Student Rights

FERPA Policy Updates Effective February 20, 2009

An updated version of the University’s FERPA policy (“Notification of Student Rights”) has been approved by the Board of Governors effective February 20, 2009. The primary change is listed below:

  • The Privacy Hold option to prevent release of a student’s name, address, telephone number, and e-mail address has been discontinued. Only a FERPA Hold option will be available to students in Banner.

Notification of Student Rights under Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

Missouri State University adheres to a policy of compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). 20 U.S.C. 1232g. Eligible students have four primary rights under FERPA including the right to:

  1. inspect their education records,
  2. consent to disclosure of personally identifiable information except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent,
  3. seek correction of their records, to prevent inaccurate or misleading information, and
  4. file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education if they feel their rights are being violated. 
Definitions

A student is an individual with respect to whom the university maintains education records or personally identifiable information and who is or who has been in attendance at the University. A student does not include a person who has not been in attendance. 

In attendance means a student is officially registered for at least one class and that class has started. 

Directory information may appear in public documents and may otherwise be disclosed by the University for any purpose in its discretion, without the student’s consent. The following categories of information have been designated as directory information at Missouri State University:

  • Name
  • Address*
  • Telephone number*
  • Campus email address
  • Field of study, including majors, minors, certifications, and pre-professional areas of study
  • Classification (e.g. sophomore)
  • Enrollment status (full-time, part-time, or less than part-time)
  • Participation in officially recognized activities and sports, including photographs of athletes
  • Dates of attendance, including matriculation, drop, and withdrawal dates
  • Degrees and certificates received including date awarded
  • Awards received, including Dean's list, scholastic honors, departmental honors, memberships in national honor societies, athletic letters, and University-funded scholarships (excluding those that are need-based)
  • Previous education institutions attended 

* The University maintains a number of different address and telephone types for students.  Three (residence hall, current mailing, and primary/permanent) are considered directory information.  General requests for student addresses (e.g., requests for an "address directory of current students") will be fulfilled by providing one address for each student based on availability according to the following hierarchy:  (1) residence hall; (2) current mailing, and (3) primary/permanent.  General requests for student telephone numbers will be generated in similar fashion.

All non-University contact information provided for purposes of the emergency notification system is not considered directory information. Cell phone numbers, unless provided as a residence hall, current, or primary/permanent telephone number, are not considered directory information.

Education records include those records which contain information directly related to a student and which are maintained by the University or by a person acting for the University. In accordance with 34 C.F.R 99.3, the following are not education records: records kept in the sole possession of the maker, law enforcement records, student employment records, medical records, and alumni records.

A FERPA hold may be requested by currently enrolled students. This non-disclosure option means that the University may not release any directory information about the student (except as permitted under the provisions of FERPA). The University may not even acknowledge to third parties that the person is a student at the institution.

A request to only exclude information from the online directory and printed directory may be completed by currently enrolled students at http://search.missouristate.edu/hide/.  (To be removed from anything other than the online people search or printed directory, including the Outlook Address Book, a FERPA hold must be completed.) In order to be excluded from the printed directory this request must be completed before the printing of the directory, which takes place approximately two weeks after the beginning of each fall semester. Following the printing of the directory, submitting the request will exclude students only from the online directory and not the printed directory.

Legitimate educational interest is the need to review an education record in order for a university official to carry out his or her responsibilities in order to: perform an administrative task outlined in the official’s duties; perform a supervisory or instructional task directly related to the student’s education; or perform service or benefit for the student such as health care, job placement, or financial aid.  

A university official is a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff). Also considered university officials are members of the Board of Governors, a person or company with whom the University has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent), temporary employees, student workers, and graduate assistants employed by the university. 

Records Inspection

A student has a right to inspect and review any education record to which he or she is permitted under this policy. Education records are maintained in a number of University offices. Requests to review records must be made in writing to the responsible official of each office which maintains the records (or to the University Registrar) who shall comply with a request within 45 days upon receipt. When a record contains personally identifiable information about more than one student, a student may inspect only that information which relates to him/her. 

