FERPA

Today is Saturday, October 25, 2014

FERPA

FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, is a federal law that pertains to the release of and access to student education records. In compliance with FERPA, the University of Texas at Arlington does not disclose personally identifiable information contained in student education records, except as authorized by law.

Also known as the Buckley Amendment, this law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the US Department of Education. UT Arlington has established policies relating to the accessibility of student information in its custody. These are described below.


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Student Rights Under FERPA

At UT Arlington, FERPA rights apply to a student. A student is a person who has been admitted and is registered, regardless of the person's age.

Under FERPA, a student has a right to:

  • inspect his or her education records within 45 days of the request;
  • require that the University obtain his or her prior written consent before releasing personally identifiable information from education records;
  • request that corrections be made to education records if the student believes the records are inaccurate or misleading or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA.
  • file a complaint with the Department of Education concerning an alleged failure by the institution to comply with FERPA.


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Directory Information

At UT Arlington, FERPA rights apply to a student. A student is a person who has been admitted and is registered, regardless of the person's age. FERPA applies both to the education record and to the personally identifiable information within the record, which is called directory-type information. The directory-type information that may be made available by UT Arlington for its students is:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Electronic mail address
  • Telephone number
  • Date of birth
  • Major field of study
  • Participation in recognized activities and sports
  • Height & weight of athletes
  • Dates of attendance
  • Degrees & awards received
  • Most recent previous educational institution attended


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Privacy Preferences

If you are currently enrolled, you may request that your directory information be withheld by restricting your directory information in MyMav (www.uta.edu/mymav). When you choose to restrict release any aspect of your directory information, none of your FERPA information will be released to any external source. Restricting your information will not impede participation in campus programs such as MAV Alert, except as outlined below.

Students who request restrictions to their record will not be included in the following:

  • Commencement program
  • Microsoft-hosted Student Email system (address book that allows student-to-student access)
  • UT Arlington web site “Find People”
  • UT Arlington printed Campus Directory “Maverick Connection”
  • Requests from external entities seeking directory information on UTA students whose requests are approved by the custodian of records for UT Arlington

Any restriction will remain in effect until you revoke it. UT Arlington allows former students to make changes to the disclosure status in effect at the time of their last term of attendance.

Your record is updated as soon as you make new elections or restrictions. However, to insure that all departments receive notification to restrict student directory information from being published in a printed directory or other report or publication, it is optimal to make changes to the record during the first twelve class days of the fall or spring semester, the first four class days of any summer term, or the first day of class for an intersession term. If changes are made to the FERPA restrictions page at other times, the student’s information may be released based on the timing of the request.


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Setting Your Privacy Elections in MyMav

The University of Texas at Arlington recommends that you set or change your privacy settings by Census Date (during the first twelve class days of the fall or spring semester, the first four class days of any summer term, or the first day of class for an intersession term). You may change your privacy settings at any time, but information may be released or withheld between the deadline and receipt of the request. The Census Date is especially important because many reports are released on or around Census.

Only those elections made during the first twelve class days of the Fall term will be used in determining what data is and is not included in the UT Arlington printed directory “Maverick Connection” for that academic year.

To set your privacy elections in MyMav, go to your student center in www.uta.edu/mymav. Scroll down to Personal Information. Click on the User Preferences link. Click on FERPA Restrictions. Scroll down on the page to green button “Edit FERPA/Directory Restrictions” and click.  This will take you to the privacy selection page. You may choose to Restrict All Fields, Release All Restrictions or make your elections by item type.  If you do not make any elections and leave your elections blank, UT Arlington will assume you will allow release of your directory information.

Should you wish to release your name for publication in either the commencement booklet or the Maverick Connection (UT Arlington’s printed directory), you may indicate those preferences in the “Release to Publication” link next to the Primary Name category. More about these elections is below.  Your name will also be included in those publications if you select the “release all restrictions” setting.

If you elect to restrict any field, NONE OF YOUR FERPA INFORMATION will be released to any external source.


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Inclusion in the Maverick Connection

The Maverick Connection is UTA’s printed phone directory.  It is produced by Student Congress and distributed campus-wide in the middle part of the fall term. Students' name (LNAME, FNAME), major, UTA email address and phone number are included in the directory.

