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What is FERPA?

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, also known as the Buckley Amendment, helps protect the privacy of student records. FERPA is sometimes also referred to as the student records confidentiality policy.

With certain exceptions, officials of Bluefield University will not disclose personally identifiable information from a student’s education records without the student’s prior written consent. “Directory Information” will be disclosed without the student’s prior written consent, unless the student has notified the Office of the Registrar in writing to restrict the release of that information.

What Are Your FERPA Rights?

  1. The right to inspect and review education records maintained by the school.
  2. The right to seek to amend these records.
  3. The right to have some control over the disclosure of information from these records.
  4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning an allegation that the institution failed to comply with the act.

The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is:

Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202

What Are Educational Records?

Any record maintained by the University that is related to the student with some narrowly defined exceptions.

Exceptions include:

  • Records in the “sole possession of the maker” (e.g., private advising notes).
  • Law enforcement records created by a law enforcement agency for that purpose.
  • Employment records (unless the employment is based on student status). The employment records of student employees (e.g., work-study and wages) are part of their education records.
  • Medical/psychological treatment records (e.g., from a health or counseling center).
  • Alumni records (i.e., those created after the student has graduated).
  • Maintained by Bluefield University or an authorized party.

What Can The University Release?

University employees are permitted to release the following information, referred to as “Directory Information,” without prior written consent from the student (except in cases in which the student restricts access to this information).

Directory Information

  • Name
  • Jenzabar ID *
  • Local address
  • Local telephone listing
  • Grade/billing (permanent) address
  • Grade/billing (permanent) telephone listing
  • Photograph and video clips
  • Quotes
  • Date and place of birth
  • County, state, or U.S. territory from which the student originally enrolled
  • Major field of study
  • Class (junior, senior, etc.)
  • Enrollment status (full-time, half-time, part-time)
  • Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
  • Weight and height of members of athletic teams
  • Dates of attendance
  • Anticipated date of graduation
  • Degrees and awards received
  • Most recent previous educational agency or institution attended by the student
  • Campus electronic mail address

Because the Jenzabar ID Number (JIN) is public information, posting non-directory information, such as grades, using any part of the JIN as an identifier is not permitted.

Note: Directory Information” does NOT include parent information (names, address, phone number), nor does it include country of origin, if other than the U.S.

Who Is Considered A School Official?

  • A person employed by Bluefield University in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position.
  • A person elected to the Board of Trustees.
  • A person employed by or under contract to Bluefield University to perform a special task, such as an attorney or auditor.

Access To Student Data

University officials requesting data other than directory information will be given such information if they have a legitimate educational interest. University officials have a legitimate educational interest if it is necessary or desirable for them to have access in order to carry out their official duties and/or to implement the policies of the University, or if it is in the educational interest of the student in question for such officials to have the information. Persons receiving this information (or directory information prior to its publication) are responsible for protecting the confidentiality of the students involved. They are not permitted to re-release this data to persons, other than University officials with a legitimate educational interest, without the prior written consent of the students involved.

Parents of a dependent student as defined by the Internal Revenue Code may have access to the student’s educational records. Parents must provide the Office of the Registrar a copy of their most recent federal income tax form, indicating that they declared the student as a dependent in order to document dependency.

When Is The Student's Consent Is Not Required?

Exceptions include:

  • to school officials with a legitimate educational interest.
  • to officials of another school in which the student seeks to enroll.
  • to certain federal, state, and local authorities in connection with an adult or evaluation of state or federally supported educational programs.
  • to anyone providing financial aid to the student.
  • to agents acting on behalf of Bluefield University (e.g., clearinghouses and degree/enrollment verifiers).
  • to organizations conducting studies on behalf of Bluefield University.
  • to accrediting organizations.
  • to parents of a dependent.
  • parents/legal guardians when their children under age 21 have violated the alcohol or drug policies of Bluefield University.
  • to comply with a judicial order or subpoena.
  • to appropriate parties in a health or safety emergency.
  • results of disciplinary hearings to an alleged victim of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense.
  • to the Immigration and Naturalization Service for purposes of the Student Exchange Visitor Information System.
  • to military recruiters who request “Student Recruiting Information.” Student recruiting information is defined as a name, address, telephone listing, age, level of education, and major.
  • to the Internal Revenue Service in compliance with the Taxpayer Relief Act.
  • to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Information Students Can & Cannot See

Information Students Can See

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act also gives a student the right to inspect his or her education records (hard copy and electronic) and to request amendment of those records if they are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights.

To inspect his or her education records, a student must file a written request with the individual who has custody of the records that the student wishes to inspect (University Registrar, Academic Dean, Department Chair, Director of University Housing, etc.). This request must be honored within 45 days after the records custodian receives it.

To request amendment of his or her records, a student first discusses the matter informally with the records custodian, and if the custodian does not agree to amend the records, he or she will inform the student of applicable appeal rights. Students also have the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education alleging that the university has not complied with FERPA.

Information Students Cannot See

Students may NOT see parents’ financial statements or records and letters of recommendation for which the student waived the right to view.

Students may NOT see the personal information of any other student or any information on a student who has a nondisclosure request on record.

Request For Restriction & Non-Disclosure

  1. Students can restrict how address information is printed in the Campus Directory or can have all directory information restricted by notifying the Office of the Registrar in writing. This must be handwritten, scanned, and emailed to Bluefield Central.
  2. Download, complete, hand-sign, scan, and email the FERPA Release Form, available from Registrar Forms, to Bluefield Central for processing.

Change of Address or Name

If you have relocated and need to change your official address on file, please download, complete, hand-sign, scan, and email the Change of Address Form from Registrar Forms to Bluefield Central. If your name was legally changed, then you must download, complete, hand-sign, scan, and email the Change of Name Form from Registrar Forms to Bluefield Central.

Attendance & Participation

The institution records participation for various reasons.

These reasons include:

  1. Federal reporting
  2. Financial aid awarding
  3. Institutional effectiveness tracking

A student has participated if he or she has attended a class session or completed an assignment (including the Course Start Quiz). Any student who does not participate in one of these two ways will be considered Non-Participating and will be dropped from the course(s).

Note: Students who register or change classes after the first day of the term are required to communicate any late registration directly to their instructor(s).

Attendance is tracked individually by the instructor and recorded in Canvas in accordance with the Bluefield University Academic Catalog Policy as cited below.

Policy on Attendance

Regular class attendance is critical to the learning process. Students must attend a minimum of 75% of classes in a course to receive academic credit. This university-wide policy serves as the basis for instructors’ individual attendance policies as described in course syllabi. Instructors maintain class rolls for all courses. At the discretion of the instructor, unexcused absences can result in severe academic penalties including, but not limited to, academic withdrawal, reductions in course final grades, out-of-class reading assignments with in-class oral reports, and out-of-class meetings with the course instructor. All such penalties are included in course syllabi. Students should notify the course instructor in advance about any planned absence so homework assignments can be made. When missing a class, students should ask a fellow student to take class notes and collect any course handouts.

Record Retention Policy

Bluefield University has an official policy regarding the amount of time certain documents will be retained; view the Records Retention Policy in the current Academic Catalog.

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