The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act is a Federal law designed to protect the privacy of a student's education records. The law applies to all schools which receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.
In 1998, changes in the law that governs the privacy of student records, FERPA permitted colleges and universities to inform the parents/guardians of students under the age of 21 when they determined the student violated University alcohol and drug policies. We at the University of South Carolina Aiken believe such notification can help us in educating our students. While we constantly strive to educate and empower students to make more responsible decisions about drug and alcohol usage, we know that the support of parents/guardians in this process is critical.
The University of South Carolina Aiken typically exercises its right to notify parents/guardians of students under 21 in the following situations:
- Cases involving drug violations
- Repeat or serious alcohol violations
The University also reserves the right to notify parents/guardians for first alcohol violations if deemed appropriate.
Confidentiality of Student Records
In accordance with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974, University of South Carolina Aiken students have the right to review, inspect, and challenge the accuracy of information kept in a cumulative file by the institution unless the student waives this right. It also insures that records cannot be released in other than emergency situations except*:
- To other school officials, including faculty, within the educational agency who have legitimate educational interests.
- To officials of other schools or school systems in which the student intends to enroll, upon condition that the student be notified of the transfer, receive a copy of the record desired, and have an opportunity for a hearing to challenge the content of the record.
- To authorized representatives of the Comptroller General of the United States, the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, and administrative head of an education agency, or state educational authorities.
- In connection with a student’s application for, and receipt of, financial aid.
- To parents of an eligible student who claim the student as a dependent for income tax purposes. Upon receipt of the parents’ most recent federal income tax return listing the student as a dependent, the students’ records will be given. The student will be notified in writing and certified mail that this access has been given.
- Where the information is classified as “directory information.” The following categories of information have been designated by the University as directory information: name, address, email address, telephone listing, date and place of birth, major field of study, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, the most recent educational institution attended by the student and other similar information.
If you do not wish such information released without your consent, you should notify the Registrar’s Office prior to the first day of classes. Questions concerning this law and the University’s policy concerning release of academic information may be directed to the Registrar’s Office.
* In 1998, changes were made to the FERPA law. Higher education institutions are now permitted to inform parents about alcohol and drug violations.