The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law enacted in 1974 that affords students certain rights concerning their student educational records. It is also known as the “Buckley Amendment.” The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.
Procedures for the Release of Information About Students
Information about students and former students gathered by USAO is of two types: (1) directory and (2) confidential. Any office gathering such information and/or having custody of it, shall release it only in accordance with this policy.
When a student enters the university and furnishes data required for academic and personal records, there is an implicit and justifiable assumption of trust placed in the university as custodian of such information. This relationship continues with regard to any data subsequently generated during the student’s enrollment.
While the university fully acknowledges the student’s rights of privacy concerning this information, it also recognizes that certain information is part of the public record and may be released for legitimate purposes.
With these considerations in mind, USAO has adopted the following policy concerning the release of information contained in student records:
Directory Information: This is information which routinely appears in student directories and alumni publications and may be freely released. USAO designates the following student information as public or directory information:
- Category I. Student’s name, local and permanent address, e-mail address, phone number(s), classification, dates of attendance at USAO, enrollment status (full-time, half-time, or less than half-time), gender.
- Category II. Major field of study/degree program; educational institutions previously attended; degrees, honors, and awards granted; educational background, degree(s) held, date(s) granted, and institutions granting such degree(s); anticipated date of graduation based on completed hours.
- Category III. Date and place of birth, participation in officially recognized organizations, activities, and sports; weight and height of participants in officially recognized sports.
This information may be disclosed by the institution for any purpose, at its discretion. Students may withhold disclosure of any or all categories of directory information under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 as amended. Forms requesting the withholding of “Directory Information” are available in the Records Office, Troutt 204.
USAO assumes the right of approval for disclosure unless a student specifically requests in writing the withholding of “Directory Information."
Confidential Information: This is all other information contained in the student’s educational record and can be released only upon the written consent of the student, with the following exceptions as defined in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, which waive prior student consent:
- Other school officials within the educational institution who have legitimate educational
interests. Other school officials are defined as:
- a person employed by the university in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or
- support staff position, including health and medical staff;
- a person appointed to the Board of Regents;
- a person employed by or under contract to the university to perform a special task, such as the attorney or auditor; or
- a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or who is assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks.
- a school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official is:
- performing a task related to the student’s education;
- performing a task related to the discipline of a student;
- providing a service or benefit relating to the student or student’s family, such as health care, counseling, job placement, or financial aid; or
- maintaining the safety and security of the campus.
- Officials of schools to which the student seeks to transfer.
- the Comptroller General of the United States, the HEW Secretary, the administrative head of an educational agency, or state educational authorities.
- in connection with a student’s application for, or receipt of, financial aid.
- state and local officials or authorities to which such information is specifically required to be reported under state statutes adopted prior to Nov. 17, 1974.
- organizations or educational agencies conducting legitimate research, provided no personally identifiable information about the student is made public.
- accrediting organizations.
- parents of a dependent student upon proof of dependency as defined by the Internal Revenue Code of 1954. (Parents of international students are excluded.)
- to comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoenas, provided that the educational agency or institution makes a reasonable effort to notify the student of the order or subpoena in advance of compliance.
- in connection with an emergency when such information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other persons.
- the result of any disciplinary proceeding conducted by the university against an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence to the alleged victim of that crime.
Confidential information shall only be transferred to a third party, however, on the condition that such party will not permit any other party to have access to the information without the written consent of the student.
Original credentials with which a student applies for admission or readmission to USAO become the property of the university, are assembled in a permanent student folder, and are not released to anyone. The file contents are made available only to those persons properly authorized to receive confidential information and only in consultation with a professional staff member in the Registrar's Office.
Although the permanent academic record is a cumulative record compiled by the student, the Registrar is the officer of the institution charged with responsibility for its accuracy and safekeeping. Accordingly, the student folder and the permanent cumulative academic record are not available to anyone for removal from the Registrar’s assigned depository.
More information concerning this policy may be obtained by contacting the Registrar's Office.
Attempts by other individuals or organizations to access student records without the express written consent of the student are considered a violation of university policy/federal law. Examples of violations include but are not limited to: 1) illegally accessing information from student or faculty information terminals; 2) misrepresentation to obtain another student’s transcript, semester grades, or class registration; 3) using a student’s ID number without his/her permission to gain access to other university services.
Procedures to Inspect Education Records
Students may inspect and review their education records upon request to the appropriate records custodian or appropriate university staff person. Refer to the section within this policy that defines the type of records along with the location and name of the custodian.
Students should submit to the records custodian or an appropriate university staff person a written request which identifies as precisely as possible the record or records he or she wishes to inspect.
The records custodian or appropriate university staff person will make the needed arrangements for access as promptly as possible and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. Access must be given in 45 days or less from the date of receipt of the request.
When a record contains information about more than one student, the student may inspect and review only the records which relate to him or her.
Limitations on Right of Access
The university reserves the right to refuse to permit a student to inspect the following records:
- the financial statement of the student’s parents.
- letters and statements of recommendation for which the student has waived his or her rights of access, or which were maintained before January 1, 1975.
- records related to an application to attend the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma if that application was denied.
- those records which are excluded from the FERPA definition of education records.
Refusal to Provide Copies
The university reserves the right to deny students copies of their educational records, including transcripts, not required to be made available by the FERPA in the following situations:
- the student has an unpaid financial obligation to the university.
- there is an unresolved disciplinary action against the student.
- the education record requested is an exam or set of standardized test questions.
The University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma is pleased to provide information regarding our institution's graduation/completion rates, in compliance with the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended. Complete information is available at the following web address: institutional-research. Paper copy is available upon request by contacting the Office of Information Services, 405-574-1234.
STUDENT LIABILITY AND RESPONSIBILITY
Whether enrolled in an on-campus class or in a USAO internship, independent study program, practicum course, or activity involving domestic or foreign travel, students are responsible for their own medical treatment and are liable for their own actions. In the event of an injury or illness while participating in a USAO-sponsored activity, USAO cannot approve a claim for treatment or reimbursement. Information on insurance is available in the Office of the Vice President for Administrative Affairs. Also, a number of reasonably priced insurance policies are available from the private business sector. We strongly encourage students to obtain the appropriate coverage. Students who participate in intercollegiate athletics must have primary insurance in force before practice begins.