WESTMINSTER COLLEGE INSTITUTIONAL POLICY ON THE FAMILY EDUCATIONAL RIGHTS AND PRIVACY ACT OF 1974
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) governs the release of educational records maintained by an educational institution and access to the records in order for the student to be afforded certain rights to privacy. This law applies to all elementary, secondary, and postsecondary institutions that receive federal funds under any program administered by the U.S. Secretary of Education. Westminster College complies fully with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 as noted in the policy information below:
Students will be notified of their FERPA rights via the Westminster Web Site at www.westminster-mo.edu or by requesting a copy of the policy available in the Registrar’s Office at Westminster College.
Procedure to Inspect Education Records
Students may inspect and review their education records upon request to the appropriate record custodian. Students should submit to the record custodian or appropriate staff person a written request, which identifies as precisely as possible the record or records he or she wishes to inspect.
The record custodian or appropriate staff person will make the needed arrangement for access as promptly as possible and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. Access must be given in 45 days or less from the receipt of the request. Once students have requested access to their education records, such students’ records cannot be destroyed until inspection and review have been provided. When a record contains information about more than one student, the student may inspect and review only the records, which relate to him.
Right to Refuse Access
Westminster College reserves the right to refuse to permit a student to inspect the following records: (1) The financial statement of the student’s parents; (2) Letters and statements of recommendation for which the student has waived his or her right of access, or which were placed in file before January 1, 1975; (3) Records which are excluded from the FERPA definition of education records.
Refusal to Provide Copies
Westminster College reserves the right to deny transcripts or copies of records not required to be made available by the FERPA in any of the following situations: (1) The student has an unpaid financial obligation to the College; (2) There is an unresolved disciplinary action against the student.
Record of Requests for Disclosure
Westminster College will maintain a record of all requests for and/or disclosure of information from a student’s education records. The record will indicate the date of the request, the name of the party making the request, and the legitimate interests these parties had in requesting or obtaining the information.
Fees for Copies of Records
The fee for copies will be $2.00 per page. The fee for an official transcript will be $10.00 per transcript.
Correction of Education Records
After inspecting his or her educational records, a student has the right to request the amendment of such records. He or she should submit such a request in writing to the school official in charge of the records. If the request is denied, the student has the right to a hearing as provided in Title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations. The hearing will be conducted by the Professional Standards Committee, a committee of elected faculty members. If the committee decides against the student, the student has the right to submit a written comment on the disputed material in his or her educational record. The comment will be maintained as a permanent and integral part of his or her record and will be disclosed to any party to whom the student’s educational record is disclosed. The student also has the right to file a complaint with the Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 600 Independence Avenue S.W., Washington, D.C., 20202-4608, according to the procedures described in Title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Subtitle A, Parts 99.64 and 99.65.
Location of Educational Records
Educational records at Westminster are located as follows: (a) academic records are kept by the Dean of Faculty and the Registrar in Westminster Hall; (b) records on student life including records on student housing, organizations, and disciplinary matters are kept by the Dean of Student Life in Westminster Hall; (c) health records are kept by the Director of Counseling and Health Services in Westminster Hall (d) records on student financial affairs are kept by the Vice President for Business & Finance in Westminster Hall and by the Director of Financial Aid in the Enrollment Services/Financial Aid offices in Champ; (e) career service records are kept by the Director of Career Services in Newnham Hall; (f) internship records are kept by the internship coordinator in Newnham Hall (g) athletic records are kept by the Director of Athletics located in the Westminster Gymnasium.
