Federal law governs how and under what conditions colleges and universities can disclose information contained in a student’s education record. The Family Educational and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), as amended, requires that schools notify students and parents of Drew University’s method for complying with the law’s requirements. FERPA assures access by students to their official records, permits student review of those records for accuracy, guarantees use of the records only for legitimate educational purposes, and controls release of records.
Release of Protected Information
Federal law permits institutions of higher education to release personally identifiable information from a student’s education record to parents or legal guardians when authorized by the student or upon proof that the student is financially dependent (as defined by the Internal Revenue Service).
Information drawn from a student’s education record can also be disclosed to appropriate University personnel or to officials of another school in which a student is also actively enrolled or seeking to enroll for purposes related to the student’s enrollment or transfer. Drew University officials must demonstrate a legitimate educational interest to have access to protected information, as opposed to personal or private interest, and such a determination will be made on a case by case basis.
A University official is a person employed by Drew University (or “the University”) in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health and counseling staff); a person or company with whom the University has contracted as its agent to provide a service instead of using University employees or officials; a person serving on the 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 tasks, after advisement of these restrictions. A University official has a legitimate educational interest if the access to an education record is necessary to fulfill the official’s professional or work related responsibilities for the University. Information may also be released to appropriate officials in the event of the health or safety emergency.
Additionally, FERPA permits the release of personally identifiable information in a student’s education record, without the prior consent of the student:
- to organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf, the school, in order to develop, validate, or administer predictive tests, administer student aid programs, or improve instruction;
- for certain financial aid purposes, including determining eligibility, amount, conditions, or enforcement;
- to accrediting organization stations in connection with their accrediting functions;
- to agencies acting on behalf of the federal or state governments, including their departments of education; and
- to law enforcement agencies or third parties upon subpoena.
In the case of a subpoena, consistent with federal law, the University may only withhold its response for a reasonable period of time after notification is provided to the student. In the case of a law enforcement subpoena, a response will be provided without notification where the subpoena or court order directs that disclosure not be made.
Release of Information to Students and Parents
Students enrolled at Drew University are considered to be independent consistent with the requirements of federal law.
FERPA does not permit Drew University to presume that all undergraduates are dependents. Students who are 18 years of age or attend a post secondary institution control the release of their educational records. Students can provide their parents or guardians with access to their educational records online at treehouse.drew.edu or create a passphrase for parents or guardians in order to obtain academic and financial information by telephone. In addition, students may sign printed release forms that are available in the Office of the Registrar. Such releases remain in effect throughout a student’s college career at Drew University or until notification to the contrary.
Parents or legal guardians may also receive grades and academic progress information upon documentation of the student’s dependency (submission to the Office of the Registrar of IRS Form 1040 or 1040A). In the case of divorced parents, non-custodial parents of undergraduates are not automatically entitled to a student’s records, including student or custodial-parent financial information or student grades, unless a written release has been filed with the appropriate office. A student may at any time request in writing that his or her student records be released to non-custodial parents or legal guardians.
Violations of Law
Information regarding a student’s violation of any federal, state, or local law, or of any rule or policy governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance, may be disclosed to a parent if the University determines the student has committed a disciplinary violation and the student is under 21 years of age at the time of the disclosure.
The name of the responsible party, the violation committed, and any sanction imposed that are related to a crime of violence or sex offenses may also be disclosed to a victim or to third parties, consistent with the provisions of federal law, when the student is found to have violated University policies or rules.
Drew University maintains a student’s permanent record in the Office of the Registrar. The permanent record includes the transcript, copies of applications for special programs (e.g., study abroad) or special requests (e.g., leaves of absence), and copies of official correspondence from or to deans and other Drew administrators. A similar file, with the addition of records of disciplinary action, is maintained for undergraduate students in the Office of the Dean of Campus Life and Student Affairs. For Graduate and Theological School students, records on disciplinary actions may also reside with the dean of that school and/or the Office of the Dean of Campus Life and Student Affairs. Some quantifiable information from the permanent file may also be stored in the University’s computer, including the permanent transcript for students enrolled after 1981, academic warning notices, processed leaves of absences, processed official withdrawals, and decisions from the Committee on Academic Standing. The permanent file is available to faculty and administrators who have valid educational reasons for reviewing it. Student records may also be kept with the following offices or persons:
- The Career Planning and Placement Office (if a student has established a file there)
- Office of Academic Services
- Office of Financial Assistance (if student has applied for aid)
- The Business Office
- The Office of Residence Life and Community Standards
- Housing, Conference, and Hospitality
- Educational Opportunity Scholars (if student is enrolled through the EOS program)
- The University Library
- The Office of Admissions
Letters of recommendation solicited on a confidential basis are kept confidential. The Business Office can make available a statement of the student’s account upon request by the student. The Financial Aid Form of a dependent student’s family is available for examination by the student in the Office of Financial Assistance and is withheld from the dependent student only if a parent makes such a request in writing to the University Director of Financial Assistance.
