Family Education Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA)

PRIVACY OF EDUCATIONAL RECORDS
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 as Amended (FERPA): The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 as amended is a federal law. The “Act” was designed to protect the privacy of education records, establish the rights of students to inspect and review their education records, and to provide guidelines for the correction of inaccurate or misleading data through informal or formal hearings.

FERPA affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. They are:

  1. The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days of the day
    the SIT registrar receives a request for access. Students should submit to the Office of the Registrar written requests that identify 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 Office of the Registrar, the registrar shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
  2. The right to request the amendment of the student’s education record that the
    student believes is inaccurate or misleading. Students should write to the SIT official
    responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. FERPA was not intended to provide a process to be used to question substantive judgments, which are correctly recorded. The rights of challenge are not intended to allow students to contest, for example, a grade in a course because they felt a higher grade should have been assigned. If SIT decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, SIT will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of their right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
  3. 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 which permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by SIT in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom SIT has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, collection agent, or official of the National Student Clearinghouse); a person serving on the World Learning Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance 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.

    **SIT may disclose education records in certain other circumstances: to comply with a judicial order or a lawfully issued subpoena; to appropriate parties in a health or safety emergency; to officials of another school, upon request, in which a student seeks or intends to enroll; in connection with a student’s request for or receipt of financial aid, as necessary to determine the eligibility, amount, or conditions of the financial aid, or to enforce the terms and conditions of the aid; to certain officials of the U.S. Department of Education, the Comptroller General, to state and local educational authorities, in connection with certain state or federally supported education programs; to accrediting organizations to carry out their functions; to organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of SIT; and the results of an institutional disciplinary proceeding against the allegation of a crime of violence may be released to the alleged victim of that crime with respect to that crime.
  4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged
    failures by SIT to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the
    office that administers FERPA appears directly below:
    Family Policy Compliance Office U.S. Department of Education
    400 Maryland Avenue SW Washington, DC 20202-4605
  5. World Learning/SIT Study Abroad may release directory information without prior written consent. Directory information is limited to: name, address, telephone numbers, email address, dates of attendance and classes, field of study and certification, certificates, diplomas, and degrees conferred including dates, honors, and awards, the most recent previous educational agency or institution attended, participation in officially recognized activities, practicum location and organization, enrollment status, and anticipated graduation date.
  6. Directory information shall be released freely unless the student files a written request to withhold disclosure of information with the registrar. SIT Study Abroad students can file a written request by contacting the registrar’s office in advance or with the assistance of the academic director once the program has begun. The block will remain in effect until the registrar receives a written statement from the student releasing the hold on directory information.

*The Approval of Participation or Student Disclosure Form signed by each applicant to SIT Study Abroad authorizes SIT and the home institution to release educational records to each other.

**In the case of students studying abroad who remain enrolled in their home institution, and, hence, are dually-enrolled in that institution and SIT, a “school official with legitimate educational interests” includes an individual at the home institution with professional responsibilities for oversight of study abroad. Information that may be shared may include, but is not limited to, academic status, disciplinary actions, dismissal, or withdrawal.