Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
Access to Student Education Records
Also known as the “Buckley Amendment,” the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”) is a federal law enacted in 1974 that affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. Specifically, FERPA affords students (1) the right to inspect and review their education records, (2) the right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA, (3) 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, and (4) the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the University to comply with FERPA. The University strives to fully comply with this law by protecting the privacy of education records and judiciously evaluating requests for release of information from those records.
A. Student. A student is a person who attends or who has previously attended The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, including attendance in person, by correspondence, by distance (using videoconference, satellite, internet, or other technology), or a period during which a person is working under a work study program. This does not include persons who have been admitted to the University but have not registered for classes.
B. Education Record. An education record is a record directly related to a student that is maintained by the University or by a person acting for the University. Excluded from the definition of an education record are:
- Records that are kept in the sole possession of the maker of the record, are used only as a personal memory aid, and are not accessible or revealed to any other person except a temporary substitute for the maker of the record.
- Law enforcement records created and maintained by the Office of Safety and Security solely for a law enforcement purposes.
- Records made or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist or other recognized professional or paraprofessional if the records are used only for treatment of a student and made available only to those persons providing the treatment.
- Records that relate to an individual who is employed by the University and that (i) are made and maintained in the normal course of business, (ii) are not available for use for any other purpose, and (iii) relate exclusively to the individual in that individual’s capacity as an employee. This exception does not apply to records that relate to a student in attendance at the University who is employed as a result of his or her status as a student.
- Peer graded papers before the papers are collected and recorded by faculty.
- Records created or received by the University after an individual is no longer a student in attendance and which are not directly related to the individual’s attendance as a student (i.e., alumni records).
C. Personally identifiable information. Personally identifiable information includes, but is not limited to:
- A student’s name;
- The name of a student’s parent or other family members;
- The address of a student or a student’s family;
- A personal identifier, such as a student’s social security number, student number, or biometric record;
- Other indirect identifiers, such as a student’s date of birth, place of birth, and mother’s maiden name;
- Other information that, alone or in combination, is linked or linkable to a specific student that would allow a reasonable person in the University community, who does not have personal knowledge of the relevant circumstances, to identify the student with reasonable certainty; or
- Information requested by a person who the University reasonably believes knows the identity of the student to whom the education record relates.
II. Scope of Student Rights to Inspect and Review Education Records
A. A student shall be permitted to inspect and review his or her education records within 45 days following the date on which the University receives the student’s request for access. To exercise this right, a student should submit to the registrar, dean, head of the academic department, or other appropriate official, a written request that identifies the record(s) the student wishes 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.
B. A student shall be provided with a copy of any part or all of his or her education record on request but may be charged a fee not to exceed the University’s cost of producing a copy of the education record as a condition to receiving it, unless the imposition of a fee effectively prevents a student from exercising the right to inspect and review the record . A student shall not be charged a fee to search for or retrieve the student’s education records.
C. A student does not have the right to inspect and review:
- The financial records of the student’s parents.
- Confidential letters and statements of recommendation which were placed in the University’s records prior to January 1, 1975.
- Confidential letters and statements of recommendation placed in the student’s education records after January 1, 1975, respecting admission to the University, application for employment, or receipt of an honor or honorary recognition if the student has signed a waiver of access rights. The