PRIVACY ACT

The Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) gives to each student right to know the following: what types of student records are maintained; who has access to the records and for what purpose; what the procedures are to access and review one’s own records; how to amend any record which is inaccurate or misleading; and the cost for reproducing copies of records from one’s own file. A student also has the right to control the distribution of information to others with the following exceptions: faculty and administrative staff of the institution; local, state, and federal regulatory authorities; accrediting agencies; parents of a dependent student; and release of information pertaining to health emergencies. A student who has questions or concerns regarding institutional compliance with the Privacy Act is encouraged to make an appointment with the School Director.

Student and Parents Rights Related to Educational Records:

Students have a right to know about the purposes, content, and location of information kept as part of their educational records.

They have a right to gain access to and challenge the content of their educational records. FERPA was not intended to provide a process to be used to question substantive judgments that are correctly recorded. The rights of challenge are not intended to allow students to contest, for example, a grade in a course because they felt a higher grade should have been assigned. Students also have a right to expect that information in their educational records will be kept confidential and disclosed only with their permission or under provisions of the law.

Parents have the right to expect confidentiality of certain information about them in student records and, under certain conditions, to gain access to information in student educational records. For purposes of FERPA, Plenum Institute considers all students independent, limiting the student educational record information that may be released to parents, without the student’s specific written permission, to directory information.

Educational Records

Student educational records are specifically defined as records, files, documents, and other materials that contain information directly related to a student and maintained by Plenum Institute or someone acting for Plenum Institute according to policy.

Excluded from student educational records are records of instructional, supervisory, and administrative personnel and ancillary educational personnel in the sole possession of the maker and that are not accessible or revealed to any other person, except for a substitute. Additionally, notes of a professor or staff member intended for his or her own use are not part of the educational record, nor are records of police services, application records of students not admitted to Plenum Institute, alumni records, or records of physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, or other recognized professionals. Plenum Institute maintains student records for 7 years physically and 21 years in electronic media.

Records relating to an individual who is employed by Plenum Institute not as a result of his or her status as a student are also excluded. However, employment records relating to Plenum Institute students who are employed as a result of their status as students are considered educational records.

Generally, Plenum Institute must have written permission from the parent or 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:

  • School officials with legitimate educational interest
  • Other schools to which a student is transferring
  • Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes
  • Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student
  • 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
  • State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific State law.

 

Directory Information

Some information about students is considered “directory information”. Directory information may be publicly shared by the institution unless the student has taken formal action to restrict its release.

Directory information includes:

  • name
  • address
  • telephone number
  • school or college
  • major field of study
  • degree sought
  • expected date of completion of degree requirements and graduation
  • degrees and awards received
  • dates of attendance
  • full or part time enrollment status
  • class roster (only to be released to students in the class)

A student must formally request during registration to prevent disclosure of directory information, except to school officials with legitimate educational interests and certain others as specified in the regulations. Once filed, this request becomes a permanent part of the student’s record until the student instructs Plenum Institute, in writing, to have the request removed.

If any or all of this directory information is not to be released by Plenum Institute without prior written consent of the student, he or she should so inform the Director of the School in writing before the start of class.

Former students of Plenum Institute have the opportunity to limit the release of directory information notifying the Director of the School in writing.

Students are eligible under the Act to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education Family Policy and Regulations Office, Federal Office Building, Number 6, 400 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington D.C. if they believe that the institution did not comply with the requirements of the Act. For additional information about FERPA please contact 202 260 3887. Also, please see web site http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html for further details about FERPA.

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