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FERPA

In accordance with the provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 USC 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99), SUNY New Paltz has adopted the following regulations to protect the privacy rights of its students. Copies of this statement as well as the law are available upon request in the office of the Chief of Staff and online at www.newpaltz.edu/ferpa.

Annual Notification
Students will be notified of their FERPA rights annually in the Undergraduate Student Advising Handbook, the Schedule of Classes online at www.newpaltz.edu/ferpa, and through my.newpaltz.edu.

Definitions
For purposes of this policy, SUNY New Paltz has used the following definitions:

Student - any person who attends or has attended SUNY New Paltz.

Education Records- any record (in handwriting, print, tapes, film, electronic, or other medium) maintained by SUNY New Paltz or an agent of SUNY New Paltz, which is directly related to a student, except: Desk notes by faculty not shared with others and in the sole possession of the maker; University police records created by or for, and maintained by university police; Medical or psychological records maintained for diagnosis and treatment; Parents’ financial statements (including FAFSA) (Note: under FERPA, these ARE educational records, although the College need not permit the student to review them); Information coming to the college after the student has left the institution.

School Official: A school official is a person employed by SUNY in an administrative, supervisory, academic, or support staff position including law enforcement personnel and health staff or another employee carrying out his or her job responsibilities, including officially recognized volunteers acting in their official capacity for the college. This includes student employees and officially recognized student volunteers, whether full time or part time, paid, unpaid or earning academic credit. Such students will be trained and will sign a statement of understanding regarding the College's FERPA policy. A person or a company under contract to SUNY or acting as an agent for SUNY, to provide a service instead of using College employees or officials, such as an attorney, auditor, consultant or collection agent, is also considered a school official, as is a person serving on the Board of Trustees or a student on an official committee. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official is performing a task related to the student’s education, a task related to the discipline of the student, or providing a service or benefit relating to the student or student’s family such as health care, counseling, job placement, or financial aid.

Right to Inspect Education Records
Students may inspect, review, and if necessary, amend their education records upon written request to the appropriate record custodian (see Appendix I for listing and inspection/amendment procedures).

Right of College to Refuse Access
SUNY New Paltz reserves the right to refuse to permit a student or applicant access to inspect the following records:

  • The financial statement of the student’s parents;
  • Letters and statements of recommendation for which the student has waived the right of access, or which were placed in the file before January 1, 1975
  • Records connected with an application for admission to attend SUNY New Paltz or another unit of the State University of New York if that application was denied;
  • Those records which are excluded from the FERPA definition of education records (20 USC 1232g (a)(4); 34 CFR 99.3).

Refusal to Provide Copies of Records
SUNY New Paltz reserves the right to deny copies of official transcripts [or copies of records not required to be made available under FERPA] if the student has unpaid financial obligations to the College.

Fees for Copies of Records
The fee for copies of education records is included in the current Tuition and Fee Schedule (identical to current processing cost of student transcript).

Disclosure of Education Records
SUNY New Paltz will disclose information from a student’s education record only with the written or electronic consent of the student. At its discretion, New Paltz may release information without consent, under the following circumstances:

  • To school officials who have a legitimate educational interest in the records;
  • Upon request to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll or where the student has already enrolled;
  • To certain federal, state, SUNY, and local education officials in connection with certain federal or state supported education programs;
  • In connection with a student’s request for or receipt of financial aid, as necessary to determine the eligibility, amount, or conditions of that aid;
  • If required by a state law concerning the juvenile justice system which law requires disclosure and which was adopted before November 19, 1974.
  • To organizations conducting certain studies/research for or on behalf of the College;
  • To parents of an eligible student who claim the student as dependent for income tax purposes (section 152-IRC of 1986) See Parental Notification Policy;
  • To accrediting organizations;
  • To comply with a judicial order or a lawfully issued subpoena or IRS summons after making a reasonable effort to notify the student in advance;
  • To appropriate parties in a health and/or safety emergency;
  • Where the student and SUNY are engaged in litigation;
  • Where the information to be disclosed is that designated as “directory information”;
  • To the victim of a student determined by the College to be an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense; the final results reached on or after October 7, 1998 in a disciplinary proceeding involving that charge;
  • To the parents of a student under the age of 21; information that the college has determined that the student has committed a disciplinary violation with respect to use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance.
  • To anyone if the disclosure is the final results of a disciplinary proceeding involving a crime of violence or nonforcible sex offense and the student was found responsible.

Record of Requests for Disclosure
SUNY New Paltz will maintain a record of certain external requests for, and/or disclosures of, information from a student’s education records. The record will indicate the name of the party making the request, any additional party to whom it may be re-disclosed, and the legitimate interest the party had in requesting the information. The record of requests may be reviewed by the eligible students. The College is required to maintain this record of requests for disclosure with other education records of the student for as long as those records are maintained.

Directory Information
SUNY New Paltz designates the following items as Directory Information:

  • Student's name
  • Student's permanent address
  • Student's campus or local address
  • Student's telephone number
  • Student's e-mail address
  • Student's photograph/electronic image
  • Student's major field of study
  • Student's dates of attendance
  • Student's year in school
  • Student's degree(s) earned
  • Student's honors, awards, special recognitions
  • Student's participation in officially recognized college activities, events, and sports
  • Student's height and weight (sports only)
  • Student's most recent educational institution attended

The College may disclose any of these items without prior written consent of the student. Students may opt out of the release of this information by completing the directory information checklist under My.Privacy/Directory Settings in my.newpaltz.edu.

