Registration and Records: Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
The Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) is a Federal privacy law that gives students certain rights with regard to their own education records, such as the right to inspect and review their own records. To protect a student’s privacy, the law generally requires schools to ask for written consent from the student before disclosing personally identifiable information from that student’s records to others. However, FERPA does permit schools to disclose student information without consent under limited circumstances (referred to as exceptions). For example, student information may be disclosed as "directory information" or in response to a health or safety emergency (see below).
On some occasions, a student may wish to give SAIC permission to share information from his or her education records with specific individuals. For example, it is often beneficial to the student for SAIC staff and faculty to be able to discuss student information with a parent, guardian, spouse, or other support person. You may, at your discretion, give SAIC faculty and staff permission to release personally identifiable information to a third party (e.g., a parent/guardian, emergency contact, spouse, or potential employer) by providing written consent. You may use the FERPA Student Authorization to Release Information Form [PDF]. Please return the completed form to the Director of Registration and Records. By completing and returning this form, you consent to SAIC's disclosure of information from your student records to the person that you designate on the form.
Notification of Rights Under FERPA
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords you certain rights with respect to your education records. These rights include:
The right to inspect and review your education records within 45 days after the day SAIC receives a request for access from you. You should submit, to the Director of Registration and Records, a written request that specifically identifies the record(s) you wish to inspect. The Director of Registration and Records will make arrangements for access and notify you of the time and place where the records may be inspected. To make this request, you may use the FERPA Student Request for Records Form [PDF], available from the Director of Registration and Records.
The right to request the amendment of your education records if you believe them to be inaccurate. You should submit any such request in writing to the Director of Registration and Records. You must clearly identify the part of the record you want changed and specify why it should be changed. SAIC will notify you of its decision. If SAIC decides not to amend the record as requested, SAIC will notify you of your right to a hearing regarding your request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to you at that time.
The right to provide written consent before SAIC discloses personally identifiable information from your education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
To provide written consent to a disclosure, you may use the FERPA Student Authorization to Release Information Form, available from the Director of Registration and Records. Return the completed form to the Director of Registration and Records.
FERPA allows schools to disclose personally identifiable information from education records, without a student's consent, under certain circumstances. Among the exceptions are:
Directory Information. One exception allows SAIC to disclose directory information without your written consent. SAIC designates the following as directory information:
- Student name(s)
- Student address(es), electronic address(es) (email), and telephone number(s)
- Dates of admission/attendance
- Academic program
- Degrees and awards received
- Participation in officially recognized activities
- Previous institutions attended
- Date and place of birth
- Expected graduation date
- Hours enrolled and enrollment status (full time, part time, not enrolled, and/or withdrawn and date of withdrawal)
If you wish to have your directory information withheld, you must submit a written request to the Office of Registration and Records. You may give such notice at any time, but it will only be effective prospectively. You must be a currently enrolled student to make this request.
Health and Safety Emergencies. Another exception allows SAIC to notify a student's parent, guardian, or emergency contact, regardless of the student's age, status, or conduct, in health or safety emergencies, which may include hospitalizations or when, in the school's judgment, the health or well-being of the student or others may be at risk. The school may also contact parents or guardians of students under the age of 21 who violate any federal, state, or local law and/or the school’s policies, which govern the use or possession of alcohol or controlled substances.
Legitimate Educational Interests. Another exception allows for disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by SAIC in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person serving on the board of trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a student conduct board meeting. A school official also may include a volunteer or contractor outside of the SAIC who performs an institutional service of function for which SAIC would otherwise use its own employees and who is under the direct control of SAIC with respect to the use and maintenance of personally identifiable information from education records, such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent or a student volunteering to assist another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities for the SAIC.
Upon request, SAIC also discloses education records without consent to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
More information on these and other exceptions is available on the Family Policy Compliance Office's FERPA web page.
The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by SAIC to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA is: Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20202.
Questions regarding FERPA should be directed to the Director of Registration and Records.
Bradley A. Erz
Director of Registration and Records
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
36 S. Wabash Ave., suite 1210
Chicago, IL 60603