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The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records.
They are:

The right to inspect and review 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.

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 identify the part of the record 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.

The right to consent to disclosure of personally identifiable information contained in the student's 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 is a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement 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.

Persons and Entities Entitled to Review a Student's Education Records Without the Student's Consent

Notwithstanding the general rule that a student must consent to the release of personally identifiable information from his/her records, FERPA permits (but does not require) limited disclosure to the individuals/entities identified as:
  • School officials with a legitimate educational interest. A "school official" may include:
    • a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research or support staff position, including but not limited to law enforcement unit personnel, health staff and in-house attorneys;
    • contractors, consultants, volunteers or other outside parties with whom the University has contracted or delegated certain educationally-related functions to provide service under retainer or agreement; including but not limited to collection agency, outsourced service company, agent, attorney, auditor, etc.;
    • a person serving on the Board of Trustees;
    • a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his/her tasks.
  • "Legitimate educational interest" is defined as any authorized interest or activity undertaken in the name of the University for which access to an education record is necessary or appropriate to the proper performance of the undertaking. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if, in the judgment of the individual/office responsible for requested information, the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility. The information sought and provided must be pertinent to and used within the context of official University business and not for a purpose extraneous to the official's area of responsibility.
  • Release of a student's education record to a school official having legitimate educational interest does not constitute institutional authorization to transmit, share, or disclose any or all of the information to a third party, within or outside the University. An unauthorized disclosure of personally identifiable information from the education records of the student is prohibited.
  • Parents of a student who is claimed as a dependent, as defined by Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. A student is a dependent if the parent claims the student as a dependent for the current tax reporting year.
    • A "parent" includes a natural parent, a guardian, or someone acting as a student's parent in the absence of a parent or guardian.
    • All students will be presumed to be non-dependents unless (1) the student verifies that he/she is a dependent student, or (2) the parent(s) provide their most recent filed IRS tax return with evidence to the contrary.
    • Divorced or separated parents of dependent students may be provided equal access to records, unless the University is provided with evidence of a court order, state law, or legally binding document that specifically revokes those rights, or unless the University, in the exercise of its discretion, deems such disclosure ill-advised.
    • Information may be disclosed to parents and legal guardians of students under the age of 21, without the student's consent, regarding the student's violation of any federal, state or local law, or any rule or policy of the institution governing the use, possession, or distribution of alcohol, narcotics, or other controlled substances.
  • Officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll or is enrolled so long as disclosure is for purposes related to student's enrollment or transfer.
  • Authorized representatives of the Comptroller General and of the Attorney General of the United States, the Secretary of the Department of Education, or state and local educational authorities in connection with the audit or evaluation of federal- and state- supported programs, or for enforcement of or compliance with legal requirements applicable to federally-supported education programs.
  • Veterans Administration officials not covered by FERPA but specified under Title 38, section 3690 (c), United States Code.
  • Persons or organizations providing financial aid to students, or determining financial aid decisions, but only to the extent necessary to determine eligibility, or the amount or condition of such aid, or to enforce the terms of said aid.
  • Appropriate persons, including parents, in connection with an emergency, if knowledge of the information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals. The totality of the circumstances pertaining to a threat to the health or safety of a student or other individuals will be taken into account, and the University will disclose only if there is an articulable and significant threat. The threat and the parties to whom the University discloses information will be recorded.
  • Organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, educational agencies or institutions to develop, validate, and administer predictive tests, to administer student aid programs, or to improve instruction, but only if personal identification of the student is not made to individuals outside the organization and the information is destroyed when no longer needed for their projects.
  • Accrediting organizations carrying out their accrediting functions.
  • Persons in compliance with a judicial order or a lawfully issued subpoena, provided the institution makes a reasonable attempt to notify the student in advance of compliance. The student bears the responsibility for keeping an up-to-date address on file in the Office of the University Registrar. Certain law enforcement-related subpoenas, however, can mandate the release of information without notification to the student of either the subpoena or the information released.
  • An alleged victim of any crime of violence or of a non-forcible sex offense, but only of the final results of any institutional disciplinary proceeding against the perpetrator of that crime with respect to the crime, and regardless of the outcome of the proceeding. Also, if the University determines through its disciplinary proceeding that a student has committed a violation of the University's rules or policies with respect to an alleged crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense, the University may reveal to anyone the "final results," which are limited by FERPA to include only the name of the student being disciplined, a description of the violation committed, and any sanction imposed by the University on that student. Final results of disciplinary proceedings reached prior to October 7, 1998 may not be released.
  • University officials in defense of a claim. If a parent or eligible student initiates a legal claim or otherwise takes any adversarial position in writing against the University, the University may disclose to the court or other entity that has authority to take specific action against the University, the student's education records that are necessary for the University to defend itself.
  • Information about registered sex offender. Information provided to the University under a community notification program concerning a student required to register as a sex offender.
  • Return of record to creator. If the University has created any record, it may disclose that information to teachers and other school officials with legitimate educational interests, such as persons who need to verify the accuracy or authenticity of the information. Likewise, the University may return a record to its identified source to be able to verify its authenticity.

The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning the alleged failures by the University of Alabama at Birmingham 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

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