Tusculum University complies with the Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) and the Tennessee Student Information in Higher Education Act. While the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (20 U.S.C. § 1232) prohibits the release, to third parties (not inclusive of individuals with an educational need to know), of information contained in a student’s educational records (excepting the notification of parents or guardians of students under the age of 21 in cases of alcohol and drug related violations, and victims in violence related incidents), the University complies with the Tennessee Student Information in Higher Education Act of 2005 in seeking to make student information readily available to students and parents to promote an educational partnership. Nonetheless, students or parents requesting such release must complete a form available in the Registrar’s Office to allow the University to work with them while satisfying the federal regulations. Tusculum students have the right to inspect their records to challenge the accuracy of those records.
FERPA defines requirements that are designed to protect the privacy of the students concerning their records maintained by the University. The law requires that:
- The student must be provided access to official records directly related to the student. This does not include private records maintained by instructional, supervisory or administrative personnel. A student who wishes to see his/her records must make an appointment through the Registrar’s Office. A student may not remove any materials but is entitled, at his/her own expense, to one (1) copy of any material contained in this file.
- The student must be given the opportunity for a hearing to challenge such records on the grounds that they are inaccurate, misleading or otherwise inappropriate. The right to a hearing under the law does not include any right to challenge the appropriateness of a grade as determined by the instructor.
- The student’s written consent must be received prior to releasing identifiable data from the records to anyone other than those specified in paragraphs 4, 5 and 6 below.
- The University is authorized under FERPA to release public directory information concerning students. University personnel authorized to release such information are established through institutional policy and procedure. Students may opt out of having this information released. Data considered to be public directory information by the University which may be released on general request includes the student’s name, address, telephone listing, email, enrollment status (full or part-time), photo, date and place of birth, major field of study and anticipated graduation date, dates of attendance, site, degrees and awards received, most recent previous educational agency or institution attended by the student, participation in school activities and sports and any other information authorized in writing by the student. Directory information is subject to release by the University unless the Registrar’s Office has received a prior written request from the student specifying that the information not be released.
- Tusculum University is authorized to provide access to students’ records to Tusculum University officials and employees who have legitimate interests in such access; these are persons who have responsibilities in the University’s academic, administrative or service functions. Tusculum University may disclose personally identifiable information from a student’s education records, without consent, to another school in which the student seeks or intends to enroll.
- FERPA provides that educational records of a student who is a dependent of his/her parent(s) for Internal Revenue Service’s purposes may be disclosed to the parent(s) without first receiving the student’s consent provided documentation showing the student to be a dependent under the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code is presented by the parent(s).
An amendment to FERPA was made as part of the USA Patriot Act of 2001 that allows Tusculum University officials to provide, without consent or knowledge of a student or parent, personally identifiable information from a student’s education record in response to the U.S. Attorney General or his designee in response to an ex parte order in connection with the investigation or prosecution of terrorism crimes.