Privacy & Confidentiality
Students' Rights Under The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is the federal law that governs release of, and access to, student education records. Below is a brief summary of students' rights under FERPA:
(1) The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days of the day Pacific University receives a request for access.
- A student should submit to the Registrar's Office written requests that identify the record(s) the student wishes 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 will be advised of the correct person to whom the request should be addressed.
(2) The right to request the amendment of the education records that the student believes are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA.
- A student who wishes to ask Pacific University to amend a record should write to the Registrar, clearly identify the part of the record the student wants changed and specify why it should be changed.
- If Pacific University decides not to amend the record as requested, the Registrar will notify the student in writing of the decision and the right of the student 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.
3) The right to provide written consent before Pacific University discloses personally identifiable information from the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent:
- Pacific University discloses education records to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by Pacific University in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom Pacific University has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, 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.
- Pacific University may disclose, upon request, education records without consent to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
- Pacific University may release Directory Information. Directory Information is defined as that information which would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. Directory Information at Pacific University currently includes the following: student name; permanent address; local address; temporary address; electronic mail address; telephone number; dates of attendance; degrees and awards received; major field of study; participation in officially recognized activities and sports; weight and height of members of athletic teams; theses titles/topics; full-time/part-time status; most recent previous school attended; date and place of birth, and recorded image.
- Although Pacific University legally may release Directory Information, current policy does not allow release of any student information to parties outside of the university. Exceptions to this include, but are not limited to: Dean's Lists; Academic or Athletic honors, awards or programs; contracted Commencement photographers; or information to students’ hometown newspapers.
- Students may elect a “Directory Hold”, which places a hold on the release of any information outside of Pacific University. This request is made in writing to the Registrar. The request for a Directory Hold will be honored by the University for no more than one academic year, but can be filed annually with the Registrar. The implications of a Directory Hold are far-reaching, and students should consult with the Registrar before submitting a request.
(4) The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Pacific University to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The office that administers FERPA is:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
600 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC, 20202-4605
Serving as a reference for students
Before providing any personally identifiable information about any student, either over the phone or via a letter of recommendation, staff/faculty are required to obtain a release signed by that student. If no other signed release is provided, this form can be used. The signed release should be retained by the staff/faculty.
Reference Release form (pdf)