Release of Directory Information
Most information contained in any of these records may be released outside Drew University only with the consent of the student. Copies of letters sent to students indicating formal actions of the Committee on Academic Standing affecting academic status and official actions in conduct cases, including the statement of charges and their disposition, will be sent only to students.
Consistent with FERPA, Drew University reserves the right to make public at its discretion, without prior authorization, the following directory information: name; class; campus mail box; e-mail address; Drew University telephone extension; home telephone number; address; major field of study; hometown and state; dates of attendance at Drew University; degrees from Drew University; academic, extracurricular, and athletic honors and awards received; height and weight for members of athletic teams; participation in officially recognized activities and sports; the previous educational institution most recently attended; or other similar information. Any student unwilling to have any or all of this information released at the university’s discretion without prior consent must notify, in writing, both the Dean of Campus Life and Student Affairs and the University Registrar by the date of registration for the fall semester. In the case of a student’s failure to submit a written restriction, Drew University assumes that release of directory information is appropriate.
Posting of Grades by Faculty
Suspected Inaccuracies in Files
A student requesting to inspect his/her records must to do so in writing to the office in question and should specify the records to be reviewed. The University will permit the student to review the requested records within 45 days of the original request.
Students should bring suspected inaccuracies in any files to the attention of the appropriate department head (e.g., University Registrar, Director of Health Services, Director of Financial Assistance, etc.). Disagreement over the accuracy of data in a student file should be taken to the Dean of Campus Life and Student Affairs.
Cases involving disagreements about University data and records are heard by a committee convened by the Provost, Dean of Campus Life and Student Affairs, or the University Registrar, as appropriate. If the committee rules against a student’s appeal, the student may place a statement in the permanent file challenging the accuracy of information in that file or further explaining the data. If a student believes that Drew University has not adequately redressed a grievance, the student may file an appeal with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Office, Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, Washington, DC 20202.
Record of Disclosure to Third Parties
Whenever non-directory information is disclosed to third parties, the appropriate University office(s) will maintain a record of such disclosure as long as the record to which it pertains is maintained. The record of disclosure indicates the third parties who request information and the legitimate interest those parties have for the request. If a student wishes to authorize release of information from his or her educational records, such authorization must be in writing or an e-mail sufficient indicia of reliability. It must specify the records to be disclosed, the purpose of the disclosure, and the parties to whom disclosure is to be made.
Drew University records are subject to a record-retention policy pursuant to which all records except the transcript, letters regarding academic status (e.g., probation, required leaves of absence), and special requests (e.g., leaves of absence) are destroyed after five (5) years following graduation or separation. Student conduct records are maintained for a period of three years following graduation or separation, unless otherwise required by federal law. Details about records maintenance are available from the Office of the Registrar or the Office of Campus Life and Student Affairs.
Copies of Transcripts
Students may obtain copies of their academic transcript upon request and upon payment of any incidental fees for copying. For students entering Drew prior to the Fall 1994 semester, certified copies of an academic transcript cost $5.00 a copy for every copy after the first request; there is no charge for the first copy. Students entering Drew in the Fall 1994 semester and thereafter pay a onetime fee of $25.00 (included in their tuition cost) for copies of transcripts. However, all students are charged $10.00 for same-day service for transcripts. All transcript fees must be paid in advance of transcript’s release, and no transcripts are released for students or alumni who have any outstanding financial balances with the university.
Additional Privacy Restrictions: Health Services and Counseling Records
Health Service and Counseling treatment records are confidential. Access to individually identifiable student medical or counseling records is limited to staff and medical or counseling personnel who are involved in a student’s care. Personal medical or counseling records may be released as directed with the written consent of a student, including to other medical professionals of the student’s choice or as a result of a durable power of attorney. Additionally, Health Service or Counseling records may be disclosed for treatment purposes, payment, or health care operations.
In the case of a potentially life threatening emergency or in the case of a risk of serious imminent harm to the health and safety of the student or others, pertinent medical or counseling information may also be shared with emergency care providers, appropriate emergency contacts, and other school officials as necessary. Emergency medical personnel are entitled to information that is pertinent to an individual’s emergency care. Community emergency medical services (which may include Public Safety officers or local police personnel who may act as medical first responders) may be called upon as necessary.
All members of the Drew University community should maintain strict privacy and confidentiality regarding the disclosure of any individual’s health care information.
For additional information regarding disclosure of student records, contact:
The Office of the Registrar, Tilghman House Phone: 973-408-3025 Fax: 973-408-3044 firstname.lastname@example.org. Office Hours: M-F: 9am to 5pm; or
The Office of the Dean of Campus Life and Student Affairs, Ehinger Center, 973-408-3390 or 3216 or at email@example.com. Office Hours: M-F: 9am to 5pm