FERPA

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords eligible students certain rights with respect to their education records. (An “eligible student” under FERPA is a student who is 18 years of age or older or who attends a postsecondary institution at any age.) These rights include:

1. The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days after the day the School of Law receives a request for access. A student should submit to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs a written request that identifies the record(s) the student wishes to inspect. The school official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.

2. The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA. Eligible students who wish to ask the School to amend a record should write the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it should be changed. If the School decides not to amend the record as requested by the eligible student, the School will notify the eligible student of the decision and advise him or her of the student’s right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the eligible student when notified of the right to a hearing.

3. The right to provide written consent before the School discloses personally identifiable information (PII) from the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.

4. FERPA permits the disclosure of PII from students’ education records, without the prior written consent of the student, if the disclosure meets certain conditions found in the FERPA regulations:

  • To school officials:  The Law School 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 typically includes a person employed by the School in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position (including law en­forcement unit personnel and health staff); a person serving on the board of trustees; 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 School 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 use 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. 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 School.
  • To officials of another school where the student seeks or intends to enroll, or where the student is already enrolled if the disclosure is for purposes related to the student’s enrollment or transfer.
  • To authorized representatives of the U. S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or State and local educational authorities.  Disclosures under this provision may be made in connection with an audit or evaluation of Federal- or State-supported education programs, or for the enforcement of or compliance with Federal legal requirements that relate to those programs. These entities may make further disclosures of PII to outside entities that are designated by them as their authorized representatives to conduct any audit, evaluation, or enforcement or compliance activity on their behalf.
  • In connection with financial aid for which the student has applied or which the student has received, if the information is necessary to determine eligibility for the aid, determine the amount of the aid, determine the conditions of the aid, or enforce the terms and conditions of the aid.
  • To organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, the school, in order to: (a) develop, validate, or administer predictive tests; (b) administer student aid programs; or (c) improve instruction.
  • To accrediting organizations to carry out their accrediting functions.
  • To parents of an eligible student if the student is a dependent for IRS tax purposes.
  • To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena.
  • To appropriate officials in connection with a health or safety emergency.
  • Information the school has designated as “directory information” unless the student has requested such directory information be withheld [see below].
  • To a victim of an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense, the final results of the disciplinary proceeding with respect to that alleged crime or offense, regardless of the finding.
  • To the general public, the final results of a disciplinary proceeding, if the school determines the student is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense and the student has committed a violation of the school’s rules or policies with respect to the allegation made against him or her.
  • To parents of a student regarding the student’s violation of any Federal, State, or local law, or of any rule or policy of the school, governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance if the school determines the student committed a disciplinary violation and the student is under the age of 21.

5. Except for disclosures to school officials, disclosures related to some judicial orders or lawfully issued subpoenas, disclosures of directory information, and disclosures to the student, § 99.32 of FERPA regulations requires the institution to record the disclosure. Eligible students have a right to inspect and review the record of disclosures.

6. By law, the Charleston School of Law may release the following “Directory Information” without written consent by the student, unless the student has advised the School to the contrary in accordance with the School’s procedures for “opting-out” of this release (please see below).  “Directory Information” is defined as information contained in the education records of a student that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed.  The School of Law designates the below information as “directory information” :

  • name,
  • address,
  • telephone number,
  • campus email address,
  • photograph,
  • date and place of birth,
  • dates of attendance,
  • enrollment status,
  • degrees sought and conferred,
  • awards and honors,
  • membership in officially recognized School educational programs or organizations, and
  • photograph of the student.

A student has the option of completing an Authorization and Consent to Release Education Records, available through the Office of the Registrar, and requesting in writing that his or her Directory Information not be released.

If a student requests in writing that his or her Directory Information not be released, the student will not be included in news releases in area and home newspapers or on radio and TV broadcasts regarding honors, awards, or participation in campus activities.  Such a student would also not be eligible to be included in campus programs, publications, campus directories, School of Law graduation composites, or on the School of Law’s website or campus brochures.

7. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the School 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 Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202

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