FERPA: Notice of Student Rights with Respect to Education Records

Privacy Information (FERPA)

Purpose

This notice establishes the University policy with respect to certain types of student records.  This policy is designed to help students understand how to access their education records and, if they wish, how to prevent their disclosure to third parties.

Scope

This policy applies to all schools and divisions at Tufts University.

Policy Statement

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (“FERPA”) provides students certain rights with respect to their educational records.  In general, these rights include:

1) The right to inspect and review education records (with certain limited exceptions) within 45 days of the day Tufts receives a student’s request for access.  A student should submit any such request to the Registrar’s Office in writing, identifying the specific records that the student wishes to inspect.  The Registrar’s Office will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. 

2) The right to request the amendment of education records if the student believes they are inaccurate.  Students should submit any such request to the Registrar’s Office in writing, clearly identifying the records that the student wants to have amended and specifying the reasons the student believes those records to be inaccurate.  The Registrar’s Office will notify the student of the University’s decision whether to amend the student’s records.  If the University decides not to amend the student’s records, the Registrar’s Office will inform the student of the right to a hearing regarding the student’s request for amendment. 

3) The right to require Tufts to obtain the student’s written consent before releasing personally identifiable information from the student’s education records unless an exception applies.

Definitions

For purposes of this policy a student is defined as someone who is (or someone who has) officially matriculated at the University, and who attends (or has attended) classes at Tufts.  This definition does not include prospective students or applicants.

Education records are records relating to a student that are maintained by the University or by a party acting on its behalf, with some exceptions.

The following records are not considered education records:

  • Records created by a school official as a personal memory aid (such as notes of a private telephone conversation).
  • Records of the Tufts University Police Department which are maintained separately and solely for law enforcement purposes.
  • Most records created and maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist or other treatment purposes.  Even though these records are not considered education records under FERPA, they may still be made available to students following completion of a HIPAA release form.
  • Records pertaining to a former student other than those generated when that person was a student, such as alumni records.

Personally identifiable information includes a student’s name, address or other information that would allow a student to be identified.  FERPA generally prohibits the University from disclosing personally identifiable information from a student’s education record without the student’s consent unless the information has been designated as directory information or another exception applies.

Directory information consists of the following:

  • Student’s name
  • Address (both local and permanent)
  • Telephone number (local, cell and permanent)
  • Date and place of birth
  • Academic program (school, degree, major, minor)
  • Enrollment status (dates of attendance, full-time/part-time status)
  • Degrees, honors and awards received
  • Participation in athletics and student activities
  • Most recent educational institution attended
  • E-mail address
  • Photo

Privacy Blocks are available to students who wish to prevent the University from disclosing their directory information (in student directories and commencement programs, for example) by selecting the appropriate privacy settings through SIS (http://go.tufts.edu/sis).

For additional information about privacy blocks, please contact the Registrar's Office.    

Release of Your Records to Third Parties

Personally identifiable information in your records, except for directory information as discussed above, may not be given to third parties without your written consent, with the following exceptions:

  • To Tufts officials such as employees and members of faculty and trustee committees who have a need to know or who are required to work with your records to carry out their duties.
  • To officials of another education institution in which you seek to enroll. If your record is transferred, however, you will be entitled, upon request, to a copy of such records. This applies to other schools and colleges within the University and to institutions in which you may be cross-registered or enrolled at the University.
  • To authorized representatives of the U.S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or state and local authorities responsible in connection with an audit or evaluation of federal or state supported education programs. 
  • To an individual or organization required to be informed in connection with your application or receipt of financial aid.
  • To state and local officials to whom information is specifically required to be reported by state laws enacted prior to November 19, 1974.
  • To appropriate parties in a health or safety emergency if necessary to protect your health or safety or that of another.
  • In compliance with a subpoena, or in response to other legal action involving the student and the University.
  • When the information is a record of a campus disciplinary proceeding.  For students under the age of 21, the University may also inform parents about violations of any federal, state, or local law, or any University rule or policy that governs the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance. 

Any request or authorization to allow material from your files to be shown to third parties should include: (1) a specification of the records to be disclosed; (2) the purpose of the disclosure; and (3) the party or class of parties to whom disclosure may be made.  For additional information about authorizing disclosures from your education records, please contact the Registrar's Office.    

