200.13 - Release of Student Information and Education Records

University Group Policy #200.13

Policy Statement

This policy establishes guidelines for Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) on access to and confidentiality of student records. It has been developed in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), also known as the Buckley Amendment.

Guidelines

Access to Student Education Records

An educational record is defined as any record (written, taped, filmed, printed, or otherwise preserved) that is maintained by WSSU or by an agent or employee of the University that is directly related to a student except:

  1. Records created and maintained by the University Police strictly for law enforcement purposes.
  2. A record kept in the sole possession of a University employee who is the maker of the record and is not accessible or revealed to other persons except for a temporary substitute for the maker of the record.
  3. An employment record of an individual whose employment is not contingent on the fact that the individual is a student, provided the record is used only in relation to the employment of the individual.
  4. Records made or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized health professional/paraprofessional if the records are used only for the treatment of a student and are made available only to those persons providing the treatment.
  5. Alumni records which contain information about a student after the student is no longer in attendance at the University and which do not relate to the person as a student.

Except as set out in the paragraph below, educational records are available only to the student if over age 18, to a parent to whom the student has given written consent for the parent to review the student’s record; or to a parent or guardian, or an individual acting as a parent or guardian of a student who is a dependent child as defined in Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 as amended in the most recently ended tax year.

In addition to persons or entities otherwise identified in this policy, education records

  1. University officials with legitimate educational interest in the records including:
    1. A person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position performing task that include but are not limited to: processing disciplinary charges, providing health care services, counseling services, job placement, financial aid or otherwise performing a task related to the student’s education.
    2. A member of the University Board of Trustees in connection with student appeals.
    3. A person employed by or under contract to the University to perform special administrative or professional task.
  2. To accrediting organizations to carry out their functions.
  3. To comply with a judicial order or a lawfully issued subpoena with notice to the student of intent to comply.
  4. To appropriate parties in a health or safety emergency.
  5. To state and federal educational authorities, in connection with state or federally supported education programs.

Inspection of Education Records

Students may inspect and review their education records upon written request to the appropriate record custodians. Forms for requesting education records and the name and location of custodians of the records can be obtained from the office of the Registrar and the office of Academic Affairs.

Qualified parents may inspect a student’s record if the student has given written consent which is provided by the student to the appropriate custodian of the record, or by submitting a copy of the 1040 income tax form filed with IRS for the most recently ended tax year showing that the student is claimed as a dependent as defined in Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 or any amendments.

The custodian of the record will make the arrangements for access and shall notify the student or qualified parent of the time and location where the records may be inspected. If a record contains information about more than one student, only those records that relate to the student may be reviewed.

WSSU will maintain a record of all requests for and/or disclosure of information from a student’s education records. The record will indicate the name of the party making the request, any additional party to whom it may be redisclosed, and the legitimate interest the party had in requesting or obtaining the information. These records may be reviewed by a qualified parent or the student.

Transcripts are released only with a written request from the student and if there is no financial indebtedness to the university.

Education records requested by officials of other institutions where a student intends to enroll may be forwarded upon the student’s written consent. The student is not notified of the release of the information.

Transcripts sent or delivered to Winston-Salem State University from other institutions become the property of the university and will not be returned or released.

Refusal to Provide Access

The University reserves the right to deny access to students or qualified parents to the financial statement of the parent, letters and statements of recommendation for which the student has waived the right of access and any records excluded from the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and that do not fall within the definition of public records under Chapter 132 of the North Carolina General Statutes.

Fees for Copies of Records

WSSU charges a fee of $0.50 per page for copied records

Correction of Education Records

Students have the right to ask to have records corrected that they believe are inaccurate, misleading or in violation of their privacy rights. Request to correct education records should be submitted in writing to the custodian of the record and shall identify that portion of the record the student believes to be inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the student’s privacy or other rights.

The Custodian of the record shall notify the student in writing of compliance with or denial of the request. If the student’s request is denied in whole or in part, the custodian will notify the student of the right to a hearing.

A student shall address a request for a hearing to the custodian in writing. It shall be the responsibility of the custodian to notify the appropriate Vice Chancellor for appointment of a hearing officer and the scheduling of a hearing date and location. The custodian shall notify the student of the date and time of the hearing and the name of the hearing officer. Unless the request for correction of a record relates to a disciplinary record, the Coordinator of Judicial Affairs or some other disinterested person may be appointed hearing officer.

The hearing officer will make a decision based solely on evidence and testimony presented at the hearing and shall issue a written decision which includes a summary of the evidence and testimony presented.

If the hearing officer denies the student’s request for correction, the hearing officer shall advise the student of the right to place a statement in the student’s record commenting on the reason for the student’s dispute of the record. The statement will remain a part of the student’s education record as long as the disputed record remains.

If the hearing officer decides that the information objected to is inaccurate, misleading or in violation of the student’s right of privacy, the custodian of the record will amend the record and notify the student, in writing that the record has been amended.

Either the student or the custodian has a right of appeal of a hearing decision to the Vice Chancellor in authority over the office where the contested record is being kept.

Confidentiality of Student Records

The university will release only directory information in response to inquiries from the general public without written permission from the student. Directory information includes student’s name, local address, local landline telephone number, date and place of birth, major field of study, dates of attendance, degrees conferred, honors, the most recent previous educational institution attended, participation in officially recognized sports and activities, and height and weight of members of athletic teams.

Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, a student has the right to request that directory information not be disclosed as long as the student is enrolled in the University.

Any student desiring to have their directory information withheld should submit a written request to the Registrar’s office. Forms for requesting non-disclosure as well as for the access provisions of FERPA can be acquired from the Registrar’s office.

Request for non-disclosure must be submitted annually, shall be made at the beginning of the fall semester and will be valid throughout the academic year.

Annual Notification

WSSU students and applicants for admission will be notified of their Family Education Rights annually through the Student Handbook, WSSU graduate and undergraduate bulletins, and admissions packages.

Applicability

This policy covers all student records maintained at Winston-Salem State University and applies to any student who has completed the registration process at any time.


Responsible Division: Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

Authority: Board of Trustees

History:

  • Adopted: March 19, 2001
  • Amended: March 20, 2009