Student Privacy Rights and FERPA

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) is federal legislation in the United States that protects the privacy of students’ education records. FERPA applies to all educational institutions that receive federal funds and affords students the right to inspect and review their education records, the right to seek to have their records amended, and the right to have some control over the disclosure of information.

Generally, the University must have written permission from the student (or under certain circumstances, the student’s parent) to release any information from a student’s education record. However, FERPA allows schools to disclose those records, without consent, under limited circumstances (as described below).

FERPA for Students

Students may sign a FERPA Consent Form online on Self-Service, specifying to whom the University may release protected information, such as academic records or financial information. The University makes students aware of their rights under FERPA at orientations, in the Student Handbook, Transitioning to University Life courses, this website, by way of various academic support services, and in an annual notification as the law requires.

Students will receive an email notification reminding them of their rights under FERPA the first week of every semester. You can access the Notification online.

Fairleigh Dickinson University has determined the following definitions as they apply to FERPA compliance:

Student: any person with respect to whom the University maintains an education record, whether or not that person is currently in attendance. Persons who have not been in attendance are not “students” entitled to review their records.

Education Record: Records directly related to a student maintained by the University, excluding:

  • A record kept and used by a staff member as a purely personal matter, if it is kept in the possession of the individual who made the record, and information contained in the record has never been revealed or made available to any other person except the maker’s temporary substitute.
  • An employment record of an individual whose employment is not contingent on the fact that he or she is a student, provided the record be used only in relation to the individual’s employment.
  • Records maintained by the Fairleigh Dickinson University Office of Public Safety if the record is maintained solely for law enforcement purposes.
  • Records maintained by the Student Health Services if the records are used only for treatment of a student and made available only to those persons providing the treatment.
  • Alumni records that contain information about a student after he or she is no longer in attendance at the University and the records do not relate to the person as a student.
  • Financial records of student’s parents.
  • Certain confidential letters of recommendation, to include those submitted by student at the time of application to the University.
  • Grades on peer-reviewed assignments or papers that are not maintained by the University.

Directory Information: The University has designated the following as “directory information.” This is information that may be disclosed for any purpose, at the discretion of the University. However, students may block the sharing of this information by completing the Non-Disclosure of Directory Information form at Self-Service.

  • student’s name
  • telephone numbers
  • addresses
  • official FDU email
  • major and minor fields of study
  • college major and year (freshman, sophomore, etc.)
  • enrollment status (full-time/part-time) including credit hours
  • dates of attendance
  • degree sought and time
  • degrees conferred, awards and honors conferred
  • participation in officially recognized activities and sports
  • weight and height of members of athletic teams
  • the most recent previous educational agency or institution attended by the student
  • fraternity and/or sorority and educational societies

If a Student Blocks Her/His Directory Information

No information may be given out about the student. By blocking one’s directory information, all requests for disclosure MUST be with the written consent of the student, except in extraordinary circumstances where a specific legal exception applies. The student’s name CANNOT be listed in any material or media distributed or sponsored by the University. This includes references to the student’s name or picture. As an example for the extent to which this must be taken, a student who blocks her or his directory information may not be listed in any program information (athletics, dance, drama, music) or even the Commencement Program at graduation.

Enrollment Services has updated information on who has blocked their directory information. Please check with this office prior to any disclosures. A student may change her/his directory block status at any time by updating the Non-Disclosure of Directory Information form at Self-Service.

Procedures to Inspect

FERPA dictates that a school must provide a student with an opportunity to review his or her education records within 45 days of the receipt of a request. A school is required to provide the student with copies of education records or make other arrangements to provide the student access to the records if a failure to do so would effectively prevent the student from obtaining access to the records. While the school may not charge a fee for retrieving the records, it may charge a reasonable fee for providing copies of the records, if the fee would not prevent access to the records.

A student must provide written consent before the University may disclose personally identifiable information from the student’s education records on behalf of the student. The written consent must state the purpose of the disclosure, specify the records that may be disclosed, identify the party or class of parties to whom the disclosure may be made, and be signed and dated.

If the consent is given electronically, the consent form must identify and authenticate a particular person as the source of the electronic consent and indicate that person’s approval of the information contained in the electronic consent.

FERPA for Parents/Families

Under FERPA, institutions are not required to disclose a student’s information to the student’s parent, but may do so if: (a) there is written consent to the disclosure from the student, or (b) the parent requests the information in writing and provides evidence that the student is his or her dependent under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, or (c) the student has violated a Federal, State, or local law or any rule or policy of the University regarding the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance, provided that the University has determined that the student has committed a disciplinary violation with respect to that use or possession and the student is under the age of 21 at the time of the disclosure.

The University provides students with the ability to provide consent through Self-Service.

A school may disclose information from a student’s education records to parents without prior consent in the case of a health or safety emergency that involves the student.

Disclosure of Education Records

Prior to disclosing a student’s education records, the University will obtain the student’s signed and dated written consent to such disclosure as previously explained, unless consent is not required by law. Such consent is not needed for disclosure of directory information or for disclosure to:

  • Fairleigh Dickinson University school officials who have a legitimate educational interest in the records.

