Appendix C of The BUZZ Student Handbook


The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 is a Federal law which states that:

A. a written institutional policy must be established; and

B. a statement of adopted procedures covering the privacy rights of students be made available. The law provides that the institution will maintain confidentiality of student education records.

Annually, West Virginia State informs students of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. This act, with which West Virginia intends to comply fully, was designed to protect the privacy of education records, and to provide guidelines for the correction of inaccurate or misleading data through informal and formal hearings. Students also have the right to file complaints with The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Office (FERPA) concerning alleged failures by West Virginia State to comply with the Act.

The West Virginia State Policy on the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act explains in detail the procedures to be used for compliance with the provisions of the Act. Copies of the policy can be found in the offices of all Institution administrators. Current amendments and updates can be viewed in the Office of Student Affairs.

Questions concerning the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act may be referred to the Office of Registration and/or the Office of Admissions.

West Virginia State accords all the rights under the law to students who are declared independent. No one outside West Virginia State shall have access to (nor will the Institution disclose any information from) students’ education records without the written consent of students except:

1. personnel within the Institution and the West Virginia Board of Directors;

2. officials of other institutions in which students seek to enroll and to whom student have given written permission for such disclosures;
3. persons or organizations providing students’ financial aid;

4. accrediting agencies carrying out their accreditation function;

5. persons in compliance with judicial order;

6. organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, educational agencies of institutions for the purpose of developing, validating, or administering predictive tests, administering students and programs, and improving instruction; and

7. persons in an emergency in order to protect the health and/or safety of students or other persons.

8. A person or company with whom the University has contracted as its agent to provide a service instead of using University employees or officials (such as an attorney, auditor, collection agent, insurance agent or official of the National Student Clearinghouse);

Also specifically, records may be disclosed to authorized representatives of:

A. the Comptroller General of the United States,

B. the Secretary of the Department of Education, and

C. an administrative head of an educational agency having authority for records which may be necessary in connection with audit and evaluation of federally supported education programs.

These records are released under the provisions that, except, when collection of personally identifiable information is specifically authorized by Federal law, any data collected by such officials shall be protected in a manner which will not permit the personal identification of students and their parents by other than these officials, and such personally identifiable data shall be destroyed when no longer needed for such audit, evaluation, and enforcement of Federal legal requirements. A record shall be made, and kept with the student’s records, of every person who requests or obtains access to that student’s records – except for the institution’s employees who have authorized access. All these exceptions are permitted under the Act. The Act also permits disclosures on information from the student’s education records, without the written consent of students, to parents of a dependent student of such parents, as defined in Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, as amended.

Within the University community, only those members, individually and collectively, acting in the students’ educational interests are allowed access to student education records. These members include personnel in the Registrar’s Office, Admissions Office, Office of Student Affairs including Collegiate Support and Counseling, Office of Financial aid, the Office of Academic Affairs maintaining student education records, and other administrative and academic personnel within the limitations of their need to know. (Their need to know must be established in written form and shall be included in the student’s file.)

At its discretion, West Virginia State may provide directory information in accordance with the provisions of the Act to include: students name, address, student e-mail, telephone number, date and place of birth, names and addresses of parents, major field of study, date of attendance, degrees and awards received, the most recent previous educational agency, or institution attended by the student, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, and weight and height of members of athletic teams. Students may withhold directory information by notifying the Registrar’s Office before the close of the late registration period for the fall semester.

West Virginia State assumes that failure on the part of any student to specifically request, on the official form, the withholding of “Directory Information” indicates individual approval for disclosure.

To assure that the request for non-disclosure of directory information is properly processed and honored, the student should use the official form available in the Registrar’s Office. West Virginia State will honor request for non-disclosure for only one academic year. Therefore, authorization to withhold directory information must be filed annually in the Registrar’s Office. For this purpose, the academic year of West Virginia State commences with the summer session.

The law provides students with the right to inspect and review information contained in their education records, to challenge the contents of their education records, to have a hearing if the outcome of the challenge is unsatisfactory, and to submit explanatory statements for inclusion in their files if they feel the decisions of the hearing panels be unacceptable. The Registrar’s Office has been designated to coordinate the inspection and review procedures for student education records, which include admissions, personal, and academic records, and the Office of Student Affairs has been designated to coordinate the inspection and review procedures for student financial files. Students wishing to review their education records must make requests to the office maintaining the particular education record desired to be reviewed listing the item or items of interest. Only records covered by the Act will be made available within 45 days of the request. Students may have copies made of their records with certain exceptions, e.g., a copy of the academic record for which a financial “hold” exists, or a transcript of an original or source document that exists elsewhere. These copies would be made at the students’ expense at the prevailing rates charged at copying machines operated by the Institution. Education records do not included records of instructional, administrative, and educational personnel which are in the sole possession of the maker and are not accessed or revealed to any individual except a temporary substitute, records of the law enforcement unit, student health records, employment records, or alumni records. Physicians of the students' choosing, however, may review health records. Students may not inspect and review the following as outlined by the Act: financial information submitted by their parents; confidential letters and recommendations associated with admissions, employment, or career placement, or honors to which they have waived their rights of inspection and review; or education records containing information about more than one student, in which the Institution will permit access only to that part of the record which pertains to the inquiring student. West Virginia State is not required to permit students to inspect and review confidential letters and recommendations placed in their files before January 1, 1975, provided those letters were collected under established policies of confidentiality and were used only for the purpose for which they were collected.

Students who believe that their education records contain information that is inaccurate or misleading, or is otherwise in violation of their privacy or other rights, may discuss their problems informally with the Registrar’s Office. If the decisions are in agreement with the students’ request, the appropriate records will be amended (such amendments must be filed jointly by the students and the Vice-president of Student Affairs). If not, the students will be notified within a reasonable period of time that the records will not be amended; and they will be informed by the Registrar’s Office of their right to a formal hearing. Students’ requests for a formal hearing must be made in writing to the Vice-president of Student Affairs who, within a reasonable period of time after receiving such requests, will inform students of the date, place, and time of the hearings. Students may present, to the hearing panel, evidence relevant to the issues raised and may be assisted or represented at the hearings by one or more persons of their choice, including attorneys, at the students’ expense.

Decisions of the hearing panel will be final, will be based solely on the evidence presented at the hearing, and will consist of written statements summarizing the evidence and stating the reasons for the decisions, and will be delivered to all parties concerned. The education records will be corrected or amended in accordance with decisions of the hearing panel, if the decisions are in favor of the students. If the decisions are unsatisfactory to the students, the students may place with the education records statements commenting on the information in the records, or statements setting forth any reasons for disagreeing with the decisions of the hearing panel. The statements will be placed in the education records, and released whenever the records in question are disclosed.

Students who believe that the adjudication of their challenge were unfair, or are not in keeping with the provisions of the Act, may appeal in writing to the Vice-president of Student Affairs or to the President of West Virginia State for those challenges brought to the Office of Student Affairs. Decisions made by the President may be appealed to the Chancellor and West Virginia Board of Directors, 950 Kanawha Boulevard East, Charleston, West Virginia, 25301. Furthermore, students who believe their rights have been abridged may file complaints with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act Office, Department of Education, Washington, D.C. 20201, concerning the alleged failure of West Virginia State and/or the West Virginia Board of Directors to comply with the Act. Revisions and clarifications of this policy will be published as expressed by the law and West Virginia State’s policies warrant.