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FERPA

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords eligible students certain rights with respect to their education records. (An “eligible student” under FERPA is a student who is 18 years of age or older or who attends a postsecondary institution. ESF in the High School students are considered eligible students regardless of their age.) These rights are:

  • The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days after the day the SUNY ESF Registrar receives a request for access. A student should submit to the Registrar a written request that identifies the record(s) the student wishes 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’s Office then our office shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
  • The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA. A student who wishes to ask the school to amend a record should write the school official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record the student wants changed, and specify why it should be changed. If the school decides not to amend the record as requested, the school will notify the student in writing of the decision and the student’s 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.
  • The right to provide written consent before SUNY ESF discloses personally identifiable information from the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. The school discloses education records without a student’s prior written consent under the FERPA exception for disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the SUNY ESF in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position (including University Police); a person serving on the board of trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance com­mittee. A school official also may include a volunteer or contractor outside of SUNY ESF who performs an institutional service of function for which the school would otherwise use its own employees and who is under the direct control of the school with respect to the use and maintenance of education records, such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent or a student volunteering to assist 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 responsibilities for SUNY ESF.
  • The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by SUNY ESF 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, DC 20202

Generally, schools must have written permission from the eligible student in order to release any information from a student's education record. However, FERPA allows schools to disclose those records, without consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions (34 CFR § 99.31):

    • School officials with legitimate educational interest:

      A school official is a:
      1. person employed by SUNY ESF in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position;
      2. member of SUNY ESF's Board of Trustees;
      3. a contractor, consultant, volunteer or other outside party providing services or functions to SUNY ESF which would otherwise be provided by employees of the campus;
      4. SUNY ESF Univesrity Police; or
      5. student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or who is assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks;
      6. a person employed by the SUNY System Administration.
    • Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes;
    • Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school;
    • Accrediting organizations;
    • To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena;
    • Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies;

(Source: US Department of Education Family Compliance Office: http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/ps-officials.html)

SUNY ESF may disclose, without consent, the following "directory" information:

  • Student's name
  • Address
  • Date of birth
  • Telephone number
  • Honors and awards
  • Dates of attendance
  • Major/class level
  • Degree received/honors
  • Email
  • Photo

Directory information may be released for any purpose at the discretion of SUNY-ESF.

Under the provisions of FERPA, currently enrolled students have the right to prevent the external disclosure of directory information. Please consider very carefully the consequences of any decision by you to prevent this disclosure, since should you decide to choose this option, any future requests for information from persons of organizations outside SUNY-ESF including future employers or graduate schools will be refused. SUNY-ESF assumes no liability for honoring your instructions that such information be withheld.