Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), a Federal law (section 9528), gives parents certain rights with respect to their children’s education records. These rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level. With certain exceptions FERPA requires Ohio Christian University to obtain written consent prior to the disclosure of personally identifiable information from education records.

Directory Information

Directory information is generally not considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if released. However, if a student does not want Ohio Christian University to disclose directory information from education records without prior written consent, he/she must notify the University in writing by the first day that classes begin in each semester.

The freedom to publish directory information allows OCU to include students in publications such as the yearbook, honor roll lists, graduation programs, and sports news. If a student places a hold on directory information, he/she will have to sign a consent form each time information is released.

In accordance with FERPA guidelines, OCU has designated the following items as directory information:

  • Name
  • Current enrollment
  • Local address as a student
  • Permanent address as a student
  • Local telephone number
  • E-mail addresses
  • Dates of attendance
  • Class standing (e.g., sophomore)
  • Schedule of classes
  • Previous institution(s) attended
  • Field(s) of study
  • Awards and honors
  • Degree(s) and date(s) conferred
  • Full-time or part-time status
  • Photographic or videotaped image
  • Past and present participation in officially recognized sports and activities, and physical factors of athletes (e.g., height, weight).
  • In very limited circumstances, a student ID number, user ID, or other unique personal identifier may be used to communicate in secured ways. (A student’s SSN, in whole or in part, may not be used for this purpose.)

Other Rights under FERPA

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

  • The right to inspect and review education records within 45 days of the day the college receives a request for access. You may submit to the Registrar a written request identifying the record(s) you wish to inspect. The registrar will make arrangements for access and notify you of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the registrar, the registrar will advise you of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
  • The right to request the amendment of education records that you believe to be inaccurate or misleading. You may request that the university amend a record you believe is inaccurate or misleading. You should write the official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record you want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the university decides not to amend the record as you requested, you will be notified of the decision and advised of your right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided when you are notified of the right to a hearing.
  • The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. FERPA allows disclosure without consent to school officials with legitimate educational interests in the information. A school official is a person employed by the university in an administrative, supervisory, academic, or support staff position (including security and health staff); a person or company with whom the college has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a person 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. Upon request, the university also is permitted to disclose 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 university to comply with the requirements of FERPA.

The complete regulations and full definitions of terminology are at the FERPA page on the U.S. Department of Education website. If you have other questions about FERPA, you may visit the website of the Family Policy Compliance Office or you may write to them:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20202-4605