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University of Richmond FERPA Policy Statement

Privacy of Education Records (FERPA) Policy

Purpose:

The University of Richmond is committed to maintaining the privacy and confidentiality of education records, to providing students with appropriate access to their education records and to compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (“FERPA”), its implementing regulations, and applicable Virginia law. The purpose of this policy is to set forth the University’s policies and procedures regarding the privacy of and access to education records.

Scope:

This policy applies to the education records of all students and former students of the University of Richmond. Faculty, staff and students of the University are expected to comply with this policy.

Definitions:

Student

Any person who attends or has attended the University of Richmond whether physically present on a campus or online and regarding whom the University maintains Education Records.

Education Records 

Any record (in handwriting, print, electronic form, tapes, film, or other medium) maintained by the University of Richmond or an agent of the University that is directly related to a student. The following records are not considered Education Records subject to this policy.

  • Records kept in the sole possession of the maker that are not accessible or revealed to any other person except a temporary substitute for the maker of the record.
  • An employment record of an individual, maintained in the ordinary course of business and used solely in connection with such employment, provided the individual’s employment is not contingent on the fact that he or she is a student. If the individual’s employment is contingent upon his or her status as a student, then the records are Education Records.
  • Records created and maintained by the University of Richmond Police Department (“URPD”) for law enforcement purposes. Records created by URPD that are maintained by another component of the University and records created and maintained by the URPD exclusively for a non-law enforcement purpose, such as a disciplinary action or proceeding conducted by the educational institution, are considered Education Records subject to this policy.
  • Clinical records relating to a student who is 18 years of age or older that are made by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist or other recognized health care professional or paraprofessional, provided those records are made, maintained or used only in connection with treatment of the student and are disclosed only to individuals providing treatment.
  • Post-attendance records created or received by the University after an individual is no longer a student in attendance and that ware not directly related to his or her attendance as a student.
  • Grades on peer-graded papers before they are collected and recorded by a professor or instructor.

Parent

A biological or adoptive parent, a guardian or an individual legally authorized to act as a parent in the absence of a parent or guardian.

School Official

The University defines School Officials for purposes of this policy as:

  • A person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research or support staff position, including but not limited to employees of URPD, Student Health Service, or CAPS;
  • A member of the Board of Trustees or a committee of the Board of Trustees;
  • A person, including a student, serving on an institutional governing body, council or committee (such as Honor Councils, Student Government Associations, etc.);
  • A person or entity engaged by or under contract to the University to provide services to or otherwise act on behalf of the University (e.g., an attorney, auditor, consultant);
  • A volunteer providing services to or otherwise acting on behalf of the University;
  • A student conducting University business (e.g. serving on an official committee, working for the University, or assisting another school official in fulfilling his or her professional responsibility); and
  • Any other person determined by the Office of the Provost or Office of the Vice President of Student Development to have a need to know the information in order to perform his or her administrative tasks, to provide a service or benefit for a student, or to fulfill a legitimate educational interest of the University.

Legitimate Educational Interest

A School Official is determined to have Legitimate Educational Interest in personally identifiable information in an Education Record if the School Official requires such information to:

  • Fulfill his or her responsibility or duty to the University;
  • Perform tasks within the scope of his or her employment or within the scope of a contract with the University;
  • Perform a task related to a student’s education;
  • Perform a task related to the discipline of a student;
  • Provide a service or benefit relating to the student or student’s family, such as health care, counseling, job placement, pastoral counseling, or financial aid; or
  • Maintain the safety and security of the campus.

Annual Notice to Students

On an annual basis, the Registrar of the University shall notify Students currently in attendance at the University of their rights under FERPA. That notice shall contain the following information:

  • The right of the Student to inspect and review his or her Education Records and the procedure for inspecting and reviewing such records;
  • The right of the Student to seek an amendment of his or her Education Records that the Student believes to be inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the Student’s privacy rights and the procedure for request such an amendment;
  • The right of the Student to consent to the disclosure of his or her Education Records, except to the extent the disclosure is permitted under FERPA or its implementing regulations without Student consent;
  • The right of the Student to file with the United States Department of Education a complaint concerning alleged failure by the University to comply with FERPA and its implementing regulations; and
  • The University’s criteria for determining who constitutes a School Official and what constitutes a Legitimate Educational Interest.

