This information constitutes your official notification of rights granted to you under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). FERPA is a Federal law that is administered by the Family Policy Compliance Office in the U.S. Department of Education. 20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99. FERPA applies to all educational agencies and institutions (e.g. schools) that receive funding under any program administered by the Department of Education.
In compliance with FERPA, the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) does not disclose personally identifiable information contained in student education records, except as authorized by law. Information about students’ rights under FERPA and UMMS implementation of FERPA is set forth below.
Student Rights under FERPA
In general, a student has the right under FERPA to:
For purposes of this notification, the University of Massachusetts Medical School uses the following definitions of terms.
A student is any person who attends or has attended the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Persons admitted but never enrolled in courses are not considered students.
Education records, with certain exceptions, are any information maintained by the University directly relating to a student. These records include files, documents, and materials in whatever medium (handwriting, print, tapes, disks, film, microfilm, microfiche) which contain information directly related to students and from which students can be personally (individually) identified.
Personally identifiable information means data or information which includes:
Directory information may include the following:
Unless restricted, UMMS may disclose any of the items of directory information without a student’s consent. Students may restrict the disclosure of any item of directory information by indicating this restriction on the Privacy Settings (FERPA Restrictions) page in the PeopleSoft Campus Solutions (PSCS) database.
The right to restrict disclosure of directory information does not include the right to remain anonymous in class and may not be used to impede classroom communication.
Inspection of Educational Records
If possible, students will have immediate access to their record. In no case will a student have to wait more than 45 days. If a student is required to wait, the office will inform him or her when the record will be available. A student will be required to establish identity with a picture ID to see his or her record.
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:
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:
Authorizing another Person to Inspect or Receive Copies of Your Records
A current or former student who wishes to permit another person to inspect or receive copies of the student’s education records must provide a signed and dated written consent which must:
When Disclosure is permitted without Prior Consent of the Student
In general, the University will not disclose personal information from a student’s education records without the student’s prior consent. However, the University, in compliance with the law, may disclose personal information without the student’s prior consent under these conditions:
A. To university officials, staff, and others engaged in activities on behalf of the University with a legitimate educational interest
The University discloses information to University officials, staff, and others whom the University has determined to have a legitimate educational interest. An individual has a legitimate educational interest if the individual needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities to the University. Such individuals include officers of the University, faculty, administrative staff, law enforcement and medical and legal personnel, and may include contractors, consultants and professionals engaged by the University where disclosure of the information is necessary for such individuals to fulfill their duties and responsibilities to the University. In addition, these individuals may include UMMS students, persons from outside the University, and volunteers, who are requested to serve on an authorized committee or board of the University (such as a disciplinary committee or the Board of Trustees) or to otherwise perform authorized tasks for the University.
B. The information that has been designated as directory information
The University of Massachusetts defines directory information as:
For graduate students who are teaching credit courses:
C. In health or safety emergency situations
In the case of an emergency, the University discloses information from education records to the appropriate parties, including parents, if the University deems that knowledge of the information is necessary to protect the health, safety, or well-being of the student or other individuals. Such disclosure may include any disciplinary action previously taken against the student for conduct that posed a significant risk to the safety and well-being of that student, other students, or members of the University community.
D. In compliance with a subpoena
The University will make a reasonable effort to notify the student of the subpoena before complying. However, in the case of a subpoena issued for law enforcement purposes or an ex parte order under the USA Patriot Act, the University is not required to notify the student of the existence or the contents of the subpoena, or of the information furnished in response to the subpoena, if the court or other issuing agency has ordered that such information not be disclosed.
E. To officials of other institutions or organizations
In cases where the University has previously transmitted such information to another institution or organization in which the student has enrolled, has been placed, or has sought financial aid, the University may send corrected records if there are changes to the information previously sent.
F. To parties who provided or created a record
The University may send education records back to the creator or sender of such records for confirmation of the authenticity of the record (e.g. of a transcript or letter).
G. To the parents of dependent students
In rare circumstances, the University may disclose information from a student’s records to the student’s parents without the student’s prior consent if the student meets the criteria of dependency as defined by Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. In cases of divorce or separation, when relying on dependency as the basis for communication, the University reserves the right to communicate with both parents unless provided with evidence that one parent’s rights have been legally revoked or otherwise limited.
H. To authorized representatives of certain government offices
The University will release information to authorized representatives of the U.S. Comptroller General’s Office, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Department of Education, and state and local educational authorities in connection with an audit or an evaluation of federal or state supported programs and to assure the enforcement of or compliance with federal or state legal requirements related to these programs.
I. In compliance with the Solomon Amendment
The University will release student information for the purposes of military recruiting to the Department of Defense. The information released is limited to student name, address, telephone listing, date and place of birth, levels of education and degrees received, prior military experience, and the most recent educational institution attended unless restricted.
J. In response to complaints and legal actions involving the student and the University
If a student or parent initiates legal action or brings complaints against the University, the University may disclose education records relevant to the response to the complaint without a court order or subpoena. In addition, in the event that the University initiates legal action against a parent or student, the University may disclose education records relevant to the action without a court order or subpoena.
K. To accredited organizations
The University may release information to organizations that accredit colleges and universities for the purpose of assisting their accrediting functions.
L. To organizations conducting studies for or on behalf of the University
The University may disclose information to organizations seeking to improve education for or on behalf of the University (e.g. developing predictive tests or administering student aid programs).
Limitations of Re-disclosures
Under FERPA, information disclosed by the University may be subject to restrictions against re-disclosure.
Amending Educational Records
Students have the right to request that inaccurate or misleading information in his or her education records be amended. While the University is not required to amend education records in accordance with a student's request, the University is required to consider the request. If the University decides not to amend a record in accordance with a student's request, the student will be informed of his or her right to a hearing on the matter. If, as a result of the hearing, the University still decides not to amend the record, the student has the right to insert a statement in the record setting forth his or her views. That statement must remain with the contested part of the student’s record for as long as the record is maintained. However, while the FERPA amendment procedure may be used to challenge facts that are inaccurately recorded, it may not be used to challenge a grade, an opinion, or a substantive decision made by the University about a student. FERPA was intended to require only that schools conform to fair recordkeeping practices and not to override the accepted standards and procedures for making academic assessments, disciplinary rulings, or placement determinations.
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, SW
Washington, DC 20202-8520