Please note that the University does not preserve students’ education records in perpetuity.  In fact, most records are not maintained for more than 7 years after a student’s expected date of graduation. 

Complaint Procedure

A student has the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Tufts to comply with the requirements of FERPA.  A complaint must be submitted to the Department within 180 days of the date of the alleged violation or of the date that the student knew or reasonably should have known of the alleged violation.  The name and address of the office that administers FERPA and accepts such complaints is:  Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20202-4605.

Compliance Training and Tracking

Not applicable.

Approval Entities

Office of University Counsel

Academic Council

Office of the President

Approval Date

May 2015

Effective Date

July 1, 2015

Executive Sponsor(s)

Mary R. Jeka, Senior Vice President and General Counsel

Responsible Office(s)

Office(s) of the Registrar

Revision

The University reserves the right to change this policy from time to time.  Proposed changes will normally be developed by those responsible for the policy with appropriate stakeholders.  The approval entities have sole authority to approve changes to this policy.

Review Cycle

Annually

Related Policies

Not applicable

The following pages contain additional information on the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) for TUSM. 

These and related matters are discussed in some detail here.  Emphasis is placed on records that are the most common.  If you have questions or desire to see any records, start with the Registrar’s Office.  

Notification of Rights under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records.

Checklist of Record

Records of all medical students are maintained by the registrar, deans, basic science and clinical departments and/or advisers, Student Advisory and Health Administration Office, Development, the Bursar’s Office, Financial Aid Office, and Public Health and Professional Degree Programs for combined degree students.

Academic

The file maintained by the Registrar (Registrar’s Office: Sackler 4) is the most complete record kept.  It contains a semester by semester record of grades received.  Because of this, the following section is devoted to a description of its origin, contents, uses, and eventual disposition. Records maintained contain pertinent academic information such as transcripts, academic schedules, copies of correspondence, and evaluations. Files regarding your participation in clerkship programs are kept by the director of the clerkship, the educational secretary at the hospital, and the department chairman of the clinical specialty.

Awards

At some time in your academic career you may be recommended for a departmental award, membership in an honorary society such as Alpha Omega Alpha, or an Alumni Award.  Such files may contain copies of your academic record as well as letters of recommendation.  Departmental Award files are maintained by Committee on Awards and Scholarships.  Consult director or the chairperson of the department in question.

  • Alpha Omega Alpha files are maintained by chapter president (only directory information).
  • Alumni Award files are maintained by Alumni Secretary.

Financial

The Bursar (Posner Hall) maintains all records of charge, billings, and payments. The Assistant Dean of Financial Aid (Financial Aid Office, 8th floor Sackler Building) keeps all records of applications for and awards of financial aid.  In accordance with the law, a parent's confidential statements are treated as such and cannot be viewed by you, unless the parent indicates otherwise. The Development Office (75 Kneeland Street) maintains records in connection with gifts and donations that you or your family may have made or may make.

Health and Counseling

In defining "education records", that is those records to which the Privacy Act applies, the law states:

The term does not include records relating to an eligible student which are:

  • Created or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist or other recognized professional or para-professional acting in his or her professional or para-professional capacity, or assisting in the capacity;
  • Created, maintained or used only in connection with the provision of treatment to the student;
  • Not disclosed to anyone other than individuals providing the treatment; provided that the records can be personally reviewed by a physician or other appropriate professional of the student's choice.  For the purpose of this definition, "treatment" does not include remedial educational activities or activities which are part of the program of instruction at the institution.

Health records are kept by the Student Advisory and Health Administration Office (Posner Hall) and are prevented from third person disclosure, as above, both by professional ethics and law.

Committee Records

In the course of their business, many University Committees compile files on students.  The information contained in such files may include any or all of the following items: a student-initiated petition, supportive statements for faculty or other, transcript, test scores, copies of correspondence between student and committee, copy of the committee's action or recommended action.  Besides the previously mentioned Committees on Academic Awards and Plans of Study, there are committees on:

Student Ethics and Promotions - principal jurisdiction is student conduct and students in academic difficulty.  Actions and recommendations become part of the file of the chairperson of the Student Evaluation and Promotions Committee file. For further information concerning the above, consult the Dean for Students (Office of Student Affairs (OSA),  Sackler 4).

