Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act of 1974
In 1974, President Ford signed into law the amendments to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. This act protects the privacy of students, provides them the right to inspect and review educational records and provides the opportunity for a hearing to challenge records when they are inaccurate, misleading or in violation of the student’s rights of privacy. At the University of Maine at Machias, the Registrar’s Office should be contacted regarding questions of interpretation of this law.
Application of the Act
This Act applies to students presently enrolled at the University of Maine at Machias, former students, and alumni, but not to applicants seeking admission to the institution. The Act does not apply to de-identified information.
The following information about students may appear in one or another form before the public. Students may ask that either all of the following information, or that address information only, not be released without their written consent. Students can select the desired Privacy Setting from the drop-down box under Personal Information in their MaineStreet Student Center, or submit a Request to Suppress Directory Information to the Registrar’s Office.
- Full Name
- Campus Address
- Home Address
- Telephone Numbers
- Email Address
- Date of Birth
- Field of Study
- Weight and Height (members of athletic teams)
- Dates of Attendance
- Enrollment Status
- Degrees and Awards Received
- Graduation Date
- Most Previous Educational Institution Attended
- Class Level
- Participation in officially recognized Activities & Sports
If a student chooses not to have this information released, it will not be released, except as otherwise permitted by law.
Students have the right to review and inspect their educational records. If these records contain information on more than one student, a student has the right to review only his/her own specific information.
The financial records of parents shall not be released to students.
The University gives each graduate one complementary official transcript with the diploma. Additional official copies may be obtained from the UMM Registrar’s Office. Written requests should be sent to: Registrar’s Office, University of Maine at Machias, 116 O’Brien Avenue, Machias, ME 04654. Transcripts sent to other University of Maine System campuses are free. Official transcripts cannot be issued to any student indebted to the university. Current students may obtain an unofficial listing of their coursework at any time by visiting the Registrar’s Office in person, or by selecting Course History by Subject in their MaineStreet Student Center. No partial transcripts are issued.
Confidential letters and confidential statements of recommendation placed in the educational records of the student before January 1, 1975 will not be released to students, as long as the statements are used only for the purposes for which they were specifically intended; and
Confidential letters and confidential statements of recommendation placed in the student’s educational records after January 1, 1975 will not be released to students if:
- The student has waived his or her right to inspect and review those letters and statements in a signed writing and the University does not require the waiver as a condition for admission to or receipt of a service or benefit from the University; and
- Those letters and statements are related to the student’s admission, application for employment or receipt of an honor or honorary recognition.
If a student has waived his/her rights under this section, the University shall give the student, on request, the names of the individuals who provided the letters and statements, and shall use the letters and statements only for the purpose for which they were intended. A waiver may be revoked with respect to any actions occurring after the revocation.
Except for those stated below, no one shall have access to educational records without the written consent of the student concerned. Exceptions are:
- School officials who have a legitimate educational interest. The term “school official” includes faculty and staff, and contractors, consultants, volunteers or other parties to whom the University has outsourced institutional services or functions. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if s/he needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility. University staff who are students may access their own records as stated above and may only access other student records within their job responsibilities.
- Individual Students. Sensitive information can be released to school officials on a need-to-know basis as determined by Registrar’s Office staff. School officials in need-to-know status are usually affiliated with an academic program, acting in the capacity of an advisor/counselor, or associated with certain administrative offices.
- Groups of Students. Based on legitimate need, University offices may request information such as lists or file extracts. Offices requesting these data may be asked to provide, in writing, detailed justification and a description of the end use to made of the data. It is imperative that University personnel outside the Registrar’s Office understand the legal responsibilities they assume when they take possession of records or personal data in any form. University staff with access to student files through batch programs and/or query languages have the same responsibility for security and release of data, as they have for data in other forms.
