or her official responsibilities. Examples of people who may have access, depending on their official duties, and only within the context of those duties, include: university faculty and staff, agents of the institution, public safety, students employed by the institution or who serve on official institutional committees, and representatives of agencies under contract with the University.
- The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the University to comply with the requirements of FERPA.
A copy of the Act may be obtained at the U.S. Department of Education at http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/reg/ferpa/index.html
In general, access by non-University persons is allowed only upon prior written authorization by the student. There are, however, some exceptions. For example, directory information may be released without the student’s consent and may include the following:
- Addresses (postal and e-mail)
- Telephone numbers
- Digital images
- Dates of attendance
- Field of study
- Degrees received
- Status (including current enrollment, full-time/part-time, withdrawn)
- Honors received
- Previous educational institutions attended.
Please note that you have the right to withhold the release of directory information. To do so, you must complete a “Directory Information Withhold request form” below.
Please note two important details regarding placing a “No Release” on your record:
- The University receives inquiries for directory information from a variety of sources outside the institution, including friends, parents, relatives, prospective employers, the news media and honor societies. Having a “No Release” on your record will preclude release of such information, even to those people.
- A “No Release” applies to all elements of directory information on your record. MUSC does not apply a “No Release” differentially to the various directory information data elements.
All MUSC Students are notified of their rights by the Office of Enrollment Management on an annual basis. Annual FERPA notifications are sent via email on the first day after the fall semester drop/add date.
Questions concerning FERPA should be referred to the Office of the Registrar.
Melissa A, Freeland, MSM
Medical University of South Carolina
If you suspect a FERPA-related privacy breach has occurred, please contact the University Compliance office at https://education.musc.edu/leadership/provost/compliance as soon as possible. They will assess the situation, consulting with others on campus such as Legal Counsel or Enrollment Management as necessary. If it turns out to be an unauthorized release of FERPA protected information, they will advise appropriate remedies and/or documentation.