Disclosure of Education Records
Westminster College will disclose information from a student’s education records only with the written consent of the student, except:
- To school officials who have a legitimate educational interest in the records;
- To officials of another school, upon request, in which a student seeks or intends to enroll;
- To certain officials of the U.S. Department of Education, the Comptroller General, and state and local educational authorities, in connection with certain state or federally supported education programs;
- 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;
- If required by a state law requiring disclosure that was adopted before November 19, 1974;
- To organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the college;
- To accrediting organizations to carry out their functions;
- To parents of a student who provide evidence that the parents declared the student as a dependent on their most recent Federal Income Tax form;
- To comply with a judicial order or a lawfully issued subpoena;
- To appropriate parties in a health or safety emergency;
- To an alleged victim of any crime of violence of the results of any institutional disciplinary proceeding against the alleged perpetrator of that crime with respect to that crime.
Parental Access to Children’s Education Records
Records may be released to parents under the following circumstances: 1) through written consent of the student, 2) in compliance with a subpoena, or 3) by submission of evidence that the parents declare the student as a dependent on their most recent Federal Income Tax Form.
Grade Reporting: Westminster faculty report midterm and final grades for all enrolled students to the Registrar’s Office. Westminster College does not mail grade reports. By entering their confidential I.D. and PIN number, students may access their midterm and final grades through the campus computer network. A printable version of the grade report is also available to students on the Campus WEB for hard copy access. Letters regarding academic ineligibility and academic probation will be sent to the student at their legal, home, permanent address.
At Westminster the phrase “other school officials” refers to any person a) employed by the College in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); b) company with whom the College has contracted, e.g. attorney, auditor, collections; c) a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or d) a student serving on an official committee, such as 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 is: (a) maintaining, monitoring, or evaluating the record-keeping system itself; (b) implementation, monitoring, or evaluating the academic curriculum; (c) counseling, advising, or otherwise assisting a particular student; or (d) evaluating particular students with respect to financial or academic awards, honors, or achievements.
A student is defined as any person who attends or has attended Westminster College. An educational record is any record (in handwriting, print, tapes, film, or other medium) maintained by Westminster College or an agent of Westminster College, which is directly related to a student.
E-Mail or Other Electronic Communication
FERPA does not provide information on, or prohibit the use of e-mail for non-directory information. Therefore, it is the policy of Westminster College to authorize e-mail correspondence containing non-directory information only if the e-mail is being sent to and received from the official Westminster College e-mail account created for the student or faculty/staff (the college e-mail address must end in @westminster-mo.edu). Due to the sensitive nature of non-directory information and the likelihood of inadvertent disclosure to someone other than the intended recipient, e-mail containing non-directory information is not a safe means of communication and should be used only if office hours are not available or the student is unable to meet with the faculty/staff in person.
If an e-mail is sent including non-directory information, the sender of the e-mail should take adequate precautions to make certain that the intended recipient (student or faculty/staff with a legitimate educational interest) is actually the person receiving the e-mail. When replying to an e-mail containing non-directory information, faculty/staff/students should examine the e-mail address of the recipient to make certain that it is not being copied to other recipients who do not have a legitimate educational interest. E-mails should never include personally identifiable information such as Social Security Number, Student Number, etc.
A student has the right to object to e-mail correspondence including non-directory information and may do so by presenting his/her objection in writing to the Registrar’s Office before the end of the first fifteen days of classes.
Directory Information: Certain information pertaining to students is defined as “directory information,” which is information that may be freely made public and that is normally published in such things as student directories, yearbooks, school announcements, etc. Westminster College may disclose any of the following items without prior written consent unless written notification is received from the student.
Westminster directory information includes: a student’s name, address, fraternity/sorority affiliation, telephone number, E-mail address, date and place of birth, parents’ names and address(es), major field of study, minor field of study, picture, class, academic advisor, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance at Westminster College, veteran status, full-time or part-time enrollment status, honors, degrees and awards received, the most recent previous educational institution attended, and high school attended. A student has the right to object to the publication of this information and may do so by presenting his objection in writing to the Registrar before the end of the first fifteen days of classes.
A copy of the Department of Education’s Code of Federal Regulations, Part 99 - Family Educational Rights and Privacy is available in the Registrar’s Office.