The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), is a federal statute that provides RIT students with privacy and access rights relating to their education records. Generally, RIT students have the right to:
Inspect and review education records (with certain limited exceptions) within forty-five (45) days of the day RIT receives a student’s written request for access;
Request the amendment of education records if the student believes they are inaccurate;
Require RIT to obtain the student’s written consent before releasing personally identifiable information from the student’s education records unless an exception applies; and
File a complaint with the United States Department of Education’s Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20202-4605.
This policy addresses RIT’s implementation of FERPA’s requirements and privacy protections. It incorporates the procedures found here FERPA Procedures.
This policy applies to all Students (defined below) who are currently enrolled or who have ever been enrolled at RIT. No distinction is made between part-time and full-time students. Thus, any Student who has ever been in Attendance (defined below) at RIT has access and privacy rights concerning their education records. Persons who applied for admission but never actually attended RIT are not covered by this policy. All Students, regardless of their age, are deemed to be entitled to FERPA’s rights and protections. Further, this policy applies to all RIT employees (as defined in RIT Policy E01.0) who maintain or accesses Education Records (defined below) on behalf of RIT.
Attendance means the period during which a Student is taking courses or training at RIT. Attendance can be in person, by paper correspondence, videoconferencing, internet or other electronic information and telecommunications technologies for Students who are not physically present in the classroom.
Directory Information means the Student's:
Local and home addresses;
RIT email address;
Local telephone listing;
Place of birth;
Major field of study/program;
Dates of attendance at RIT;
Enrollment status (undergraduate, graduate, full-time or part-time);
Degrees, honors, and awards received;
The most recent school attended by the student;
Participation in officially recognized activities and sports; and
Weight and height of members of athletic teams.
Dependent Student is defined in the Internal Revenue Code and is determined based upon the Parents’ (defined below) most recent tax return.
Disclosure means to permit access to, or the release of, Personally Identifiable Information (defined below) by oral, written, or electronic means, unless an exception applies.
Education Records means information recorded in any way that is directly related to a Student and are maintained by RIT or any party or agent acting on RIT’s behalf. Education Records do not include:
Personal notes maintained by instructional, supervisory, administrative or educational personnel that are kept in the sole possession of the maker of the record, which are not revealed to any other person, department, or division of RIT.
Grades on peer-reviewed papers before they are collected and recorded by a faculty member or other RIT representative.
Employment records relating to an RIT employee who is not a Student and which are maintained in the normal course of business.
Records of physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, or any other professionals or paraprofessionals, used only in the treatment of Students that are not available to anyone except those persons providing the treatment. These records can, however, be viewed by an outside physician or qualified professional of the Student’s choice. Records about attendance (as opposed to content) can be shared with individuals within RIT who have a legitimate educational interest in the knowledge.
Public Safety Records created by and maintained by RIT’s Department of Public Safety solely for law enforcement purposes, which are not revealed to any other person, department, or division of RIT.
Applicant records of those who are not in Attendance at RIT.
Alumni records created or received by RIT after an individual is no longer a Student in attendance and that are not directly related to an individual’s attendance as a Student.
Parent means a parent of a Student and includes a natural parent, a guardian, or an individual acting as a parent in the absence of a parent or guardian.
Personally Identifiable Information means the Student’s:
Parent or other family member;
Address of the Student or Student’s family;
Personal identifier, such as the Student’s social security number or Student identification number;
Date of birth;
Place of birth;
Mother’s maiden name; or
Information that, alone or in combination, is linked or linkable to a Student that would allow a reasonable person to determine the identity of a Student with reasonable certainty.
Student means Undergraduate Student, Graduate Student, Eligible Student, non-matriculated Student, and student in not-for-credit programs.
Undergraduate Student means individuals enrolled at RIT who do not qualify as graduate students. Undergraduate Student shall also include matriculated individuals enrolled at RIT as candidates in a combined master’s and bachelor’s program who have not reached the appropriate number of credit hours sufficient to be classified as Graduate Students.
Graduate Student means matriculated individuals with a bachelor’s degree and enrolled as candidates for an advanced degree. Graduate Student shall also include candidates in a combined master’s and bachelor’s program who have reached the appropriate number of credit hours sufficient to receive in their field of study, but not yet holding, a bachelor’s degree.
Eligible Student means a Student who has reached 18 years of age or is in Attendance at RIT.
IV. Inspect and Review Education Records
Subject to certain limitations, Students have the right to inspect and review their Education Records within forty-five (45) days following RIT Office of the Registrar’s receipt of a written request for access. The parents (or guardians) of a nondependent Student are not permitted access without the Student’s written consent which shall conform to the requirements of Section VI(A). Typically, RIT will not initiate the release of any information or records to parents and expects Students to keep their parents informed to whatever degree the individual Students and parents deem appropriate. All requests to inspect and review Education Records shall be made using the processes described in the FERPA Procedures.
V. Correct and Amend Education Records
Students have the right to request RIT correct and amend Education Records that are believed to be inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the Student’s privacy rights, and the right to a hearing to challenge the content of the Education Records. This amendment procedure may be used to challenge facts in their Education Records that the Student believes to be incorrectly recorded, but it may not be used to challenge a grade, an opinion, or substantive decision made by RIT about the Student. All requests for correction or amendment of a Student’s Education Record shall be presented in writing to the Office of the Registrar by the Student.
VI. Disclosure of Education Records
Prohibition. Except as oteherwise permitted in this Policy or its Procedures, Educational Records may not be disclosed to any third party (except to the Student) by RIT, RIT employees, or any party or agent acting on RIT's behalf.
Disclosure with Student Consent. In many instances, a Student has the right to determine whether to consent to the disclosure to a third party of their Education Records. The Student’s consent shall be in writing, which may be an electronic signature, and shall:
Specify the Education Records that may be disclosed;
State the purpose of the disclosure;
Identify the third party or class of parties to whom the disclosure is authorized; and
The date upon which the consent is expected to expire.
Disclosure without Student Consent. There are several exceptions under which RIT may disclose Personally Identifiable Information in an Education Record without student consent. A complete listing of such exceptions can be found here FERPA Procedures.
Notification. If RIT intends to release Personally Identifiable Information in a Student’s Education Records without the Student’s prior consent to someone outside RIT, RIT will make a reasonable attempt as appropriate and justified under the circumstances to notify the Student prior to the release of the Education Record, unless the notification is prohibited by applicable law.
Subsequent Disclosures. Third parties to whom records are released with Student consent will be notified in writing by RIT that any further release of materials from these records without written authorization from the Student is prohibited by law.
Directory Information. Any Student who wishes to have his or her Directory Information withheld from disclosure must inform the Office of the Registrar to this effect in writing. For additional information, please see FERPA Procedures.
VII. Records Destruction
RIT may destroy materials contained in a Student’s Education Records, if not precluded by law or other RIT records management policies, unless a Student has requested access to the Education Records prior to the destruction. Once a written request of access to Education Records has been received, RIT will not destroy any materials contained within the Education Records until such access has been granted or a determination by RIT’s legal counsel has been made that access to the Education Records is not required under this policy or applicable law.
Responsible Office: Office of the Registrar
Effective Date: Approved October 5, 1994
Edited November 2003
Last Revised October 31, 2007
Edited September 2010
Edited May 8, 2013-calendar and college/department nam
Edited August 2017 to correct department names
Approved as an Interim Policy April 5, 2018
Revisions approved April 10, 2019 and include: adding the last sentence in Section II. Scope; adding RIT email address to Section III.B., deleting the last sentence in the first paragraph in Section III.H.; add new paragraph - Section VI.A; delete parenthetical clause in Section VI.D.