Miscellaneous

The Medical School Library (Sackler 4) keeps a record of books borrowed by students.

The Office of Publications maintains records of awards won, honors received, and other outstanding achievements in your career. 

Records of the Campus Police (M & V Building) are not part of your education record and are not available for view.

Recommendations

A Dean's letter of recommendation for internship and/or residency becomes part of your permanent file.  Information in such files will be updated as you desire, and will be furnished on your authorization to those agencies or institutions you specify. Clinical departments maintain files on students seeking to be accepted into internships and residency programs.

Directory Information (See above for listing)

Directory information is used at Tufts in the following ways:

  • On Line Student Directory - name, class year, email address and telephone number of all students.
  • Student identification number is used as a unique identifier in the student records system.
  • Commencement program - give names, undergraduate school and any awards received by all members of the graduating class.
  • News stories released by the Office of Publications.
  • Providing assistance to parents and friends attempting to reach students in cases of emergency.
  • Composite pictures - distributed to faculty and administration for purpose of identification.

Academic File Contents

The initial record kept by the Registrar's Office consists of your AMCAS application form, supplemental application form; your complete college transcript; transcripts from any other colleges you may have attended, and standard test scores such as MCATs. Thereafter, your file grows to include any or all of the following:

  • Medical School transcript
  • Evaluations from courses and clerkships
  • Notifications from faculty of grade change, (e.g. make-up exams or errors)
  • Notifications of the completion of previously unfinished work
  • Reports of excessive absences
  • Forms or letters regarding status
  • Action of Committee on Student Evaluation and Promotions
  • Copies of correspondence with the dean, associate deans, assistant deans, or registrar
  • Copies of correspondence in connection with non-Tufts clerkships
  • Letters of recommendation by the dean/associate deans for students
  • Reports concerning incomplete courses
  • Records of your request to view your file
  • Dean’s Letter, Curriculum Vitae, Personal Statement, Dean’s Letter Questionnaire
  • Statements that you may have entered into the records on your own behalf

Many of these items are purged from your file upon completion of all your degree requirements. At that time, your degree is added to your permanent record

Enrollment  Records, Cumulative Academic Records (grades,  transcripts)

Office of Student Affairs/Registrars Office

4th Floor

145 Harrison Ave.

Boston, MA 02111

Carol Duffey, Assistant Dean for Student Enrollment/Registrar

 

 

Academic Accommodations

 

Office of Student Affairs

4th Floor

145 Harrison Ave.

Boston, MA 02111

Emily Walsh, Associate Director of Academic Support

(617) 636-6655

 

Disciplinary  Records

Office of Student Affairs

4th Floor

145 Harrison Ave.

Boston, MA 02111

Amy Kuhlik, M.D.,  Dean for Students

(617) 636-6534

 

Financial Records

Bursar’s Office

200 Harrison Ave.

Boston, MA 02111

James Moodie, Health Sciences Bursar

(617) 636-2141

 

Financial Aid Records

Financial Aid Office

8th Floor

145 Harrison Ave.

Boston, MA 02111

Tara Olsen, Assistant Dean of Financial Aid

(617) 636-6574

 

 

Health Records*

Student Advisory and Health Administration Office (SAHA) 4th Floor

200 Harrison Avenue

Boston, MA 02111

Gianna Vroom

Director

(617) 636-2700

 

Counseling  Records

Student Advisory and Health Administration Office (SAHA) 4th Floor

200 Harrison Avenue

Boston, MA 02111

 Sharon Gendron

Student Wellness Advisor

(617) 636-2700

Miscellaneous  Records (Student education records not included in above list)

Office of Student Affairs/Registrars Office

4th Floor

145 Harrison Ave.

Boston, MA 02111

Carol Duffey, Assistant Dean for Student Enrollment/Registrar

(617) 636-6568Amy Kuhlik, M.D.,  Dean for Students

(617) 636-6534

 

*Health and counseling records are maintained by the Student Advisory and Health Administration Office and are available only to health professionals. A professional designated by the student in writing may see that student’s records.