The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law designed to protect the privacy of, and limit access to, student education records. The law affords students the following rights with respect to their education records:
- the right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days after the date Rice University ("Rice") receives a request for access;
- the right to seek amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA;
- the right to provide written consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information ("PII", as defined by law) contained in the student’s education records, except to the extent FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent;
Inspect and review records: A student should make written request to any offices that maintain student education records, identifying the record(s) the student wishes to inspect. Though not exhaustive, as a guide for students, this is a list of the primary offices that maintain student education records: Office of the Registrar, Office of the Dean of Undergraduates, Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, Office of Student Judicial Programs, Office of Admission, Office of Financial Aid, Center for Career Development, Office of Student Activities, Office of Academic Advising, Office of International Students and Scholars, Cashier’s Office, and departmental offices. The appropriate Rice official 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 Rice official to whom the request is submitted, that Rice official will advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
Amendment of records: Any questions, problems, or written requests for amendment of records should be submitted to the Office of the Registrar. A student requesting to amend a record should clearly identify the part of the record the student wants changed and specify why it should be changed. If Rice decides not to amend the record as requested, Rice will notify the student in writing of the decision and of the student’s right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when the student is notified of the right to a hearing.
Disclosure of information: As permitted by FERPA, Rice reserves the right to publish or release the following directory information without prior consent.
- Name, local and permanent address, telephone and mobile number(s), campus email address(es), and instant messenger address(es)
- Date and place of birth
- Classification and major and minor fields of study
- Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
- Weight and height of members of athletic teams
- Dates of attendance, degrees and awards received
- The most recent previous educational agency or institution attended by the student
- Photographic image
Students who would like Rice to withhold this directory information may do so by logging in to ESTHER, clicking Personal Information, clicking Release or Withhold Directory Information, and indicating that the information should be withheld. Thereafter, Rice will withhold access to, or release of, the student’s directory information until further written instruction is received. For more information regarding FERPA, please visit the U.S. Department of Education’s website.
FERPA permits the disclosure of PII from students’ education records, without consent of the student, if the disclosure meets certain conditions found in 34 C.F.R. §99.31 of the FERPA regulations. Except for disclosures to school officials, disclosures related to some judicial orders or lawfully issued subpoenas, disclosures of directory information, and disclosures to the student, Section 99.32 of the FERPA regulations requires the institution to record the disclosure. Eligible students have a right to inspect and review the record of disclosures. A postsecondary institution may disclose PII from the education records without obtaining prior written consent of the student –
- To other school officials, within Rice whom Rice has determined have legitimate educational interests and require this information in order to perform instructional, supervisory, advisory, administrative, or other duties for Rice. These school officials include faculty, research personnel, staff (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff), trustees, or students serving on official committees (such as disciplinary or grievance committees) or assisting another school official. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an educational record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility to Rice. This includes contractors, consultants, auditors, attorneys, collection agents, volunteers, or other parties to whom Rice has outsourced institutional services or functions, provided that the conditions listed in §99.31(a)(1)(i)(B)(1) - (a)(1)(i)(B)(2) are met. (§99.31(a)(1))
- To officials of another school where the student seeks or intends to enroll, or where the student is already enrolled if the disclosure is for purposes related to the student’s enrollment or transfer, subject to the requirements of §99.34. Disclosures may be made and information forwarded by Rice without prior notification to the student. (§99.31(a)(2))
- To authorized representatives of the U. S. Comptroller General, the U. S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or State and local educational authorities, such as a State postsecondary authority that is responsible for supervising the university’s State-supported education programs. Disclosures under this provision may be made, subject to the requirements of §99.35, 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 relate to those programs. These entities may make further disclosures of PII to outside entities that are designated by them as their authorized representatives to conduct any audit, evaluation, or enforcement or compliance activity on their behalf. (§§99.31(a)(3) and 99.35)
- In connection with financial aid for which the student has applied or which the student has received, if the information is necessary to determine eligibility for the aid, determine the amount of the aid, determine the conditions of the aid, or enforce the terms and conditions of the aid. (§99.31(a)(4))
- To organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, the school, in order to: (a) develop, validate, or administer predictive tests; (b) administer student aid programs; or (c) improve instruction. (§99.31(a)(6))
- To accrediting organizations to carry out their accrediting functions. (§99.31(a)(7))
- To parents of an eligible student if the student is a dependent for IRS tax purposes, though Rice limits such information to financial details of the student’s enrollment. (§99.31(a)(8))
- To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena. (§99.31(a)(9))
- To appropriate officials in connection with a health or safety emergency, subject to §99.36. (§99.31(a)(10))
- Information the school has designated as “directory information” above and pursuant to §99.37. (§99.31(a)(11))
- To a victim of an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense, subject to the requirements of §99.39. The disclosure may only include the final results of the disciplinary proceeding with respect to that alleged crime or offense, regardless of the finding. (§99.31(a)(13))
- To the general public, the final results of a disciplinary proceeding, subject to the requirements of §99.39, if the school determines the student is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense and the student has committed a violation of the school’s rules or policies with respect to the allegation made against him or her. (§99.31(a)(14))
- To parents of a student regarding the student’s violation of any Federal, State, or local law, or of any rule or policy of the school, governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance if the school determines the student committed a disciplinary violation and the student is under the age of 21. (§99.31(a)(15))
For further information regarding Rice’s policy on student education records, please contact the Office of the Registrar.
Office of the Registrar–MS 57
6100 Main Street
Houston, TX 77005-1892