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Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

FERPA Rights. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, (FERPA), as amended, specifically addresses the rights of students as they pertain to their education records. Education records are those records which directly relate to the individual student currently or formerly in attendance and are maintained by Fisk University.  The following information serves as Fisk’s annual notification of the students' rights and provides links to valuable resources to help members of the Fisk community better understand their responsibilities under FERPA.

  1. The Right to Inspect One’s Educational Records
  2. The Right to Request an Amendment to One’s Record
  3. The Right to Consent to Release of One’s Record
  4. The Right to Refuse the Release of One’s Directory Information
  5. The Right to File a Complaint with the U.S. Department of Education

Important Notice:

As of January 3, 2012, the U.S. Department of Education's FERPA regulations expand the circumstances under which your education records and personally identifiable information (PII) contained in such records — including your Social Security Number, grades, or other private information — may be accessed without your consent. First, the U.S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or state and local education authorities ("Federal and State Authorities") may allow access to your records and PII without your consent to any third party designated by a Federal or State Authority to evaluate a federal- or state-supported education program. The evaluation may relate to any program that is "principally engaged in the provision of education," such as early childhood education and job training, as well as any program that is administered by an education agency or institution. Second, Federal and State Authorities may allow access to your education records and PII without your consent to researchers performing certain types of studies, in certain cases even when we object to or do not request such research. Federal and State Authorities must obtain certain use-restriction and data security promises from the entities that they authorize to receive your PII, but the Authorities need not maintain direct control over such entities. In addition, in connection with Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems, State Authorities may collect, compile, permanently retain, and share without your consent PII from your education records, and they may track your participation in education and other programs by linking such PII to other personal information about you that they obtain from other Federal or State data sources, including workforce development, unemployment insurance, child welfare, juvenile justice, military service, and migrant student records systems.

1. Fisk students have the right to inspect and review their education records within 45 days from the day the University receives a request for access.

Students of Fisk University have the right to inspect and review their education records within 45 days from the day the Fisk receives the student's request for access. If a student wishes to review parts of their education record that are not directly available to them through Banner (the student information system), the following procedures should be followed:

  1. Submit a written, signed request to the director of the department maintaining the record being requested.
  2. Identify the record(s) to be inspected.
  3. State to whom the record is to be released.
  4. Indicate the purpose of the request.

The university official 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 University official to whom the request was submitted, that official will advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.

The academic and administrative offices of the university maintain records that are unique to their relationship with individual students. These offices and records maintained by these offices include, but are not necessarily limited to the following:

  • Business Office: Student account files and Perkins loan information.
  • Departments and Schools: Academic advising records, admission files, including ACT, SAT and placement scores, and high school and college transcripts and other scholastic records.
  • Office of Financial Aid: Financial aid application files, student federal work-study information, scholarships and Stafford loan information.
  • Athletics: Injury reports, scholarship contacts, performance records, height and weight information.
  • Office of the Registrar: Permanent record of academic performance (grades, transcript, including supporting documents), course schedules, transfer credit articulation.
  • Residence Life: Residential life and housing services files.
  • Student Engagement: Student activity files, student disciplinary files, multi-cultural programs and services files, and intramural sports files
  • Student Services: Career planning and placement files, advising files, international program files, services files, and learning assistance services files.
  • Recruitment and Admissions: Admission files on prospective students.
  • University Library: Circulation records.
  • Campus Police : Police reports and records.

2. Fisk students have right to request the amendment of their education records that they believe are inaccurate or misleading.

A student may request, in writing, that Fisk amend a record that he or she believes is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student's privacy under FERPA. The student should write the university official responsible for the record (see above), clearly identify the part of the record the student wants changed, and specify why the record should be changed. If the University decides not to amend the record the student will be notified in writing of the decision. The student will be advised of the right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when he or she is notified of the right to a hearing.

3. Fisk students have the right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in their education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.

Consent to disclose personally identifiable information must contain the following information:

  1. The specific information to be released.
  2. The purpose for the release.
  3. The identity of the person to whom the information is being released.
  4. Signature and date by the student.

Students may use the FERPA Release Form to disclose personally identifiable information.

One exception which permits disclosure of personally identifiable information contained in your education records without your consent is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a:

  • Person employed by the university in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including campus police and security personnel and health staff), acting in the student's educational interest within the limitations of their "need to know."
  • Person or company with whom the university has contracted as its agent to provide a service in lieu of using university employees or officials (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent, temporary staffing agencies and outsourced vendors)
  • Person serving on the Board of Trustees.
  • Student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks.

Outsourced vendors are those parties helping the university provide students access to services relating to their education. For example, the bookstore will be provided with course schedules to assist students with procuring textbooks and other course materials.

The university may disclose a Fisk University student's education records, without consent, to officials of another postsecondary education institution in which the student has applied or seeks to enroll.

4. Fisk students have the right to refuse to permit the university to disclose "Directory Information." Directory Information is information contained in an education record that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. Fisk has designated the following personally identifiable information as public (“directory”) information; the student's:

  • Name
  • Address(es)
  • Telephone number(s)
  • e-mail address(es)
  • Photograph
  • Major and minor field(s) of study, including the college, division, department, institute or program in which the student is enrolled
  • Dates of attendance
  • Grade level, e.g., freshman, sophomore, junior, senior or graduate level
  • Enrollment status, e.g., undergraduate or graduate, full-time or part-time
  • Date of graduation
  • Degree(s) received
  • Honors or awards received, including selection to a dean's list or honorary organization
  • Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
  • Weight and height where the student is a member of athletic teams

Fisk students have the right to have the release of their Directory Information blocked. Students may apply and remove a block by the Directory Information Non-Disclosure Form   is also available to make this request of the Office of Registration and Records. FERPA Blocks remain in effect until the student removes it or notifies the Office of Registration and Records, in writing, to remove it.

Please note the following impact of placing a Directory Information Hold on your record:

  • Fisk receives many inquiries for Directory Information from a variety of sources outside the institution, including friends, parents, relatives, prospective employers, the news media and honor societies. Having a Directory Information Hold on the student's record will preclude release of such information, even to those people.
  • A non-disclosure hold applies to all elements of directory information on your record. Fisk does not apply a non-disclosure hold to individual directory information items.
  • The University assumes no liability as a result of honoring your request. Fisk assumes no responsibility to contact you for subsequent permission to release the hold.
  • Fisk officials must inform the requestor of information that, “Fisk University has no record of the named individual being a student at our institution.”

5. Fisk students have right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education, Family Policy Compliance Office, concerning alleged failures by the university to comply with the requirements of FERPA.

Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-5901