- Access to Computer Files. Access to the University’s student information system, data extracted from that system or query tools can be provided to school officials on a need-to-know basis. The requesting individual must specify, in writing, the data element he/she requires and must sign a statement accepting responsibility under the law for the data released to him/her and ensuring file security. Once access is granted, a user has the same responsibility and faces the same sanctions in regard to security violations as Registrar’s Office personnel.
- Authorized federal or state officials in connection with an audit or evaluation of federal or state supported educational programs, provided that, except when collection of personally identifiable information is specifically authorized by Federal law, such information is protected from further disclosure and destroyed when no longer needed for the purpose for which it was obtained.
- Records released as necessary in connection with the student’s application for, or receipt of, financial aid.
- Organizations conducting studies on behalf of educational agencies, pursuant to a written agreement, and in connection with predictive tests, student aid programs, or the improvement of instruction, provided that the identity of students is not revealed to individuals other than representatives of such organizations. Such information will be destroyed when no longer needed for the purpose for which the study was conducted.
- Recognized accrediting organizations in order to carry out their accrediting functions.
- Parents of a student who is dependent upon such parents for federal income tax purposes.
- Records released on the basis of judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena and on condition that reasonable effort is made to notify the student of the subpoena or order, except where a court or other issuing agency has ordered that there be no notification.
- In an emergency, appropriate persons as determined by the custodian of the records, if the knowledge of information from the particular record is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other persons.
- Information the University has designated as “directory information” if the student has not objected to the release of such information.
- Disclosure to the student.
- Disclosure to a victim of an alleged crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense, of the final results of a disciplinary hearing against the alleged perpetrator of that alleged crime or offense, with respect to that crime or offense.
- Disclosure, subject to certain notice, copying and hearing requirements, to officials of another school, school system or institution of post-secondary education where the student seeks or intends to enroll or where the student is already enrolled, so long as the disclosure is for purposes related to the student’s enrollment or transfer.
- To state or local officials pursuant to state statute concerning the juvenile justice system, with the written provision that they will not disclose the information to others without the student’s consent except as provided by state law.
- Disclosure of the final results of a disciplinary hearing involving an alleged crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense where a violation of school policy was committed. These disclosures may not include information which identifies student victims or witnesses without their prior written consent.
- Disclosure in a legal action between the institution and the student.
- Parental notification of a violation of a law or policy governing the use of or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance by a student under 21 who has been found to have committed a disciplinary violation with respect to that use or possession.
- Disclosure of information provided by the University concerning the status of registered sex offenders.Records released to any individual or group shall be transmitted on condition that the individual or group is informed that they may not permit any other party to have access to such information without the written consent of the student. If the individual or group receiving information violates this condition they will be prohibited from receiving access to student records for five (5) years. The recipient shall also be notified in writing that if compliance with this requirement is not acceptable, all records shall be returned, unused, to the institution. This prohibition does not apply in the case of disclosures of directory information; disclosures pursuant to a subpoena, court order or litigation; disclosure to the parents of a dependent student; disclosures to the student; disclosures of the final results of a disciplinary hearing involving an alleged crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense where a violation was committed; disclosures to parents of a student under 21 violating a law or policy governing the use of alcohol or a controlled substance; disclosures of information that the University is required to disclose under the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, 20 USC 1092(f) (Clery Act), to the accuser and accused regarding the outcome of any campus disciplinary proceeding brought alleging a sexual offense; or disclosures of information concerning the status of registered sex offenders.
Each office that maintains educational records shall maintain a record for each student with the student’s education record. The record shall list all individuals (except institution officials, a person with written consent from the student, the student and court or law enforcement officials described above), agencies or organizations that have requested or obtained access to and each disclosure of the student’s education record, except for directory information. This record will include the legitimate interest for which each release of the student’s education record was permitted.
- A request by a student or agency to inspect a record shall be made in writing to the office which maintains the record.
- Every office is obligated to inform the student when the requested record will be made available. The office has up to 45 days to comply with the request. In most instances, the response will be made promptly.
