Adherence to Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 Policy

Sponsor: Office of Academic Affairs

Contact: College Registrar

Category: Academic and Student Affairs

Number: 700.038

Effective Date: Jan. 1, 2006

Implementation History: April 23, 1977 (original implementation), revised January 2006 and January 2019

Keywords: Family, rights, privacy, records, transcript

Background Information: None.


The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) was designed to ensure that educational records would be open to inspection and correction when appropriate and that recorded information would not be made freely available to individuals outside the school without consent. Both current and former students have the right to inspect and review all records, files, documents and other material directly related to them which are maintained by the school or a person acting for the school.


To comply with the provisions of the act, Empire State College guarantees the following:

  1. The college will inform students annually of their rights under the act.
  2. Students may request to examine their education records by the following methods:
    Students may request to examine their education records in person or by written request to the college registrar.
    Proper identification required for in-person requests, (e.g., Empire State College identification card).
    The college will comply with such requests in a reasonable time not to exceed 45 days from receipt of the request.
  3. Students should consult the SUNY Empire State College fee schedule for copied of education records.
  4. Types and locations of records maintained by the college, and the officials responsible for them are as follows: 
    1. Admission Records: Admissions office – director of admissions; locations or programs – dean/program director. Upon official enrollment of a student, admissions records are transferred to the Office of the Registrar.
    2. Academic Records: Office of the Registrar – the registrar; dean or program administrator.
    3. Official Empire State College Transcripts: Office of the Registrar (Saratoga Springs) – registrar.
    4. Financial Aid Records: Financial Aid and Student Accounts (Saratoga Springs) – directors of business services, financial aid and student accounts.
    5. Billing Records: Student Accounts (Saratoga Springs) – director for student accounts.
    6. Graduate and Inactive Academic Student Records: Office of the Registrar – registrar.
  5. The college will not disclose personally identifiable information from a student’s education records without prior written consent of the student except as permitted by the act in paragraphs 99.31 and 99.37.

99.31 – Prior Consent for Disclosure not Required

Prior consent is not required for the following:

  1. School Officials: those persons (and their supporting staffs) whose official functions require access to student records (e.g., Office of Academic Affairs, Admissions, Office of the Registrar, Financial Aid, Student Accounts, mentors, research personnel).
  2. Authorized representatives of the comptroller general of the United States; the secretary, the commissioner, the director of the United States Department of Education; the assistant secretary for education; state educational authorities.
  3. Persons connected with financial aid (e.g., determining eligibility, amount, conditions and enforcement of conditions).
  4. State and local officials when information is required to be disclosed by state statute.
  5. Organizations conducting studies for the college for specific purposes when personal identification will not be possible outside the organization.
  6. Accrediting organizations in carrying out their functions.
  7. To comply with judicial orders.
  8. In event of health or safety emergency.
  9. To comply with the Patriot Act of 2001.

99.37 – Disclosure of Directory Information

Directory information which can be released without prior consent of the student is limited to the following (as authorized by the act):

  1. Name
  2. Address
  3. Phone number
  4. Dates of attendance
  5. Most recent previous educational institution attended
  6. Major area of concentration
  7. Degree and awards earned
  8. Participation in officially recognized college activities
  9. Date and place of birth
  10. Email address
  11. Enrollment status

The student may restrict the release of all or part of the directory information by following the procedures specified in each annual notice.

All parts of the college will operate under the following procedures with regard to requests for information:

  1. Incoming Phone Requests: only directory information items 4, 5, 6 will be released over the phone to persons outside the college.
  2. Written Requests: directory information will be released by the college registrar in response to requests on official letterhead to persons having legitimate reason(s) for requesting the information. If additional information is requested, the student will be notified and release requested.
  3. In-Person Requests: directory information will be released to those who have proper identification and legitimate reason for requesting the information. It will not be released to other students.
  4. Other than directory information will be released only by the college registrar and only with the prior consent of the student.
  5. The Office of the Registrar will maintain a record in the student’s file of all requests for, and disclosure of, personally identifiable information (other than directory information) from a student’s education records as specified in the act. This record may be inspected by the student.
  6. Students may request to amend their education records if they believe information contained therein is inaccurate or misleading or violates their privacy or other rights. If such a request is refused, the college will so inform the student and advise the student of the right to a hearing to be held within a reasonable time.
  7. All parts of the college will maintain student records in lockable file cabinets, preferably in lockable rooms. Similarly, computer files will be maintained in such a way as to ensure maximum security and to provide access only to authorized personnel. Storage and destruction will be in accordance with State University policy and procedures.
  8. Copies of this policy and of the act will be on file in all locations of the college and will be made available to eligible students upon request.

Access to Lists of Empire State College Graduates

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 stipulates under what conditions information regarding graduates, as well as students, may be made public. It is the policy of this college not to make mailing lists of graduates available to other organizations or individuals. In no instance will lists of Empire State College graduates be released to organizations or individuals for commercial purposes. All requests for information on individual Empire State College graduates will be forwarded to the college registrar. If, in the view of the college registrar, a compelling case exists to grant exception to this policy, the college registrar will consult with the Office of the President and Alumni and Student Relations to determine if an exception is warranted. In those cases where an exception is granted, the release of information will still be governed by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974.