Guidebook

Disclosure of student information

The most commonly asked questions about student educational records at Reed concern grades, medical and psychiatric records, financial aid information, and release of information outside the institution.

Reed tradition and practice emphasize the substance of intellectual growth rather than its symbolic representation through grades. Students are encouraged to evaluate their understanding of course material with the help of their professors. Grades are assigned but are not routinely reported to students except in instances where the grades are unsatisfactory (C- or below). Students doing satisfactory work may obtain their grades from discussion with their instructors or their advisers, by requesting a transcript from the registrar's office, or from one of the deans of student services when the college is not in session and faculty advisers are not available.

Reed considers the following to be public information and may release it without student consent: name, dates of attendance, full- or part-time status, campus mailbox number, email address, local address and phone, permanent address and phone, major, degree and date awarded, last institution attended, honors awarded, and participation in recognized Reed College programs. Reed publishes a student directory in IRIS, available to the college community, which includes name, campus mailbox number, local address and phone number, and permanent address and phone number. Students may choose whether their information will appear by designating what will show in Campus Web Directory Prefs. Reed does not release lists of students, or lists of their addresses, to outside organizations except as required by law. A student may instruct the college to withhold all public information by submitting instructions in writing to the registrar within the first 10 class days of instruction.

Notification to parents

The college believes it is important for parents and students to make a mutually satisfactory arrangement regarding grade reports and academic progress. Students and parents are asked in advance of the student's first semester of enrollment whether the parents can be provided information about the student's grades and academic standing in response to a written request by the parent. If the decision is that the parents will obtain information only from the student, the college will not release information without the student's written consent. If, after completing the information form, the student or parent wishes to change the information release, a new form must be filed in the registrar's office with the signatures of the parent(s) and the student. The college strongly encourages students and parents to have a discussion concerning the release of information.

Medical and psychiatric information

Medical and psychiatric information, as well as individual counseling records, are considered confidential. Records kept by the health center are available for student inspection, but the college is not permitted to share information in medical records with parents without the written permission of the student. In the case of an extreme emergency, where the student’s health is in serious jeopardy, or if there is a concern that the student poses a threat to herself or to someone else, the College may contact parents. As a general guideline, if the student is able to communicate about the situation, it is up to the student to decide whether and how to discuss the issues.

Financial aid information

Financial aid office files contain the application(s) for financial aid and all supporting documentation. These files may contain information such as the financial aid-specific form of the admission application (form 6), the processed College Scholarship Service's Profile form, the processed FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form, parent tax return(s) and W-2s, student tax return(s) and W-2s, original and revised award announcements, and other correspondence. This information is used in discussions with parents and students. If the parent or student requests a photocopy of information provided by the parent(s), such as a parent tax return, the financial aid office requires a written, signed release from the parent(s). Similarly, if a family would like any of this information to be provided to someone other than the student, such as a non-custodial parent or a financial adviser, the financial aid office also requires a written release. This release should contain both the parent(s)' and student's signatures.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. They are:

  • The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days of the day the college receives a request for access. Students should submit to the registrar a written request that identifies the record(s) they wish to inspect. The registrar 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 registrar, she will advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed. Admission materials or letters of recommendation received before January 1, 1975, with documented assurances of confidentiality, may not be inspected by students.
  • The right to request the amendment of the student's education records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading. Students may ask the college to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. They should write the college official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the college decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the college will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his or her right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information about the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
  • The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception that permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the college in an administrative, supervisory, academic, or staff position; a person or company with whom the college has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the board of trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility. The college may forward transcripts on request to any school in which the student seeks to enroll and may also release information about a student in an emergency situation if the college believes in good faith that knowledge of the information will protect the health and safety of a student or others.
  • The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Reed College to comply with the requirements of FERPA. 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, D.C. 20202-5920.

(last modified: November 22, 2011)