Unless you actively indicate that you do not want your name included in the Maverick Connection, UT Arlington’s printed student, faculty and staff directory, it will be included.  The default setting in your User Preferences in the MyMav Student Center is "Release All." 

Your name will be included in the Maverick Connection if you select the “release all restrictions” setting on the FERPA restrictions page.

You may also indicate that you wish to release your name for publication in the Maverick Connection by selecting the “Release to Publication” link next to the Primary Name category.   To do so, scroll to the Names category and click Primary.  This will bring up a link, “Release to Publication.”  Once you click the link, it will bring up a box titled Publication Categories.  Click the down arrow and select Maverick Connection.  Click OK, then scroll to the bottom of the page and save.  You should get a confirmation message that the save was successful.  Click OK and you will be returned to the FERPA Restrictions page, where you should see a message listing the Commencement Booklet as a Restriction Exemption.

FERPA Restrictions

Under the regulations defined by the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, you have chosen to restrict the following information from release.

Please note that unless otherwise indicated, this information will not be made available to any oral or written request nor will it appear in any publication.

Students who have opted to restrict all directory information in MyMAV will not appear in Maverick Connection unless it is specified as explained above.  To insure that your name is included in the printed directory, you must make this change on or before Census Date for the fall term.

Instructions for navigation and how to self-verify that this change has been made are outlined here.


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Inclusion in the Commencement Booklet and the graduation edition of the shorthorn

For your name to be included in the souvenir commencement booklet and the graduation edition of the Shorthorn, you must insure that your privacy preference settings in MyMav are set to allow that inclusion. In addition to inclusion in these publications, your name will also be given to the University's official commencement photographer, the UT Arlington Bookstore, the Student Alumni Association and select other official commencement vendors who provide event products and services to graduates and their families.

 

You have three options for indicating your inclusion preference in MyMav.  Navigation to the privacy elections pages in MyMav is outlined here.

 

Option 1: Release Restrictions on Name(s).

This option indicates that UT Arlington may release your name to external agencies, on request, as well as permit inclusion in the commencement booklet and as discussed above. 

 

Option 2:  Release All Restrictions.

This option indicates that UT Arlington may release any or all of your directory information as well as permit inclusion in the commencement booklet and as discussed above.  For a listing of directory information, click on the Directory Information link on this page.

 

 

Option 3: Designate Primary Name as Releasable for Specified Publication. 

This option indicates that UT Arlington may release your name for publication in the commencement booklet, the graduation edition of The Shorthorn, and given to the official commencement vendors and associations, but not to other external publications, vendors, associations or agencies that are not affiliated with the UT Arlington commencement event, unless you provide your written permission. 

Instructions for navigation and how to self-verify that your preferences have been made are outlined here.

The Restriction Exception field in MyMav is shown below:

 

Students who have opted to restrict all directory information in MyMAV will not appear in the printed commencement program unless the commencement program is specified as explained above.

To insure that your name is included in the printed booklet that is distributed at each ceremony, we recommend that you make this change no later than at the time you apply for graduation.

 


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Inspection and Amendment of Education Records

At UT Arlington, an education record is defined as any information recorded in any way, including but not limited to handwriting, print, tape, film, microfilm, microfiche, and digital image.

Under FERPA, students have a right to see, inspect and request changes to their education records.  To inspect education records, a student should submit a written request identifying the records to be inspected to the UT Arlington Office of Records and Registration, attn: Associate Registrar.  Written requests to access records will receive a response within a reasonable time, but not more than forty-five days after submission. A University official will arrange for access and will notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. Records that are not subject to review are outlined below.  If the records contain information on more than one student, the requesting student may inspect, review, or be informed on only the specific information about his or her own records. A student may obtain copies of his or her education records at a cost of ten cents per page and an official transcript of academic record for seven dollars.

The contents of a student's education records may be challenged by the student on the grounds that they are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the privacy rights of the student by submitting a written statement to the custodian of records. The Vice President for Business Affairs and Controller is the official custodian of records at the University.  The student should clearly identify the part of the record he or she wants changed and specify why it should be changed.

If UT Arlington decides not to amend the record as requested, the University will notify the student in writing of the decision and the student’s 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.


