The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (known by FERPA) applies to higher education institutions that receive funds under any program administered by the Secretary of Education of United States. The law gives certain rights to an “eligible student”. “An eligible student” is a student who is 18 years of age or older or who attends a postsecondary institution. These rights include:
- The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days from the day the Universidad Metropolitana, Universidad del Turabo, or Universidad del Este (continental US campuses) receives the request for access. A student should submit to the Registrar’s Office, a written request that identifies the record(s) the student wishes to inspect. The term “education records” is defined as those records that contain information directly related to a student and which are maintained by an educational agency or institution or by a party acting for the agency or institution.
- 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 request the school to amend a portion of the record should write the Registrar’s office and clearly identify the part of the record the student wants amended, 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.
- The right to provide written consent before the university 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. Upon request, the school also discloses education records without consent to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
- The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Universidad Metropolitana, Universidad del Turabo, or Universidad del Este (continental US campuses) 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.
The Registrar’s Office is responsible for the administration and enforcement of FERPA. The University discloses information from a student’s educational records only with the student’s written consent, except:
- To school officials with a legitimate educational interest in the records.
- The parents of a dependent student as defined in the Income Tax Return.
- Anyone with a court order that requires the institution to show the records without the student’s consent, however generally reasonable effort should be made to notify the student prior to complying with the order.
- The accrediting agencies, organizations conducting studies for educational institutions in the applications process for financial aid in the performance of audits or assessments relating to compliance with educational programs, authorization through the directory information as a result of a disciplinary hearing an alleged victim of a crime of violence.
Letter to the students about their rights under FERPA
Under FERPA, the University may not generally disclose personally information from an eligible student’s education records to a third party unless the eligible student has provided written consent. Yet, the University is permitted to disclose personally identifiable information from a student’s education records when such information has been designated as directory information. “Directory Information” is defined as information contained in the education records of a student that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. Directory Information is divided into three categories:
- Name, student number, address, e-mail address, telephone number, date and place of birth, major field of study, enrollment status, dates of attendance, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of athletes, degrees and awards received and recent previous institution attended. Or,
- Name, student number, major field of study, enrollment status, dates of attendance, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of athletes, degrees and awards received and recent previous institution attended. Or,
- Student does not authorize the University to provide information in the categories of
Directory of Information.
If you have questions regarding FERPA, you may contact your Registrar’s Office:
Capital Area Campus – (301)949-2224, ext. 8406
Branch Campus Registrar – (407)207-3363, ext. 1843