Registrar's Office

FERPA: Annual Notification to Students

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) guarantees that the academic records for students over 18 years old cannot be discussed with anyone except the student or authorized University personnel. However, certain information classified as "Directory Information" is available for public consumption unless the student specifically directs that it be withheld. Public Directory Information as defined by the act includes: Student's name, addresses (campus, home, e-mail), telephone listings, photograph, date and place of birth, major field of study, class year, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, enrollment status (e.g., undergraduate or graduate; full-time, half-time, part-time), degrees, honors, and awards received, and the most recent previous educational institution attended.

To request that directory information be withheld, please contact the Registrar's Office.

FERPA affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. They are:

  1. The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days of the day the University receives a request for access.
    Students should submit to the registrar, dean, head of the academic department, or other appropriate official, written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The University official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the University official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.

  2. The right to request the amendment of the student's education records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading.
    Students may ask the University to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading.  They should write the University official responsible for the record, clearly identifying the part of the record that they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the University decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the University will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his or her right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.

  3. The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
    One exception that permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the University has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility.

  4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failure by Clark University 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
600 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-4605

Federal and State Data Collection and Use
As of January 3, 2012, the U.S. Department of Education's FERPA regulations expand the circumstances under which student education records and personally identifiable information (PII) contained in such records--including Social Security Number, grades, or other private information--may be accessed without student consent. First, the U.S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or state and local education authorities ("Federal and State Authorities") may allow access to records and PII without student consent to any third party designated by a Federal or State Authority to evaluate a federal- or state-supported education program. The evaluation may relate to any program that is "principally engaged in the provision of education," such as early childhood education and job training, as well as any program that is administered by an education agency or institution. Second, Federal and State Authorities may allow access to education records and PII without student consent to researchers performing certain types of studies, in certain cases even when Authorities object to or do not request such research. Federal and State Authorities must obtain certain use-restriction and data security promises from the entities that they authorize to receive PII, but the Authorities need not maintain direct control over such entities. In addition, in connection with Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems, State Authorities may collect, complile, permanently retain, and share without student consent PII from education records, and they may track participation in education and other programs by linking such PII to other personal information obtained from other Federal or State data sources, including workforce development, unemployment insurance, child welfare, juvenile justice, military service, and migrant student records systems.