Parental Rights Under FERPA (See Policy on Parental Notification)

  • When a student reaches the age of 18 or begins attending a postsecondary institution regardless of age, FERPA rights transfer to the student.
  • Parents may obtain directory information only at the discretion of the institution.
  • Parents may obtain non-directory information (grades, GPA, etc.) only at the discretion of the institution.
  • Unless otherwise indicated in writing by the student at the time of registration, or thereafter, the College will presume that a full-time undergraduate student is a dependent as that term is defined in the Internal Revenue Code.
  • Parents may also obtain non-directory information by obtaining a signed consent from their child.

Appendix I
Inspection, Review and Amendment of Education Records

Students have the right to inspect and review their educational records. Students should submit to the appropriate record custodian a written request which identifies as precisely as possible the record or records to be inspected.

The record custodian, or an appropriate college staff person, will make the needed arrangements for access as promptly as possible and will notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. Access must be given within 45 days or less from the receipt of the written request. When record information contains information about more than one student, the student may inspect and review only the specific information about the requesting student.

Education Record Custodians at SUNY New Paltz include (records and list are not exhaustive):

  • Registrar- undergraduate admission and re-admission files, transfer student credit evaluations, transcripts and grade reports
  • Financial Aid Office - records relating to student financial aid (other than students/parents/guardians income tax returns or FAFSA)
  • Student Loan Office - information concerning student loans
  • Office of Student Accounts - records relating to student payments, receipts, exchanges, refunds, residence hall damage charges, unmet financial obligations, issues related to TAP certification and New York state residency.
  • Educational Opportunity Program - records relating to EOP students including personal, financial and academic records
  • The Graduate School - applications and supporting documentation for admission
  • Academic Departments - Duplicate applications and supporting documentation for admission to the Graduate School
  • Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs - records relating to disciplinary actions, legal action or complaints against a student
  • Payroll Office - student employment records
  • Department of Residence Life - student housing records including current address, records of residence hall disciplinary actions, request for single rooms and accommodations for special housing needs, residence hall damage assessments, resident assistant employment information
  • Student Teaching Office - student teaching records including personal information and evaluation reports
  • Career Resource Center-records relating to career planning and job or graduate/professional school placement
  • Pre-Health Science Advisor - records relating to applications to medical, dental, veterinary or other health professions schools
  • Pre-Law Advisor - records relating to applications to law schools
  • Center for International Programs - records and recommendations relating to overseas academic programs
  • Regional Education - records relating to continuing and professional education
  • Student Advising - mid-semester evaluations, records pertaining to academic standing (dismissals and appeals).

Amendment of Education Records
Students may ask the College to amend a record they believe is inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of their right of privacy. Following are the procedures for amendment of records:

  • The student must make a written request to the custodial office responsible for the record, precisely identify the part of the record they want changed and specify what is inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the student’s right of privacy.
  • SUNY New Paltz may comply with the request or may decide not to comply. If it decides not to comply, the College will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of the right to a hearing to challenge the information believed to be inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the student’s rights.
  • Upon request, New Paltz will arrange for a hearing and notify the student, reasonably in advance, of the date, place and time of the hearing.
  • The student shall be afforded a full and fair opportunity to present evidence relevant to the issues raised in the original request to amend the student’s education record. The student may be assisted by one or more individuals, including an attorney.
  • If the custodial office maintaining the record reports to a Vice President, the hearing will be conducted by the Vice President (or designee) responsible for the supervision of this office.
  • If the custodial office maintaining the record is a Vice President, the hearing will be conducted by the President (or designee).
  • SUNY New Paltz will prepare a written decision, within 10 business days of completion of the hearing, based solely on the evidence presented at the hearing. The decision will include a summary of the evidence presented and the reasons for the decision.
  • If SUNY New Paltz determines that the challenged information is not inaccurate, misleading or in violation of the student’s rights of privacy, it will notify the student that a statement commenting on the challenged information and/or statement setting forth reasons for disagreeing with the decision may be appended to the record.

Departmental Releases:
Except as otherwise described in this policy, permission must be granted by you in order for the Office of Student Accounts and/or Records & Registration to discuss your student invoice, financial account and/or academic records with any third party, including parents or guardians.

Students: To elect an electronic information waiver for Office of Student Accounts and/or Records & Registration please do the following:

  1. Log into my.newpaltz.edu
  2. Click on the “Student Services” tab
  3. In the “Student Information” channel, (first channel in the left-most column), click “General”
  4. Click the “Information Release Waiver” link

Right to File a Complaint
Students are afforded the right to file a complaint with the US Department of Education concerning alleged failures by SUNY New Paltz to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the office administering FERPA is:

Family Policy Compliance Office
US Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-4605

For more information about how to use the electronic release waiver please contact:

Bernadette Morris
Registrar
Records and Registration
SUNY New Paltz
500 Hawk Drive
New Paltz, NY 12561

Phone: 845-257-3105
Fax: 845-257-3103
E-mail: morrisb@newpaltz.edu

Questions about this policy can be addressed to:

Shelly Wright
Chief of Staff
President’s Office
SUNY New Paltz
1 Hawk Drive
New Paltz, NY 12561

Phone: (845) 257-3291
Office: HAB 902
Fax: 845-257-3389
E-mail: wrights@newpaltz.edu

(Revised 010/13)