RELEASE OF STUDENT INFORMATION AND ACCESS TO STUDENT RECORDS
Information maintained by the University of Oklahoma about students, and in some instances former students, is covered under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), a Federal law that applies to all schools who receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.
FERPA information is defined as either directory or confidential. Any office gathering such information and/or having custody of it shall release it only in accordance with this policy or as otherwise required by law. When a student enrolls at 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 in accordance with applicable law. With these considerations in mind, the University adopts the following policy concerning the release of information contained in student records:
This is information which routinely appears in student directories and alumni publications and may be freely released. Upon written request by the student, directory information will be treated as confidential and released only with the student's consent except where disclosure is required or permitted by law. Students may at any time request that directory information be treated as confidential and released only with their consent. Students should contact the Registrar at their specific campus location for the appropriate forms. Students should be advised that by withholding directory information, University officials are prohibited from releasing any form of information without their consent, or as permitted or required by law. This means the status of students who apply for an auto loan, good student discount, or apartment lease, or who need employment verification, enrollment verification, or loan deferments, etc., will only be verified by University officials when accompanied by a release from the student.
Directory information includes the following:
The University of Oklahoma, in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), has designated specific information as Directory Information:
- Home & Permanent Address
- Email Address
- Telephone numbers
- Major field of study
- Class year
- Enrollment status
- Anticipated degree date
- Participation in officially recognized University activities
- Degrees and awards received (including outstanding or recognized academic achievement)
- Most recent previous educational institution attended
Although not specifically included within the definition of directory information, the University permits faculty to post individual student grades and interim class evaluations provided the information is identified by code numbers and does not identify the student. Students who do not want this information released or posted must notify their instructor or the Registrar's Office.
This is all other information contained in the student's educational record that can be released only upon the written consent of the student, with the following exceptions defined in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, which waive the requirement for prior student consent.
Disclosure of Education Records is Permitted
(a) To school officials who have a legitimate educational interest in the records. School officials are defined as follows:
- A person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position, including law enforcement personnel and health or medical staff.
- A person serving on the Board of Regents.
- A person or company under contract to the University to perform a service or function, instead of using University employees or officials (such as attorney, auditor, or collection agent).
- A person who is employed by the University law enforcement unit.
- A person who is assisting another school official in performing his/her tasks, including but not limited to a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee.
A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official is:
- Performing a task that is necessary to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities for the University.
- Performing a task related to a 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, scholarship, or financial aid.
- Maintaining the safety and security of the campus.
(b) To officials of other institutions in which a student seeks or intends to enroll on the condition that the institution makes a reasonable attempt to inform the student of the disclosure, unless the student initiates the transfer, or this type of disclosure is covered under the institution’s annual notification.
(c) To certain officials of the Department of Education, the Comptroller General, Attorney General of the United States, and state and local educational authorities, in connection with audit or evaluation of certain state or federally supported education programs, or for enforcement of, or compliance with, federal legal requirements that relate to these programs.
(d) In connection with a student's request for or receipt of financial aid to determine the eligibility, amount, or conditions of the financial aid, or to enforce the terms and conditions of the aid.
(e) To state and local officials or authorities if specifically required by a state law that was adopted before November 19, 1974.
(f) To organizations conducting certain studies, as further detailed under FERPA, for or on behalf of the University.
(g) To accrediting organizations to carry out their functions.
(h) To parents of an eligible student who is claimed as a dependent for income tax purposes (proof of dependency is required). Parents of international students are excluded. International students sign an I-20 granting specific agencies access to educational records.
(i) To comply with a judicial order or a lawfully issued subpoena, provided that the educational institution makes a reasonable effort to notify the student of such prior to compliance in accordance with FERPA.
(j) The Attorney General of the U.S. or his designee.
(k) To appropriate parties in a health or safety emergency.
(l) To individuals requesting directory information so designated by the University.
(m) To notify the alleged victim or general public of the final results of any disciplinary proceeding conducted by the University against an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense and the student has committed a violation of the University’s rules or policies with respect to the allegation.
(n) To parents regarding the student’s violation of any federal, state, or local law, or of any rule or policy of the institution governing the use or possession of alcohol or controlled substance if the institution determines that the student has committed a disciplinary violation with respect to the use or possession and the student is under the age of 21 at the time of the disclosure to the parent.
(o) The disclosure concerns sex offenders and other individuals required to register under section 170101 of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, 34 U.S.C. 14071 and the information was provided to the University under 42 U.S.C. 14071, and applicable federal guidelines. Confidential information shall be transferred to a third party, however, only 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.
Record of Requests for Disclosure
The Registrar maintains a record of all requests for and/or disclosures of information from a student's education records. The record indicates the name of the party making the request, any additional party to whom it may be disclosed, and the legitimate interest the party has in requesting or obtaining the information. The record may be reviewed by the eligible student.
When a student signs a release authorizing another party access to his or her educational record, that signed release, including identification of the individual and organization to which access has been authorized and the use of the data gathered, is maintained by the Registrar. Student requests for copies of their own educational records (such as transcripts) are also retained by the Registrar simply as a record of the request having been completed.
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 an 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 calendar 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. Information that identifies the other student must be redacted.
Correction of Education Records
Students have the right to challenge and request amendment of the contents of records that they believe are inaccurate, misleading or in violation of their privacy rights.
- A student must ask the appropriate University official of the University of Oklahoma to amend a record. In so doing, the student should identify the part of the record to be amended and specify why the student believes it is inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of his or her privacy rights.
- Within a reasonable period of time, the University will either comply with the request or not comply. If it decides not to comply, the University will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his or her right to a hearing to challenge the information believed to be inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the student's privacy rights.
- Upon request, the University will arrange for a hearing and notify the student reasonably in advance of the date, place, and time of the hearing.
- The hearing will be conducted by the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Faculty Development. The student shall be afforded 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 retained at his or her expense. The University may be represented by University Legal Counsel.
- The University 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 and shall be delivered to all parties concerned who have a legitimate education interest.
(a) If the University decides that the information in the student’s record is inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the student’s right of privacy, it will amend the record and notify the student, in writing, that the record has been amended.
(b) If the University decides that the challenged information is not inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the student's right of privacy, it will notify the student that he or she has a right to place in the record a statement commenting on the challenged information and/or a statement setting forth reasons for disagreeing with the decision.
(c) The statement from the student will be maintained as a part of the student's education records as long as the contested portion is maintained. If the University discloses the contested portion of the record, it must also disclose the student's statement.
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 Oklahoma or a component unit or campus of the University if that application was denied.
- Those records that are excluded from the FERPA definition of education records.
Refusal to Provide Copies
The University has a policy that denies students copies of their educational records, including transcripts, under certain conditions. While the University cannot deny students access to their education records, students will be denied copies of those records 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.
Parental Access to Student Academic Records
Parents of a dependent student may have access to grades and other confidential academic information under guidelines provided in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. Access to this information is limited to parents who claim the student as a dependent for income tax purposes. Each request for parental access must include a copy of the top portion of the parent's most recent tax return, showing the student's identifying information.
Requests from parents for specific grade or other academic information are addressed to the Office of Admissions and Records.
Oklahoma Open Records Act
The University of Oklahoma follows the Oklahoma Open Records Act. The University of Oklahoma Board of Regents has approved a policy concerning the implementation of that act at the University. For information concerning the policy, contact the University’s Open Records Officer.