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Information Which a Student Does Not Have the Right to Inspect

A student does not have a right under FERPA to inspect information that is not an education record, such as:

  • Medical Treatment records;
  • Law enforcement records;
  • Employment records (provided that employment is unrelated to student status);
  • Records containing information about the individual that were created or received after he or she is no longer a student and that are not directly related to the student’s attendance at the University;
  • Records of instructional, supervisory, and administrative personnel and educational personnel that are kept in the sole possession of the maker of the record and are not accessible or revealed to any other person except a temporary substitute for the maker of the record; and
  • Peer-graded papers before they are collected and recorded by an instructor.

Note: A student may have rights to inspect such records under other laws.

In addition, a student does not have the right to access certain education records, such as:

  • Confidential letters of recommendation, if the student has waived his or her right of access in writing;
  • Financial records of the student's parents;
  • Admissions records for a student who does not officially attend the program of admission. If the student completed a course at the University but never officially attended as a degree candidate in the program of admission, then the student has FERPA rights with respect to that course but does not have rights with respect to the admissions records for that program;
  • Records of a student that contain information on other students. The student may inspect, review, or be informed of only the specific information about that student.


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When Disclosure is Permitted Without Prior Consent of the Student

Education records are all records that contain information that is directly related to a student and that are maintained by an educational agency or institution or by a party acting on its behalf.  UT Arlington students have the right to provide written consent before the University discloses personally identifiable information from the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. 

The University of Texas at Arlington will disclose information from a student’s education record without the written consent of the student:

  • To persons employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit and health staff); a person or company with whom the University has a contract or affiliation (such as an attorney, auditor, collection agent or clinical facility); a member of the UT System Board of Regents; or a person assisting another university official in performing his or her tasks; who needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility.  This includes staff at Academic Partnerships (previously Higher Education Holdings), who contract with UT Arlington to offer the Academic Partnerships programs; Magnus Health, a student medical record system contracted by UT Arlington to manage documentation of meningitis immunization or exception history to allow students enrollment; the Education Advisory Board; and Blackboard. This also includes student workers who at any time may access student records as a part of their duties. UT Arlington restricts and tracks access to education records to enforce the “legitimate education interests” requirement in this exception.
  • In connection with a student's application for, establishing eligibility or conditions for, or receipt of financial aid.  UT Arlington contracts with the National Student Clearinghouse to provide enrollment and degree data to lenders and guarantors. 
  • To officials of other schools in which the student seeks or intends to enroll, upon request;
  • To college or agency officials at the sending institution which originally created the education record, such as a transcript;
  • To law enforcement officers with a subpoena;
  •  To the UT Arlington campus police department and other law enforcement agencies, information received under a community notification program concerning students who are required to register as sex offenders in the state, as governed by the Campus Sex Crimes Prevention Act.

UT Arlington uses safe methods to identify and authenticate the identity of students, parents, school officials and all other parties before disclosing education records.


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FERPA and Parents

Once the student attains the age of 18 or attends an institution of higher education, regardless of age, FERPA rights transfer from the parent to the student.  Under FERPA, parents have no inherent rights of access to their students' education records. 

Students can give express written permission for their parents' access to their education record by downloading the form at Office of Records Release Form and submitting it with UTA identification to the Office of Admissions, Records and Registration, Room 129 Davis Hall.  Please note that there is a separate release form for financial records, available in Bursar Services.

Records may be released to parents without a signed consent from the student under certain exceptions.  These include:

  • In a health or safety emergency.
  • Where the student has violated a law or the school’s policies governing alcohol or substance abuse, if the student is under 21 years old.
  • By submission of evidence that the parents declare the student as a dependent on their most recent Federal Income Tax form.

Parents who wish to access their student's education records without the express written permission of the student may provide a copy of the previous year's tax form demonstrating that the student is a dependent for tax purposes to the Office of Records, University of Texas at Arlington, Room 129 Davis Hall. Income data on the tax record can be redacted. 

In a legal separation or divorce situation, biological parents have equal standing as custodial parents to gain access to the student’s education records.