Types, Locations, and Custodians of Educational Records

The following is a list of the type of records that the University maintains, their locations, and custodians.

Type

Location

Custodian

Admissions Records

Academic or Residential

Dean's Office

Academic or Residential Dean; Law School Associate Dean for Admission

 

Financial Aid Records

Financial Aid Office

Director of Financial Aid

 

Cumulative Academic Records

Office of the University Registrar

 

University Registrar

Health Records

Student Health Center

Director, University Health Services

 

Counseling Records

CAPS

Director, CAPS

 

Financial Records

Office of Student Accounts

Bursar

 

Placement Records

Career Development Center

Director of Career Development;  Associate Dean for Career Development (Law School)

 

Progress Records

Office of the University Registrar

 

University Registrar

Disciplinary Records

Academic or Residential

Dean’s Office

 

Academic or Residential Dean

Student Employment Records

Financial Aid Office or Payroll Office

Student Employment Coordinator; Payroll Supervisor

 

Occasional Records

(Student Education Records such as minutes of faculty committee meetings, copies of correspondence in offices not listed, etc.)

The appropriate official will collect such records, direct the student to their location, or otherwise make them available for inspection and review

 

The University staff person who maintains such occasional records

Student Access to Inspect and Review Educational Records

Students may inspect and review their Education Records upon written request to the University Registrar, dean, or other appropriate official records custodian, stating as precisely as possible the Education Record or Records he or she wishes to inspect. 

The University official will make the needed arrangements for access as promptly as possible and notify the student of the time and place where the Education Records may be inspected. The University will provide access to the requested Education Records within 45 days of receipt of the request. 

The University will respond to reasonable written requests from Students for an explanation or interpretation of the Student’s Education Record.

If circumstances effectively prevent a Student from exercising the right to inspect and review his or her Education Records, the University, in its sole discretion, shall either provide the Student with a copy of the requested Education Record or make other arrangements for the Student to inspect and review the requested Education Record. 

The University does not charge a fee for the first copy of an Education Record or an official transcript, but the University reserves the right to charge for multiple copies, if requested. 

Notwithstanding the provisions of the University’s Record Retention Policy, the University shall not destroy any Education Record if there is an outstanding, written request to review such records in accordance with this policy.

Limitations on a Students Right to Inspect and Review Educational Records 

Consistent with FERPA and its implementing regulations, the right of a Student to inspect and review Education Records is limited as follows: 

  • When a record contains information about more than one Student, the Student requesting access may inspect and review only the records which relate to the requesting student, unless access to other parts of the records is permitted under FERPA or other applicable law.
  • A Student is not entitled to review and inspect financial records of the Student's Parents.
  • A Student is not entitled to review and inspect confidential letters and statements of recommendation for which the student has waived, in a signed document, his or her right of access, or which were placed in the Student’s Education Records before January 1, 1975. If the Student has waived his or right of access and subsequently requests such access, the University shall, upon request, give the Student the names of the individuals who provided the letters or statements of recommendation and shall use the letters or statements only for the purpose for which they were intended.
  • A Student is not entitled to review and inspect records connected with an application to attend the University of Richmond or a component unit of the University of Richmond if that application was denied or the student never attended the University.
  • A Student is not entitled to review and inspect any record that does not meet the definition of an Education Record.

