Annual FERPA Notice to Students
Annually, Abilene Christian University informs students of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended (FERPA). This act, with which the institution intends to comply fully, was designated to protect the privacy of education records and afford students certain rights with respect to their education records. These rights include:
- Inspection and Review. Students have the right to inspect and review education records within 45 days of the day the university receives a request for access. Students should submit to the registrar, dean of their college, chair of their academic department, or other appropriate official written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The university official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the university official to whom the request was submitted does not maintain the records, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
- Request Amendment. Students have the right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s rights under FERPA. Students may ask the university to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. They should write the university official responsible for the record; clearly identifying the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the university decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the university will notify the student of the decision in writing and advise the student 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.
- Consent to Disclosure. Students have the right to provide consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA permits the university to disclose such information without the student’s consent. Exceptions that permit (but do not require) disclosure without consent include:
- To school officials with a legitimate education interest. A school official is a person employed by the 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 the university has asked or contracted to provide institutional services and functions (such as an attorney, auditor, collection agent, contractor, consultant, or volunteer); 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.
- To officials of another school, upon request, in which a student seeks or intends to enroll. The student shall receive notification of the disclosure unless the student initiated the disclosure. Such a disclosure must relate to the student’s enrollment and transfer, but may include updating and correcting information after the transfer or enrollment is complete.
- To school officials or lending institutions, in connection with financial aid for which the student has applied or which the student has received, if the information is necessary in determining eligibility, amount, conditions for the aid or enforcing the terms and conditions of the aid.
- To organizations conducting studies for or on behalf of educational institutions.
- To accrediting organizations.
- To parents of dependent students if the student is a verified dependent for tax purposes under Internal Revenue Code 1986, Section 152.
- To parents of students under the age of 21 who have violated university policies related to alcohol or controlled substances.
- To provide the final results of disciplinary proceedings against a student who is an alleged perpetrator of a violent crime (18 U.S.C. § 16) or non-forcible sex offense, if the university finds that the student committed a violation of the university’s rules or policies. The university may also disclose information to a victim of an alleged crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense regardless of whether the violation was proven under the university’s rules or policies.
- To persons whose knowledge is necessary to protect the health and safety of the student or other individuals. This requires the university to determine that there is an articulable and significant threat to the health and safety of a student or other individuals.
- To comply with a lawfully issued subpoena or court order.
- Information the university has designated as “Directory Information,” unless a hold has been placed upon release of the information by the student. The following information is considered to be directory information and may be disclosed by the university for any purpose, at its discretion: Name, classification, major field of study, permanent address, email address, local residence, telephone number, previous institutions attended, dates of attendance, full-time or part-time status, awards, honors (including Dean’s Honor Roll), degree(s) conferred (including dates), church affiliation, past and present participation in officially recognized sports and activities, physical factors (height, weight of athletes), photograph, date and place of birth.
- Currently enrolled students may withhold disclosure of “Directory Information.” To withhold disclosures, written notification must be received in the Student Life office within 12 calendar days from the first day of registration for a long term and within four days for a summer term. Forms requesting the withholding of “Directory Information” are available in the Student Life office. Abilene Christian University assumes that failure on the part of any student to specifically request the withholding of categories of “Directory Information” indicates individual approval for disclosure.
- File a Complaint. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. 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
U.S. Department of Education
600 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-4605
Students with questions about FERPA should contact the Registrar’s Office.
Abilene Christian University complies with all applicable federal and state non-discrimination laws and does not engage in prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, color, nationality or ethnic origin, gender, age, disability, including qualified disabled veterans and qualified veterans of the Vietnam Era, or genetic information in employment and all school-administered programs and activities.
ACU is affiliated with the fellowship of the Church of Christ. The university is governed by a Board of Trustees, all of whom are members of the Church of Christ, and is operated within the Christian-oriented aims, ideals and religious tenets of the Church of Christ. As a religiously affiliated institution of higher education, ACU is exempt from compliance with some provisions of certain civil rights laws.
The following persons have been designated to handle inquiries regarding discrimination:
Wendy Jones, SPHR
Chief Human Resources Coordinator (Title IX Coordinator)
Hardin Administration Building, Rm 213D
ACU Box 29106
Abilene, TX 79699-9106
Slade Sullivan, J.D.
Vice President and General Counsel
Hardin Administration Building, Rm 111
ACU Box 29125
Abilene, TX 79699-9125
Abilene Christian University proactively promotes legal and policy compliance by encouraging all members of the ACU community to report any financial improprieties, illegal practices or policy violations committed by university employees or agents and to protect from retaliation those who make such good-faith reports. This policy applies to members of the Board of Trustees, officers, faculty, staff, student employees, and volunteers.
Members of the ACU community have the responsibility to report suspected violations either anonymously at http://www.acu.edu/community/offices/administrative/legal/whistleblower-hotline.html or 325-674-2594, or to the appropriate university representative as outlined in the complete ACU Whistleblower Policy (http://www.acu.edu/community/offices/administrative/legal/whistleblower-policy.html ).
For more information about Legal Notices, contact:
Slade Sullivan, Vice President and General Counsel • ACU Box 29125 325-674-2485 • firstname.lastname@example.org