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Parents of Dual-Credit Students

For parents of dual-credit students:  Students who are enrolled in both high school and courses at a postsecondary institution provide a unique situation.  While the rights under FERPA belong to the parents with respect to high school records, they belong to the student with respect to the postsecondary records.  In this case, FERPA's provisions allowing disclosure of information to parents of students who are dependents for income tax purposes would apply, allowing the postsecondary institution to share grades and other information from the student's education records with parents upon presentation of income tax records demonstrating the student is a tax dependent.  The  student can also give express written permission to the parent to access to his or her education record by downloading the form at Office of Records Release Form and remitting it with UTA identification to the Office of Admissions, Records and Registration, Room 129 Davis Hall.  The form is available online at  https://wweb.uta.edu/ses/recordsandregistration/assets/pdf/student_release_of_info.pdf.  Please note that there is a separate release form for financial records, available in Bursar Services.

Additionally, the high school and postsecondary institution may share information from records of dual-enrolled students. 

UT Arlington strongly encourages parents of dual-credit students to respect the student's ownership of his or her education record at the college level and seek ways to gain that information while safeguarding the student's rights and responsibilities.  Faculty teaching dual-credit courses will make every attempt to communicate with and through the student, as an important maturation point for college students.

For parents in the State U dual-credit program, we ask that parent communication is made first with the student; then, in rare instances, with the instructor.  Academic coaches are not an appropriate source for information related to students' records. 


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Additional UT Arlington Business Practices Related to FERPA

As a benefit to its graduates, UT Arlington will provide a complimentary transcript to Dallas County Community College District and Tarrant County College District when the graduate previously earned 16 or more hours at those institutions, so that review for conferral of an associates degree can be made.  Permission to send the transcript to the community college district is part of the Application for Graduation. 

It is the policy of UT Arlington that it will maintain the FERPA disclosure code in effect at the time of a student's last term of enrollment for former students. Furthermore, the university will honor a request from a former student, not re-enrolled, to change a privacy election. FERPA protection excludes records that contain information about an individual after he or she is no longer a student.

FERPA rights cease upon death. However, it is the policy of UT Arlington that no records of deceased students be released for a period of 25 years after the date of the student’s death, unless specifically authorized by the executor of the deceased's estate or by next of kin. The University notifies students annually of their FERPA rights through the online undergraduate and graduate catalogs and by annual email notification.

If students believe that their FERPA rights have been violated, they may contact the Family Policy Compliance Office at the Department of Education, 400 Maryland Ave SW, Washington DC 2002-5901. Additional information is available at Ed.gov.


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A Note on Email

Email was added to UT Arlington’s directory-type information effective Fall 2008.  However, this does not mean that your email address may be used for spamming purposes by outside entities.  Such use of University-issued email addresses is, in fact, prohibited.  The Rules and Regulations of the Board of Regents of the University of Texas have the force of law and prohibit any form of commercial and non-commercial solicitation on campus, including email.  UT Arlington will issue a cease-and-desist order to violators.  Outside sources are prohibited from sending email to addresses that are obtained from the University unless you, as the recipient, have specifically requested information from that source. 


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FERPA Resources and Training for UT Arlington Personnel

For UT Arlington’s academic catalog statements about FERPA:
 Go to the Student Educational Records Policy in the Academic Regulations section of the UTA Catalogs:

Undergraduate - Academic Regulations section of the Undergraduate Catalog
Graduate - Academic Regulations section of the Graduate Catalog

Training powerpoints:

FERPA Basics

FERPA: Focus on Amendments

  • Delivered to UTAAA Membership Meeting 3/3/11. 
  • Additions: Slides 11-12, Navigation to edit privacy settings;  Slides 21-22, Navigation to find information regarding  parent release (person comments); Slide 23, ARR contacts for verification of parent release on file and other FERPA questions.

FERPA: Office of Admissions, Records and Registration Contact Teams Training


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FERPA Contacts

For UT Arlington’s FERPA-related policies and procedures:
Contact:  Office of Admissions, Records and Registration, UTA Box 19088, Arlington, TX  76019
Shannon Williams, Associate Registrar; direct 817/272-6105; swilliams@uta.edu.

For Family Policy Compliance Office at the Department of Education:
A student has the right to file a complaint with the Family Policy Compliance Office at the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the University to comply with the requirements of FERPA. A complaint must be submitted to the Office within 180 days of the date of the alleged violation or of the date that the student knew or reasonably should have known of the alleged violation. The complaint must contain specific factual allegations giving reasonable cause to believe that a violation of the Act has occurred, and it should be forwarded to: Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, S. W., Washington, DC 20202-5901.


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