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Confidentiality of Student Records

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 as Amended

Confidentiality of Student Records

Information in student records will be released only to faculty and professional staff for authorized legitimate educational interest. The student's consent is required to release information other than public information to any non-HSC or non-university system person unless required by law or upon subpoena duces tecum. Public information includes: a student's name, gender, home address (including country), local address, telephone numbers, classification, enrollment status, major, dates of attendance, date and place of birth, photos and other types of media, degrees, certificates, and other awards received, the name of the institutions previously attended, and medical residence location and specialization.

If a student does not wish for this public information to be released, the student is responsible for notifying the Office of the Registrar during the first week of classes to ensure that information is not released by the HSC. A request to withhold public information remains in effect until revoked in writing. This request does not apply when an emergency occurs that indicates that the student is a danger to others or themselves or in the case of an FBI request that is in compliance with the Family and Compliance Office that administers FERPA.

Within the institution, information from students' educational records is given without the consent of the student to administrative officials, faculty members and their staff, only for legitimate purposes in the students' educational interests.

A legitimate educational interest, as defined by The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, exists if the information requested has an educationally related purpose and is necessary for a school official to perform appropriate tasks or to make a judgment within the scope of the official's assigned responsibilities.  Student files are not allowed to be removed from the Office of the Registrar, except by approval of the Registrar and the signature of the school official who is in need of the file.

Whenever information is released to a constituent within the institution, the following statement is attached to the information:

This information has been provided to you with the understanding that it will be used for a legitimate purpose as defined by the FERPA 1974, that you accept responsibility for proper use and care of this information, and that it will be treated confidentially and may not be released under any circumstances, to other parties. You are also responsible for ensuring that the information is disposed of either by shredding or by returning the information, marked "Used" or "Destroy", to the Office of the Registrar.  Please remember that disclosure to a school official having a legitimate educational interest does not constitute institutional authorization to transmit, share, or disclose any information to a third party. Should a third party be in need of information, please refer them to the Office of the Registrar.

Statement on annual FERPA notification

The Health Science Center complies with the annual notification clause of FERPA via publication in the catalog and an annual notification sent to all students via campus email outlining their FERPA rights and privileges.

Student Records Policy for the Texas A&M Health Science Center

Under the "Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA)," the following directory information may be made public unless the student desires to withhold any or all of this information. The student's name, gender, date and place of birth, field of study, enrollment status (full-time, part-time, undergraduate, graduate, etc.); degrees, certificates, and other honors and awards received; the type of award received (academic, technical, Tech-Prep, or continuing education); dates of attendance, student classification; and ; local address, home address including country, telephone numbers, date and place of birth, major field of study, name of all previous educational academic agencies or institutions attended by the student, photos and other media and medical residence location and specialization, and other similar information.

Currently enrolled students wishing to withhold any or all of this information must complete, in person, a Request to Withhold Directory Information form available to all students in the Office of the Registrar in the Health Professions Education Building, Suite 1020, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday. Directory Information on a student may be released unless a Request to Withhold Directory Information form is completed by the student and submitted to the Office of the Registrar by the 12th class day of a fall or spring semester or by the 4th class day of a summer term. The hold will remain in effect until the student requests in writing to have it removed.

Local policy explains in detail the procedures to be used by the HSC for compliance with the provisions of the Act. Copies of the policy can be obtained in the Office of the Registrar.

Questions concerning the Family Education Right and Privacy Act (FERPA) may be referred to the Registrar.

Notification of Rights under FERPA

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records.  These rights include:

(1) The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days of the day the University receives a request for access.  A student should submit to the registrar, dean, head of the academic department, or other appropriate official, a written request that identifies the record(s) the student wishes to inspect. 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 shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.

(2) The right to request the amendment of the student's education records that the student believes are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student's privacy rights under FERPA.  A student who wishes to ask the University to amend a record  should write the University official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record the student wants changed, and specify why it should be changed.

FERPA was not intended to provide a process to be used to question substantive judgments which 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.

If the HSC decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the HSC will notify the student of the decision, in writing, within ten business days of the decision, and advise the student of his or her right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. The student may then request a formal hearing, by writing to the Office of the Registrar within five business days.  At that time, additional information regarding the hearing procedures are provided to the student and are governed by Health Science Center Rule 13.02.99.Z1.01.

(3) 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. 

One exception which permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the HSC or Texas A&M University System in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the HSC or A&M University System has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, collection agent, or official of the National Student Clearinghouse); 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 his or her tasks.  Disclosure to a school official having a legitimate educational interest does not constitute HSC authorization to transmit, share, or disclose any or all information received to third parties unless such disclosure is permitted or required by law. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility.

The HSC may disclose education records in certain other circumstances:

  • to comply with a judicial order or a lawfully issued subpoena;
  • to appropriate parties in a health or safety emergency;
  • to officials of another school, upon request, in which a student seeks or in tends to enroll;
  • in connection with a student's request for or receipt of financial aid, as necessary to determine the eligibility, amount, or conditions of the financial aid, or to enforce the terms and conditions of the aid;
  • to certain officials of the U.S. Department of Education, the Comptroller General, to state and local educational authorities, in connection with certain state or federally supported education programs;
  • to accrediting organizations to carry out their functions;
  • to organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the HSC; the results of an institutional disciplinary proceeding against the alleged of a crime of violence may be released to the alleged victim of that crime with respect to that crime.

(4) The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the University 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  20202-5901

 

The HSC designates the following as public or "Directory Information": name, gender, date and place of birth, field of study, enrollment status (full-time, part-time, undergraduate, graduate, etc.); degrees, certificates, and other honors and awards received; the type of award received (academic, technical, Tech-Prep, or continuing education); dates of attendance, student classification; and ; local address, home address including country, telephone numbers, date and place of birth, major field of study, name of all previous educational academic agencies or institutions attended by the student, photos and other media and medical residence location and specialization, and other similar information.

Students may restrict the release of "Directory Information", except to school officials with legitimate educational interests and others as indicated in point #3 above. To do so, a student must make the request in writing to the Office of the Registrar. Once filed, this request becomes a permanent part of the student's record until the student instructs the HSC, in writing, to have the request removed.