Privacy of Student Records & FERPA
The university maintains records relating to students for various academic purposes in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. Annually, Soka University of America informs students of the Act (FERPA), which affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. These rights are:
- The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days of the day the University receives a request for access. Students should submit to the Registrar’s Office written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The registrar will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the Registrar’s Office, the student shall be advised of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
- The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes is inaccurate or misleading. Students should write the registrar, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If SUA decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the student shall be notified of the decision and advised of his or her right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
- The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception, which permits disclosure without consent, is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is defined as a person employed by the university in an administrative, supervisory, academic, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit and health staff); a person or company with whom SUA has contracted (such as attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or assisting 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 responsibility. As allowed within FERPA guidelines, SUA discloses education records without consent to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
- The right to file a complaint with the US Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the university to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is: Family Policy Compliance Office, US Department of Education 400 Maryland Avenue, S.W. Washington, DC 20202-4605.
At its discretion, SUA may release directory information to parties outside the university in accordance with the provisions of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act and its amendments. Directory information is defined as that information that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. Designated directory information at SUA includes the following: student name, campus address, permanent address, local address, e-mail address, telephone number, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, field of study, dean’s list, photograph, participation in officially recognized clubs and sports, height and weight of members of athletic teams, full-time/part-time status, and date of birth.
Students may withhold directory information by notifying the registrar in writing; please note that such withholding requests are binding for all information to all parties other than for those exceptions allowed under the Act. Students should consider all aspects of a directory hold prior to filing such a request. The initial request must be filed during the first two weeks of the fall session. Requests for non-disclosure will be honored by the university for no more than one academic year. Re-authorization to withhold directory information must be filed annually in the Registrar’s Office within the first two weeks of the Fall session.
One form must be completed for each person who is to have access to the student’s records. These forms are available under Student Forms.