Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

KEY CONCEPTS TO FERPA AND BGSU POLICIES

 


Attendance


Dependent Student

Directory information

Disclosure

Education Records

Eligible Student (student)

Financial Aid

Health and Safety Emergency Exception

Legitimate Educational Interest

Parent

Personally Identifiable Information

University Official



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Attendance : Academic participation in person, by correspondence, or through online courses.  This definition also includes work related to the student’s educational experience such as co-ops, internships, and work-study programs.  It is not enough to be enrolled; the student must be engaged in academic pursuit.

Dependent Student :  A student is a dependent as defined in Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 is a dependent student.

 

Directory information : Information contained within student education records that is not generally considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if released.  FERPA provides latitude in each institution’s designation of directory information and does not mandate that the information be made available upon request.  Click here for a complete list of BGSU Directory Information .

Disclosure :  Dissemination of official education records or the personally identifiable information maintained in a variety of formats, including oral, written, or electronic media, within the context of FERPA regulations.

Education records :  Records directly related to a student and his or her experience at BGSU and maintained by the University or by an agency acting on behalf of the institution, including but not limited to: directory information, class schedules, grades, school-related employment, and disciplinary complaints and rulings.  These records may be maintained in a variety of formats such as those that are hand-written, typed, computerized or stored in audio-visual or digital media.

Eligible student (student) :  BGSU’s FERPA policy defines an eligible student as an individual who has received an offer of admission to a college of the University, or who has been accepted for enrollment in one or more classes offered by a college or other academic unit of the University.  Conditional to this definition is that:

•     The individual has registered for one or more classes or academic instruction to be given at the University (including BGSU Firelands and those educational institutions operating under an academic agreement with the University as part of a University-approved program of study); or

•     The individual has firmly expressed an intent to so register, either in writing or through one or more overt acts (such as attending orientation, submitting a housing deposit, or paying part or all of the relevant fees, tuition or other expenses); and

•     The individual is registered or intends to register for one or more classes scheduled for the current or immediately following semester (12-month period).

 

Financial aid : Financial aid means a payment of funds provided to an individual (or a payment in kind of tangible or intangible property to the individual) that is conditioned on the individual's attendance at an educational agency or institution.

Health and safety emergency exception :FERPA overrides the student’s right to prior consent for the disclosure of education records and permits school officials to release personally identifiable information to protect the health or safety of students or other individuals in an emergency. 

 

Legitimate educational interest : FERPA requires that each institution specify what constitutes a legitimate educational interest within its policy of education records, but does not dictate the definition. BGSU’s Policies and Procedures for Student Records broadly defines this term as a University official’s “need to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility.”  In other words, the definition depends on who does and does not have access to student education records as well as when and for what reasons particular individuals are given access. These restrictions prescribe the conditions under which all individuals functioning as University officials have the right and/or responsibility to access or disclose student records in the interests of education, health, and safety of the student and others at the institution. More specifically,professional responsibilities associated with a legitimate educational interest include, but are not necessarily limited to:

 

•       Specific tasks identified in your contract or position description (e.g., departmental management, advising, teaching, undergraduate research or engagement, data management or entry, institutional reporting); 

•       Duties related to a student’s performance in class or disciplinary issues; 

•       Service to the student, such as writing letters of reference, judging merit-based awards, or assisting in graduate school applications;

•       Assistance to a student’s family in times of emergency illness or injury; or 

•      Steps to assure safety and security on campus.

 

Review of student education records for mere curiosity or purveyance, however, is never authorized or tolerated.

Parent :The natural, adoptive, or stepparent of a BGSU student or a guardian or individual acting as a parent in the absence of a parent or guardian.  Full rights are to be afforded to both parents unless an order, state statute, or other legally binding document has revoked the parent's rights.

 

Personally Identifiable Information :Information that makes a student's identity easily recognized, including, but not limited to: name; name of parent or other family member; address of the student or student's family; social security number or ID number; and personal characteristics that would make the student's identity easily traceable.

University Official : Any individual employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research or support staff position or a student serving in an official capacity, such as being a member of a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks.  In addition, representatives of companies or agencies with whom the University has contracted (such as consultants, external auditors, or attorneys) are considered University officials if they have legitimate educational interests in the information.