Requests for Amendments to Educational Records 

Students have the right to request amendment of records that they believe to be inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of their privacy rights. Following are the procedures for the request for amendment of records: 

  1. A student must submit a request in writing to the appropriate official records custodian of the record in question, identifying the Education Record to be amended, specifying how the Education Record is believed to be inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of privacy rights.
  2. The University of Richmond may comply with the request or it may elect not to comply. If the University elects not to comply, the student will be notified in writing of the decision and advised of the right to a hearing to challenge the information believed to be inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of privacy rights.
  3. Upon written request by the student made within thirty (30) days of receipt of the University’s decision not to amend the Education Record, the University of Richmond will arrange for a hearing, and notify the student, reasonably in advance, of the date, place and time of the hearing.
  4. The hearing will be conducted by a hearing officer or committee appointed by the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs. The hearing will be held before an officer or committee with no direct interest in the outcome of the hearing. However, the hearing officer or committee may be employed by or exist at the University. The student shall be accorded a full and fair opportunity to present evidence relevant to the issues raised in the original request to amend the student's education records. The student may be assisted by one or more individuals, including an attorney. The University document custodian or his or her designee shall also be afforded the opportunity to present evidence relevant to the issues raised in the request to amend the record.
  5. The University of Richmond will prepare a written decision 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.
  6. If the University of Richmond decides the challenged information is inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of privacy rights, it will amend the Education Record and notify the student, in writing, that the Education Record has been amended.
  7. If the University of Richmond decides that the challenged information is not inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of privacy rights, the Education Record will stand unchanged. However, the student will be advised of his/her right to place in the Education Record a statement regarding the challenged information and/or a statement setting forth reasons for disagreeing with the decision not to change the Education Record.
  8. This statement will be maintained as part of the student's Education Record as long as the contested portion is maintained. If the contested portion of the Education Record is disclosed, the statement must be disclosed with it.

Disclosure of Educational Records 

The University of Richmond will disclose personally identifiable information from a student's Education Records only with the written consent of the student, except to the extent that such disclosure is permitted by FERPA.  FERPA permits the University to disclose personally identifiable information from a student’s Education Record, without Student consent, under the following circumstances: 

  1. To School Officials determined by the University to have a Legitimate Educational Interest.
  2. To agents acting on behalf of the institution (e.g. clearinghouses, degree/enrollment verifiers).
  3. To officials at other schools at which the student seeks or intends to enroll, or where the student is already enrolled as long as the disclosure is for purposes related to the student’s enrollment or transfer.
  4. To the apparent creator of a record to verify authenticity (e.g. transcript or letter)
  5. To authorized representatives of the following government entities if the disclosure is in connection with an audit or evaluation of federal or state supported education programs, or for the enforcement of or compliance with federal legal requirements that relation to those programs: Comptroller General of the United States, Secretary of Education, U.S. Attorney General and state and local educational authorities.
  6. In connection with a student's request for or receipt of financial aid, as necessary to determine the eligibility, amount or conditions of the financial aid, or to enforce the terms and conditions of the aid.
  7. To organizations conducting studies for or on behalf of the University to: (a) develop, validate, or administer predictive tests; (b) administer student aid programs; or (c) improve instruction.
  8. To accrediting organizations, including individuals or visiting committees, to carry out their accrediting functions.
  9. To parents of a Student who claim the Student as a dependent for income tax purposes, provided dependency is appropriately documented.
  10. To comply with a judicial order or a lawfully issued subpoena.
  11. To appropriate parties, including parents, in connection with a health or safety emergency if the University determines that there is an articulable and significant threat to the health or safety of a student or other individual(s).
  12. If the information constitutes Directory Information, as defined below, the Student has not requested that his or her directory information not be disclosed, and such disclosure is permitted by Virginia Code §23.1-405.
  13. Upon written request from an alleged victim of any crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense, the final results of the institutional disciplinary proceeding regarding the alleged crime or offense. If the alleged victim is deceased as a result of the crime or offense, the next of kin of the victim shall be treated as the victim for purposes of this disclosure. This disclosure shall be limited to the name of the accused student, the violation found to have been committed or the finding that no violation was committed, and any sanction imposed against such student
  14. Subject to limitations set forth in FERPA and to other applicable law or regulations, the disclosure is in connection with disciplinary proceedings at the University.
  15. To a Student’s Parent(s), information regarding any violation of any Federal, State or local law or of University rule or policy as the use or possession of alcohol or controlled substances, if the Student is under age 21 at the time of the disclosure and the University determines that such alcohol/drug use or possession constitutes a disciplinary violation.
  16. The disclosure concerns sex offenders and other individuals required to register under section 170101 of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1993, 42 USC 14071 and the information was provided to the University under 42 USC 14071 and applicable Federal guidelines.
  17. To Veteran’s Administration officials pursuant to 38 U.S.C. 3690(c).
  18. As required or permitted by any other Federal law or any state law that has not been pre-empted by FERPA. 

