Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA)
All educational records at the University of Massachusetts Medical School concerning students enrolled and former students are maintained by the Office of the Registrar. If possible, you will have immediate access to your record. In no case will you have to wait more than 45 days. If you are required to wait, the office will tell you when your record will be available. You will have to identify yourself with a picture ID to see your record.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (Part 99 of Title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations) allows present or former students at educational institutions access to educational records kept on them, as well as basic protections of privacy of their records. The law does not apply to applicants seeking admission to the University. The law applies to educational records, which are defined as those records that are directly related to a student and maintained by an educational agency or institution.
The law exempts from the definition of "education records," generally, records of instructional, supervisory, and administrative personnel which are kept in the sole possession of the person who made the record and are not accessible or revealed to any other person except a substitute for the maker of the record; records of a law enforcement unit of the University which are maintained solely for law enforcement purposes; records of employees of the University; records which are created or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional acting in his or her professional capacity or assisting in a paraprofessional capacity which are made, maintained or used only in connection with treatment of the student; and records that only contain information about an individual after that individual is no longer a student at the University.
The University will provide the student with a copy of his/her transcript upon written request. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act does not give you the right to a copy of your records unless failure to receive a copy would make it impossible for you to exercise your right to inspect and review your records. You can also receive a copy, upon written request, of information from your record which you have instructed the University to disclose to another party. If the University transfers records which apply to you to another educational institution, you can receive a copy of those records if you request it in writing.
If confidential letters and confidential statements of recommendation were placed in your record before January 1, 1975, they will be removed before you have access to the record provided the letters or statements are used only for the purpose for which they were intended. If you have waived your right to see confidential letters or statements concerning admission to the University, these letters or statements will also be removed before you see your record. If you believe your record contains information which is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of your privacy rights, you have the right to challenge the content of the record. While you cannot challenge the correctness of a grade, you may challenge the accuracy with which the grade was recorded.
The University can release directory information without the consent of the student. The University defines directory information as a student's name, major, acknowledgment of a student's participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, date(s) of attendance; degrees, certificates, awards received; the most recent previous educational agency or institution attended by the student and appointment as a Resident Assistant or Community Development Assistant. For graduate students who are teaching credit courses, work department, office address, and employment category are also defined as directory information.
The University will not permit access to or release of a student's educational records, or personally identifiable information contained therein (other than directory), to third parties, without the student's written consent, except to the following:
- Other University officials who have a legitimate educational interest in a student's record. The University defines "University officials" as any professional employee who is head of an office, department, school, college, division, or their specified designee. "Legitimate educational interests" is defined as academic status check or evaluations, research, curriculum evaluation or development, institutional/statistical evaluation and analysis, student placement, public safety, and admission evaluation. The University may disclose, to teachers and school officials in other schools who have legitimate educational interests in your behavior, disciplinary action taken against you for certain kinds of conduct.
- Authorized representatives of the Comptroller General of the United States, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education, authorized representatives of the Attorney General of the United States for law enforcement purposes, and state and local educational authorities.
- In connection with a student's application for, or receipt of, financial aid, provided that personally identifiable information from the education records of the student may be disclosed only as may be necessary for such purposes as:
- to determine the eligibility of the student for financial aid;
- to determine the amount of financial aid;
- to determine the conditions which will be imposed regarding the financial aid;
- to enforce the terms or conditions of the financial aid.
- State and local officials or authorities to whom such information is specifically allowed to be reported or disclosed under state statutes adopted before November 19, 1974 if the allowed reporting or disclosure concerns the juvenile justice system and the system's ability to effectively serve the student whose records are released. Such information may be reported or disclosed under state statutes adopted after November 19, 1974 on the same basis as prior to that date if the report or disclosure will assist the juvenile justice system to serve the student prior to any adjudication.
- Organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, educational institutions for the purposes of developing, validating, or administering predictive tests, student aid programs, and improving instruction, provided that the identity of students is not revealed to other than representatives of such organizations.
- Recognized accrediting organizations carrying out their accrediting functions.
- In compliance with a judicial order, or pursuant to any lawfully issued subpoena, provided that the University makes a reasonable effort to notify the student of the order or subpoena in advance of compliance therewith. A court or other agency which issues a subpoena for law enforcement purposes may order the University and its officials not to disclose the existence or contents of the subpoena to any person.
- In connection with an emergency situation, if the knowledge of such information is necessary to protect the health or safety of a student or other persons.
- Where the disclosure is to parents of a dependent student, as defined in section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954.
Additional FERPA information can be found by searching the Department of Education's online library (see links below).US National Archives and Records Administration: Title 34, Part 99: Family Educational Rights and Privacy