VIII. B. STUDENT RECORDS
(Source: Office of the Registrar, August 1, 2007)
Disclosure of Student Information
FAMILY EDUCATIONAL RIGHTS AND PRIVACY ACT (FERPA)
The following is Reed College's policy regarding disclosure of student records and the pertinent provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) as amended in January 1975. The policy statement is made available to Reed students annually. The policy is set forth in the following sections:
- The description of types of educational records and offices in which they are held,
- College officials responsible for the files,
- Policies of Reed College regarding review and expunging of records,
- Procedures for right of access,
- Procedures for challenging the content of the records,
- Cost of reproduction of documents,
- Directory information, and
- General disclosure policies.
Before moving to the specifics of each of these areas, it would be useful to clarify the definitions of "student" and "parent" as used in FERPA. "Student" is defined as "any person with respect to whom an educational agency or institution maintains educational records." A parent is entitled to access to a student's transcript only if the parent and student have filed a completed "Student Information Release" form, indicating that direct access by the parent is allowed.
Records in this category are used by the academic departments, Registrar, Student Life, Financial Aid, and Health Services. Please note that many of the records held in the Student Life and Registrar's Offices were developed as part of the admission process. After enrollment, we transfer relevant parts of the admission file to the Student Life Office and the Registrar.
Academic departments generally retain records of their majors' results on Junior Qualifying Examinations and Senior Orals. Those records are available to the appropriate department heads and each student's academic adviser. Although generally students' Qualifying Examinations are returned to them after grading, these records are open to students and are within the scope of the records covered by FERPA.
This office is the principal College repository of information for current and former students, students who are on leave, and graduates. While there is some variation in the materials in files-depending on majors, etc.-the following list is comprehensive in all but the most unusual cases. Please note that all of the material in the Registrar's files is covered by the law in terms of access and protection, with the exception of "confidential letters and statements of recommendation which were placed in the education records prior to January 1, 1975..." These will continue to be considered confidential.
Files are purged of nonessential documents after a student graduates, or after five years of nonenrollment.
CONTENTS OF REGISTRAR'S OFFICE FILES
Files may contain admission material, including College Board scores, ACT and other tests; high school transcript; transcript of college work elsewhere; evaluation by Registrar and related correspondence; permanent records of registration, academic work, courses, grades, along with personal data such as parents' names, student's birthdate, etc.; notification of acceptance or rejection to junior standing; notice of successful completion or failure to pass the Junior Qualifying Examination and the Senior oral; correspondence concerning leave of absence and/or return; petition for withdrawal from College; correspondence from academic department regarding the major; petitions to Administration Committee for waiver of College requirements.
Files on graduate students contain application materials, including forms completed by the student, college transcript(s), academic and personal references and correspondence regarding admission; and a record of registration and grades.
Files on former graduate students in education contain the record of registration; certification worksheets with transcripts and copies of applications for certification; and placement papers, including a record of educational and professional experience, a personal statement on teaching, a record of undergraduate and graduate courses, and academic and professional references.
STUDENT LIFE OFFICE FILES
These documents may be inspected by students: Admission material filled out by the student with general information on scholastic background, family and personal statement; correspondence between student and Admission Office prior to enrollment; class rank in high school; faculty comments on grades of C- or below (prior to 2006); letters of recommendation written, where applicable; correspondence with prospective employers or parents.
There are, in addition, documents that were drafted or submitted under a presumption of confidentiality. FERPA specifies that if they were received prior to January 1, 1975, with documented assurances of confidentiality, the records will remain confidential.
The Student Life Office is responsible for records, comments, and correspondence developed and maintained by the counseling staff. These refer to students who have requested assistance from the counselors as well as to students about whom the College has related correspondence prior to admission. Material in these files is excluded from the access provisions of the law and is maintained by the counseling staff separate from any other College files. The records may be reviewed, however, by a physician, psychiatrist, or psychologist if the student so authorizes.
HEALTH SERVICES FILES
Records kept by Health Services, similarly, are not available for student or parent inspection under FERPA. Students have access to their own file; wider availability of the material contained therein is contingent on written permission by the student. These records consist of the medical history filled out by the student prior to admission, correspondence with physicians or consultants where applicable, and visits to Health Services.
FINANCIAL AID OFFICE FILES
Files in the Financial Aid Office contain the application for financial aid (filled out by the student), announcement of awards, correspondence, and the College Scholarship Service Financial Aid Form. Student access to the latter is specifically precluded; however, in practice, the information is made available to students unless parents specifically request that it not be made available.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the records and accounts of educational institutions pertaining to eligible veterans or eligible persons who received educational assistance, as well as the records of other students which the Veterans Administration determines necessary to ascertain institutional compliance with the federal requirements, shall be available for examination by duly authorized representatives of the government.
Nora McLaughlin, Registrar, is responsible for these files. Access is limited to the staff of the Registrar's Office, President's Office, Dean of Faculty's Office, Admission Office, Student Life Office, Financial Aid Office and faculty advisers or instructors in connection with their assigned responsibilities.
Ms. McLaughlin may release, on request, information to the public about whether or not a student is registered, full- or part-time status, semesters of attendance, last institution attended, participation in recognized Reed College programs, the student's major, awards earned and degree(s) and date(s) awarded. No other information, other than student address directory information, will be released without the written consent of the student.