The University also may release Education Records without consent after the removal of all personally identifiable information and after the University makes a reasonable determination that a Student’s identity is not personally identifiable in such records, whether through single or multiple disclosures, and taking into account other reasonably available information.

Consent for the Disclosure

Consent for the disclosure of a Student’s Education Record must be in writing, signed, and dated by the Student, specifying the records to be released, the reasons for such release, and to whom the records are to be disclosed.

Record of Disclosures

Except where not required under FERPA regulations (34 CFR 99.33) (e.g. disclosures of directory information, disclosures pursuant to court order under the USA PATRIOT Act), the University will inform all third parties to whom personal information from a  Student’s Education Record is released that such third party may not further release such information without written consent of the Student. The University of Richmond will maintain a record of third parties who have requested or obtained access to Educational Records and/or disclosure of such information from a Student's Education Records (not including parties seeking directory information, parties having student consent, circumstances involving certain grand jury subpoenas, and disclosures pursuant to court order under the USA PATRIOT Act). The record will indicate the name of the party making the request, any additional party to whom it may be redisclosed, and the legitimate interest the party had in requesting or obtaining the information. This record of access, to be kept with the Education Records, is available only to the student and the custodian(s) of the Education Record. 

If the University discloses an Education Record without consent in connection with a health or safety emergency, the University will record and maintain the following: 

  • The articulable and significant threat to the health or safety of a Student or other individuals that formed the basis for the disclosure; and
  • The parties to whom the University made the disclosure.

Directory Information 

The University of Richmond has designated the following categories of Student information as public or Directory Information: 

  • Name
  • Addresses: permanent, campus, local (off-campus), email and campus computer network (IP) address, net id
  • Associated telephone numbers
  • Date and place of birth
  • School or college
  • Major and/or minor fields of study
  • Degree sought
  • Expected date of completion of degree requirements and graduation
  • Degrees conferred (including dates of conferral)
  • Awards and Honors (e.g. Dean’s list)
  • Full or part time enrollment status
  • Dates of attendance
  • Previous institutions attended
  • Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
  • Weight and height of members of athletic team members
  • Photographic or videotaped images of the student 

Except as specified below, the University may disclose any of these items at its discretion, without prior written consent, unless the Student requests “Confidentiality.” A student can request “Confidentiality” by notifying the Registrar in writing that he or she does not wish to permit disclosure of their directory information. Requests for non-disclosure by the Student are in effect from the date received in writing from the Student until rescinded in writing by the Student. For practical purposes, requests should be received in the Office of the University Registrar no later than August 1 to ensure that the student’s Directory Information is not published in the Campus Directory. 

The University shall not disclose, as Directory Information, the physical address, email address, or telephone number of a Student to third parties without the prior written consent of the Student, except to the extent permitted by Virginia Code §23.1-405. The University may disclose the physical address, email address, or telephone number of a Student to other University Students provided: (i) the Student has not chosen “Confidentiality,” notifying the Registrar in writing that he or she does not wish to permit disclosure; and (ii) such disclosure is for educational purposes or University business and operations (including the activities of registered student organizations).

Compliance 

Students are encouraged to contact the University Registrar, Queally Center, ext. 8639, e-mail address registrar@richmond.edu with questions or complaints about this Policy. If they have questions or concerns about this policy, under FERPA, students have the right to contact the Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Ave., S.W., Washington, DC 20202-4605, e-mail address: ferpa@ed.gov, with a complaint about the University’s compliance with FERPA.

View the full policy