Texas Tech University

Procedures and Information of the Family Educational Right and Privacy Act of 1974

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Title

Procedures and Information of the Family Educational Right and Privacy Act of 1974

Category

Miscellaneous Policies and Information

Date Approved and/or Revised

March 13, 2013

Student Records. Texas Tech University maintains records on students in various academic and administrative offices on the campus. A list of these offices is set forth below. The chief administrative officer in each office is responsible for the student records under his or her control and for the release of such information on those records.

Student Access to Education Records. All students (and former students) of the university have the right to access their "education records" for the purpose of review, with the exception of those records excluded by the Act.

Students have the right to obtain copies of records relating to themselves at the expense of the student. The reproduction charge shall not exceed the actual cost to the university. The university will respond to all requests for explanations and interpretations of records or information, provided the response is not in violation of the Act.

The Act provides that a student may waive his right of access to confidential letters of recommendation in the areas of admissions, job placement and the receipt of awards. Students seeking employment through the university Placement Office may have signed such a waiver. Information concerning the status of such waivers may be obtained from the Director of Career Services. Consent to release personally identifiable information, such as rank in class, personal conduct, grade point ratio, academic progress, etc., to non-authorized personnel should be obtained from the student by individuals releasing such information.

Records Not Accessible to Students. Instructional, supervisory, and administrative personnel records and educational personnel records pertaining thereto in the sole possession of the author and not revealed to any person other than a substitute (i.e., grade books, notes of observation and notes for recollection purposes).

Student records, if any, in the custody of the Office of the University Security Police, provided such records are maintained solely for law enforcement purposes, and made available only to law enforcement officials of the same jurisdiction.

Employment records of a university employee who is not a student.

Records and information on a student maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional acting in such capacity or assisting in such capacity, which are made, maintained or used in connection with treatment to the student, except that such records can be personally reviewed by a physician or other appropriate professional of the student=s choice.

Authorized Non-student Access to Student Records. Under the following circumstances and to the following people, educational records (or personally identifiable information within a record) may be released without the written consent of the student:

  • Officials, faculty and staff employed by the university, if they have a "legitimate educational interest."
  • Officials of other educational institutions in which the student intends "or seeks" to enroll, provided the student is notified of what is being released and given a copy if desired.
  • Authorized representatives of the Comptroller General of the United States; the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare; administrative heads of educational agencies; or state educational authorities.
  • Individuals needing this information in connection with a student's application for, or receipt of, financial aid.
  • State and local officials to whom state laws (in effect on or before November 19, 1974) require information to be reported.
  • Organizations like Educational Testing Service and College Entrance Examination Board in connection with developing, validating, or administering predictive tests, administering student aid programs, and improving instruction, but such organizations must not show the personally identifiable information to outsiders and the information will be destroyed when no longer needed for audit, evaluation, and/or enforcement of federal legal requirements.
  • Accrediting organizations.
  • Parents who certify a student is carried as a dependent for federal income tax purposes. This certification must be ascertained by the university office concerned. (It would include such items as grades, transcripts, financial aid and probation reports).
  • Appropriate persons, if the knowledge of such information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other persons.
  • Individuals requiring such information by means of a judicial order or any lawfully issued subpoena, upon condition that the student is notified by the university of all such orders and subpoenas in advance of compliance.

Students' Right to Challenge. Students have the right to challenge records and information directly relating to them. A grade challenge is not available under the procedure of this section. The challenge is limited to inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise inappropriate records and information. The procedures set forth below shall be followed for an appropriate challenge. Any student wishing to challenge records or information directly relating to him must notify the individual responsible for maintaining the record of the wish to challenge. The notice must be in writing and specifically identify the item challenged and the basis for the challenge. This written request must be filed in duplicate with the custodian of the challenged record.

All initial hearings will be informal and participants will be the custodian of the challenged records or information, the student and the author (if appropriate) of the material.

If any of the participants (record custodian, student or author) are not satisfied with the results of the informal hearing, a formal hearing will be conducted under the procedures adopted and published below:

  • The hearing will be conducted and the result decided within a reasonable period of time (seven business days) following the request for the hearing.
  • The hearing will be conducted, and the decision rendered, by an institutional official or other party who does not have a direct interest in the outcome of the hearing. The appointment of the official or party will be made by the Office of the President of the University.
  • The student will be afforded a full and fair opportunity to present evidence relevant to challenging the content of the educational records in order to insure that they are not inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the privacy or other rights of students.
  • The hearing also provides an opportunity for correction or deletion of any inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise inappropriate data contained in the record and/or to insert into the record a written explanation of the student respecting the content of the challenged record.
  • The decision must be rendered in writing to all interested parties within a reasonable period of time (seven business days) after the conclusion of the hearing.

Release of "Student Directory Information." Information on students, such as date and place of birth, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, and the most recent previous educational agency or institution attended, is defined and referred to in this Act as "student directory information" (this is a category of information and does not refer necessarily to a publication known as a "directory"). The information mentioned above will be released by various campus offices periodically or upon request unless the student requests in writing that a specific information be withheld.

A publication known as the Texas Tech University Complex Directory is one type of periodical containing data classified as "student directory information." This publication will contain the student=s name, address, telephone listing, major field of study and classification, unless the student indicates at the time of fall registration on the appropriate form that part or all of the data be withheld from the publication.

Destruction of Records. The university constantly reviews "education records" it maintains and periodically it becomes necessary to destroy certain records. However, in no case will the university destroy records, if such action is prohibited by applicable state or federal law. The student's basic scholastic record is kept and maintained permanently in the Office of the Registrar.

Letters of Recommendation. Students have the right to review recommendations used in applications for employment or for admission to any educational agency or institution, or information concerning honors awarded, except when the student waives the privilege in writing. Appropriate forms are available in the career services office for students using this service for future employment purposes. These forms are designed to provide the student with several options concerning the use and confidentiality of future letters of reference and recommendation.

Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, the student does not have access to confidential letters and statements of recommendation which were placed in the education records prior to January 1, 1975, if the letters or statements are used for purposes for which they were specifically intended.

Former Students. These procedures and practices apply to all persons formerly enrolled at Texas Tech University and to all those students currently enrolled in the university.