    A school official is:

    • a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position;
    • a person serving on an institutional governing body;
    • a person employed by, under contract to, or otherwise engaged by the University to perform a special task, such as an attorney or auditor;
    • a person or organization acting as an official agent of the institution and performing a business function or service on behalf of the institution (the function or service must be one that the institution normally would perform itself);
    • a student serving on a committee; or
    • a student assisting another school official in fulfilling his or her professional responsibilities (e.g. work study).

    A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official is:

    • performing a task that is specified in his or her position description or by a contract agreement;
    • performing a task related to a student’s education;
    • performing a task related to the discipline of a student; or
    • providing a service or benefit relating to the student or student’s family, such as healthcare, counseling, job placement, or financial aid.
  • To officials of another school, upon request, in which a student seeks or intends to enroll. Fairleigh Dickinson University will forward copies of such records to the parent/student upon written request.
  • To certain officials of the U.S. Department of Education, the Comptroller General of the United States, the Attorney General of the United States, and state and local educational authorities, records in connection with an audit or evaluation of Federal or State-supported education programs, or for the enforcement of or compliance with Federal legal requirements that relate to those programs. These entities may make further disclosures of personally identifiable information (PII) to outside entities that are designated by them as their authorized representatives to conduct any audit, evaluation, or enforcement or compliance activity on their behalf. These agencies must obtain certain use-restriction and data security promise from their entities that they authorize to receive your PII, but the agencies need not maintain direct control over such entities. In addition, in connection with Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems, state authorities may collect, compile, permanently retain, and share your without your consent PII from your education records, and they may track your participation in education and other programs by linking such PII to other personal information about you that they obtain from other Federal or State data sources.
  • 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 parents of Fairleigh Dickinson University students (who are financial dependents of their parents), if such financial dependency is reflected on either parent’s most recent federal income tax return.
  • To state or local officials if required by a state law requiring disclosure and related to the juvenile justice system, under certain circumstances.
  • To organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the University.
  • To accrediting organizations to carry out their functions.
  • To comply with a judicial order or a lawfully issued subpoena. Where legally permissible, the University will make reasonable efforts to notify students that a subpoena has been received before releasing the records.
  • To appropriate parties in a health or safety emergency
  • Directory information as noted herein.
  • With the written consent of the student.
  • To a victim of an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or non-forcible sexual offense. (Only the final results of the disciplinary proceeding, regardless of whether the postsecondary institution concluded that a violation was committed. Results can only be released to the victim).
  • To anyone, the final results of a disciplinary proceeding, if the disclosure is in connection with a disciplinary proceeding at a postsecondary institution if it determines that the student is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense and with respect to the allegation against him or her the student has committed a violation of the institution’s rules or policies.
  • To parents of Fairleigh Dickinson University students under the age of 21 regarding the student’s violation of any Federal, State or local law, or any University policy/rule, regarding the use or possession of alcohol or controlled substance if the University determines the student committed a disciplinary violation.

Right to Seek Amendment of Student Records

A student has the right to request the amendment of their 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 Fairleigh Dickinson University to amend a record should write the school official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record the student wants changed, and specify why it should be changed.

If Fairleigh Dickinson University decides not to amend the record as requested, Fairleigh Dickinson University will notify the student in writing of the decision and the student’s right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.

Right to Refuse Access

Fairleigh Dickinson University reserves the right to refuse to permit a student to inspect records excluded from the FERPA definition of education records noted herein.

Student Records and Their Locations

Academic – Office of Enrollment Services

Metropolitan Campus: 1000 River Road, Teaneck, NJ 07666 (T-KB1-05)
Florham Campus: 285 Madison Avenue, Madison, NJ 07940 (M-MS0-04)
Aurora Bugallo, University Registrar

Disciplinary – Office of the Dean of Students

Craig Mourton
Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs Metropolitan Campus: 1000 River Road, Teaneck, NJ 07666 (T-DS1-01)

Financial Aid

1000 River Road, Teaneck, NJ 07666 ((T-KB1-04)
Renee Volak, University Director for Financial Aid

Public Safety

New Jersey Campuses: 285 Madison Avenue, Madison, NJ 07940 (M-BB1-01)
Vitiello, Joseph, University Director of Public Safety

Law Enforcement or Legal Documents – Office of the General Counsel

1000 River Road, Suite 3030, Teaneck, NJ 07666 (H-DH3-03)
Phone: 201-692-7071
Fax: 201-692-7069

Records of Requests for Disclosures

Fairleigh Dickinson University will maintain a record of requests for and/or disclosure of information from a student’s education records. The record will indicate the name of the party making the request, any additional party to whom it may be disclosed, and the legitimate interest the party had in requesting or obtaining the information. The eligible student may review the record.

U.S. Department of Education FERPA Laws & Guidance

Any questions concerning FERPA should be directed to the Dean of Students office on your appropriate campus.