STUDENT LIFE OFFICE
Mike Brody, Vice President and Dean of Student Life, is responsible for these student files. The information contained therein is made available-on a need to know basis-to staff of the Student Life Office (including counselors), Registrar's Office, Admission Office, Financial Aid Office, and faculty instructors or advisers.
Student records and information are maintained by the Health Service. Access to the files is restricted to professional staff of the Health Service in connection with their provision of treatment to students. These records may also be made available to physicians or other appropriate professionals of the student's choice.
FINANCIAL AID OFFICE
Leslie Limper, director of financial aid, is responsible for financial aid files. These files are available only to financial aid staff. The director will discuss specific information in the files with the Student Life Office staff, Registrar's Office staff, and faculty advisers when appropriate. If the student has applied for financial aid, the school may disclose information in the Financial Aid Office files without the student's or parent's prior consent as may be necessary to determine the student's eligibility for financial aid, the amount of the aid, the conditions to be imposed regarding the aid, and as may be necessary to enforce the terms or conditions of the aid.
DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION FROM REGISTRAR'S, STUDENT LIFE, HEALTH SERVICES, AND FINANCIAL AID FILES
FERPA states that the educational records described above may be disclosed to only those school officials with "legitimate educational interests" in the records. The College has determined that the officials with access to the records, as described in this section, have legitimate educational interests in such records. Questions about the reasons for disclosure of records to particular school officials should be directed to the named individuals responsible for the records. All responsible individuals named in this section may be contacted through the Reed College address shown at the beginning of this statement.
Each file will be accompanied by a record of all parties who have requested or obtained information directly related to students from the file, and a statement of the legitimate interests of such parties in obtaining the information. These records will be available for the student's and eligible parents' review.
In the interests of space, on graduation or after five years of non-attendance each student's file will be reviewed and unnecessary material (e.g., status reports, registration forms, some correspondence related to petitions) deleted. Should the files contain information which is shown to be factually inaccurate, it may be corrected or deleted.
Under FERPA, students (which by definition includes ex-students) have the right to review the records noted above. Reed College has extended access to grades and academic actions to parents, if the requisite form is completed and submitted to the Registrar's Office. Exceptions are that students do not have the right to review: (1) confidential letters or statements of recommendation received prior to January 1, 1975, or (2) Financial Aid forms (FAF). FERPA does not govern the right to review medical or psychiatric files maintained by counselors or other professionals.
In the event a student or eligible parent wishes to inspect a particular document in a file (or the complete file), a request should be submitted in writing to the College official in charge of the office holding the records. The College will respond to the request within 45 days of receipt. The College will provide explanations or interpretations of records upon reasonable request and will provide copies of records if necessary to enable a student or parent to exercise a right of review. Copies will be provided at the charges described in Section F.
Students have the right to challenge the contents of the file, which has been reviewed. If there is a problem, the student should ask the College to amend the records; we expect that in most cases agreement will be reached with students informally. Should this not be the case, however, students also have the right to place a statement in the education records of the student commenting upon information in these records and setting forth any reasons for disagreement. If a student's educational records contain such an explanatory statement, the explanation shall be retained as long as the College retains the record and shall be disclosed to any person also receiving the contested portion of the education records.
Additionally, when disputes between the College and students about the contents of educational records are not resolved informally, the student is entitled to a formal review of the complaint. A request for such a review should be made in writing to Barre Stoll, Dean of Student Life, who is designated as the College's hearing officer in matters pertaining to this legislation. If a hearing is requested, the College will inform the participants of the procedures to be followed pursuant to FERPA. Unless otherwise agreed, the review will take place within ten working days following which the petitioner(s) will be advised in writing of the College's decision.
Complaints regarding violations of students' rights under FERPA also may be made to:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20202-5920
The Family Policy Compliance Office will investigate complaints and notify the institution if there has been a failure to comply. The Office also has enforcement powers, which it can exercise under appropriate circumstances. Additional information on this subject can be obtained at http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html.
The following charges will be made for copying file documents: $3.00 for each transcript of Reed work, $5.00 for each rush copy of transcript of Reed work, and $0.25 per page for other materials. In addition, a copy of the record will not be made if satisfactory arrangement for the payment of all bills due the College has not been made.
Reed considers the following to be public information and will 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. 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.
Reed College's directory is available through the "Integrated Reed Information System" (IRIS). It includes the student's name, Reed mailbox number, local address and phone, and permanent home address and phone.
Students are advised at the time of registration that this information will be included in the directory unless the College is specifically instructed not to do so. The student may omit all but the name from the directory for viewing outside the College. Students may authorize the registrar's office to release their class schedule on request.
As a general policy, the College will not disclose educational records to anyone other than the student or parent(s) and the officials described in this policy. The College may, however, release educational records without prior written consent of the student: (1) to government officials entitled to the information by law, (2) to accrediting organizations, (3) to organizations conducting studies for the College in connection with the development of predictive tests, administration of student aid programs and improvement of instruction, and (4) in compliance with judicial order to subpoena, subject to FERPA's restrictions on the use of records. The school may also forward certain records on request to any school in which the student seeks to enroll. Please note that the College may release personally identifying information in an emergency situation if the College believes in good faith that knowledge of the information will protect the health or safety of a student or others.