The University reserves the right to refuse to permit a student to inspect the following records:

  • Financial records of the student’s parents
  • Confidential letters and statements of recommendation for which the student has waived his or her right of inspection and review
  • Records connected with an application to attend the University or a component unit of the University if that application was denied
  • Those records which are excluded from the FERPA definition of education records 
Right to Limit Disclosure of Directory Information

The University will give annual public notice to students of the categories of information designated as directory information. Currently-enrolled students have the right to suppress disclosure of their directory information by requesting a FERPA Hold. This hold does not apply retroactively to previous releases of directory information and will remain applicable until the student submits a written request specifying otherwise.  

To request a FERPA Hold, students must submit a written request to the Office of the Registrar, Carrington Hall, Room 320. Students who do not wish for their information to appear in the printed directory must notify the Office of the Registrar by no later than the second week of classes during the fall semester. Requests made after the second week of the fall semester will result in the student information being removed from the web directory only. 

Consent to Disclosure of Personally Identifiable Information

The University will not release personally identifiable information in education records or allow access to those records except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent, including but not limited to the following:

  • The individual student
  • Whomever the student authorizes by providing the institution with a written release (release must be written, signed and dated, and must specify the records to be disclosed and the identity of the recipient)
  • Any party requesting directory information (unless the student has a FERPA hold)
  • University officials of Missouri State University who have a legitimate educational interest
  • Officials of other schools in which a student seeks or intends to enroll or is enrolled
  • Parents if parents claim the student as a dependent for tax purposes. The University will exercise this option only on the condition that evidence of such dependency is furnished to the Office of the Registrar and all requests for disclosures are referred to that office
  • Persons in connection with a health or safety emergency
  • An alleged victim of an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense in connection with a Disciplinary Proceeding
  • Parents regarding alcohol and drug violations of a student under 21 years of age
  • As otherwise provided in 20 U.S.C. 1232g(b) and 34 CFR Sec. 99.31 
Request to Amend Records

A student who believes that information contained in his/her education is inaccurate, misleading or violates privacy or other rights may request that the records be amended. The responsible official shall then decide whether or not to amend the record. If the record is not amended, the student will be advised of his/her right to a hearing. 

Challenge Hearing

In most cases, the decision of the responsible official will be final. However, a student may elect to file an appeal in writing to the Registrar in order to challenge the content of the educational record. (The right to challenge grades does not apply unless the grade assigned was inaccurately recorded, under which condition the record will be corrected.) A disinterested hearing officer will be appointed who shall afford the student full opportunity to present evidence in support of the challenge. The hearing shall be held within a reasonable period of time, not to exceed thirty (30) days under normal circumstances, after the institution has received the request, and the student shall be given notice of the date, place and time reasonably in advance of the hearing. The student shall be afforded a full and fair opportunity to present evidence relevant to the issues, and may be assisted or represented by individuals of his or her choice at his or her own expense, including an attorney. The hearing officer shall render a decision within a reasonable time after the hearing, not to exceed thirty (30) days, and inform the student in writing of the outcome. The decision shall be based solely upon the evidence presented at the hearing and shall include a summary of the evidence and the reasons for the decision. If the hearing officer decides that the record is not inaccurate, misleading or otherwise in violation of the privacy or other rights of the student, the student shall then have the right to place in the education record a statement commenting upon the information in the education record and/or setting forth any reasons for disagreeing with the decision of the hearing official. Any such written explanation then becomes a part of the education record. If the education records of the student or the contested portion thereof are disclosed to any party, the explanation shall also be disclosed to that party.   

Right to File a Complaint

Students have the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education if they believe that the University has failed to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The complaint should be in writing and sent to: Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20202-4605. 

For Additional Information

A copy of FERPA is available on request in the Office of the Registrar. If you have any questions regarding this policy or if you feel that your rights under FERPA are being violated, please contact the Office of the Registrar at 320 Carrington Hall, 901 South National Avenue, Springfield, MO 65897 or call 417-836-5520.