- Every individual and office is obligated to properly identify itself before being shown appropriate student records.
- Students are obligated to properly identify themselves before being shown their records.
- Students are obligated not to interfere with the normal operation of the office in which the record is being maintained.
- Students are obligated to examine the record during regular hours maintained by the particular office.
- Prior to giving a student his or her record for examination, all confidential data received prior to January 1, 1975, any information waived by the student, any information pertaining to other students and any financial records of parents will be removed.
- The examination of the record shall be supervised.
- Copies of records shall, upon request, be transmitted to the student after payment of established fees for such copies, unless payment of the fee prevents access.
The UMM Registrar’s Office maintains the official academic record of each student in perpetuity.
The Registrar’s Office also maintains each student’s accurate mailing address and contacts students regarding official academic actions taken by the University. Students should use the MaineStreet portal to report any changes of home or mailing address. The University accepts no liability for failure to communicate official academic information or for inability to contact students in an emergency if up-to-date address information has not been reported to the University or recorded by the student in MaineStreet.
University offices use the University of Maine System’s Records Retention Practices as a guide for maintaining and disposing of records.
Records other than the official academic record can be destroyed at the discretion of specific department heads wherein a record resides. For example, the undergraduate Admissions Office destroys records of applicants who do not enroll after one year, while records of applicants who do enroll are maintained in perpetuity. The Office of Financial Aid destroys records five years after the student’s last academic year of attendance. It should be noted that access rights shall be honored prior to the destruction of records where the student has requested such access.
Departments and offices which maintain educational records may have specific policies regarding access to and retention of such records which are consistent with this Policy and FERPA. Students seeking information about those specific policies should contact the particular department or office which is the custodian of the record.
After reviewing a record, a student has the right to challenge the content of the record as being inaccurate, misleading or in violation of the student’s right of privacy. A student may not challenge the judgment of a grade which has been assigned to his or her performance in a course under this policy, but may challenge the accuracy of the recording of a grade.
The University will inform students and parents of their rights through the Student Handbook and/or by providing a copy of this document [the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act].
The procedure to be followed, should students want to challenge the content of their records, is:
- The student should discuss their objection (submitted in writing) with the designated person in the office where the records are maintained and try to resolve the problem through informal discussion.
- If no agreement is reached through informal discussion, students should submit an objection in writing to the supervisor of the office in step 1.
- If no satisfactory solution if forthcoming, the student should file a written request for a formal hearing with the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.
All responses to the student’s objections must be made within a reasonable time. Students must be given notice of the right to a hearing, notice of the time and place of the hearing and an opportunity to present evidence at the hearing. The student may, at his/her own expense, be assisted or represented by one or more individuals of his/her choice, including an attorney. The decision must be based solely on the evidence presented at the hearing, and must include a summary of the evidence and the reasons for the decision.
Upon receipt of a written request for a formal hearing, the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs shall appoint a panel of three (3) members, with no direct interest in the matter, to hear the objection and advise him/her. He/she will appoint one of the panelists to serve as Chair.
Once appointed, the panel will hold a hearing within two (2) calendar weeks. The panel must provide an opportunity for a presentation of evidence relative to the objection stated and must render a decision in writing to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs within one (1) week following the conclusion of the hearing. The Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs will inform the student in writing within ten (10) working days of his or her decision. If, as a result of the hearing, the University decides that the information [in the record] is inaccurate, misleading or otherwise in violation of the privacy rights of the student, it shall: i) amend the record accordingly; and ii) inform the student of the amendment in writing. If, as a result of the hearing, the University decides that the information is not inaccurate, misleading or otherwise in violation of the privacy rights of the student, the student has the right to place a statement in the record if they disagree with the institution’s decision after the hearing.
A student has the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the University of Maine at Machias to comply with the requirements of FERPA, and should do so within 180 days of such alleged violation. The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA is:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, S.W.
Washington, DC, 20202-4605