Confidentiality of Student Records (FERPA)
Cornell College, in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 as amended (FERPA), protects the confidentiality of student records and the individual student’s right to privacy, as described in this policy. The college also offers a number of tools and resources to help students manage and verify their student records privacy options.
Cornell's definition of student status can be found in the College Catalogue. Rights and responsibilities that depend on enrollment status may be found in the policies of the relevant departments (Residence Life, IT, etc.).
Cornell recognizes that the student has a right to expect that information accumulated for the purpose of facilitating his or her education will not be used for other purposes without his or her consent. According to FERPA, all students – regardless of their age – have the legal right to authorize the release of information to individuals or agencies outside the College. The College has adopted the following guidelines to be used in the control, collection, and dissemination of student records.
- The College may release directory information as a matter of course without the prior consent of the student. Students who do not wish the college to release any or all directory information must notify the Registrar in writing. Directory information consists of:
- the student's name,
- local and home addresses and telephone numbers,
- campus e-mail address,
- date and place of birth (only if the student is currently enrolled),
- major field of study,
- enrollment status (FT/PT),
- participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height (if a member of an athletic team),
- dates of attendance,
- academic level,
- degrees and awards received,
- the name of the most recent educational institution previously attended,
- the student's photograph,
- and the names of the student's parents.
- No information except directory information will be released without the written authorization of the student whose records are requested, to persons other than the student and members of the Cornell faculty and administration. When a request for confidential information concerning a student has been made and the student has formally consented to the release of that information, the College is obligated to respond to the inquiring agency. The response will be accurate and in keeping with these guidelines.
- Students may authorize College officials to disclose to parents or guardians information (including academic, billing, financial aid, and disciplinary/conduct) from a student’s records. Students have the opportunity to make this designation electronically during New Student Orientation. Students may or change revoke such authorization at any time by coming to the Registrar’s Desk in Old Sem to fill out the appropriate paperwork. Students may email their grades, billing, or financial aid information to anyone they wish using the electronic form available on the Registrar’s web site.
- Upon request the College will disclose education records (including student conduct records) to officials of another school at which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
- The College may release personally identifiable information from a student's record to certain officials of the U.S. Department of Education, the Comptroller General, and state and local educational authorities, in connection with certain state or federally supported education programs, and to accrediting organizations to carry out their functions. In addition, the College is required to release confidential student information in response to a lawfully issued subpoena or judicial order.
- Occasionally, the College is asked to make available information about students for research purposes. In releasing original data for research, the College shall take due care to protect the identity of the student. Whenever the limits of confidentiality are in question, the College shall obtain the formal consent of the student prior to using information about him or her for research purposes. Before submitting information from student records to the researchers, the College shall become assured that the research agency will follow acceptable standards of confidentiality.
- A student’s educational records may also be released to school officials (including but not limited to members of the faculty and administration) who need to access or review the records in order to:
- Perform a task that is specified in his or her position description or contract
- Perform a task related to a student’s education or to student discipline
- Provide a service or benefit related to the student (e.g., participation in college programs, insurance); or
- Maintain a safe and secure campus.
- In the event of a health or safety emergency, Cornell College will determine whether there is an articulable and significant threat to the health or safety of a student or other individuals. If there is determined to be such a threat Cornell may disclose information from education records to any person whose knowledge of the information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals. The institution shall release only the information necessary to ensure the health and safety of those involved. When personally identifiable information from education records is disclosed under the health or safety emergency exception Cornell will record:
- The articulable and significant threat that formed the basis of the disclosure, and
- The parties to whom the information was disclosed.
- A student or a person applying for admission to Cornell College may waive his or her right of access to confidential statements submitted after Jan. 1, 1975.
- Respecting admission to any educational agency or institution;
- Respecting an application for employment; and
- Respecting the receipt of an honor or honorary recognition.
- A student has the right to inspect his or her educational records, including personal records, academic records, conduct records, and health records as described below. Students should submit a written request identifying the record(s) the student wishes to inspect to the appropriate official. The 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 official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed. The College will have a maximum of 45 working days to respond to a request to inspect records. A student shall have the right to obtain copies of his or her records, when failure to provide a copy of the record would prevent the student from inspecting and reviewing the record. If this is done at the student's expense, the cost shall not exceed the actual costs of reproducing such copies. Information on the cost is available from the Registrar's Office.
- A student shall have the right to request the College to amend the education records that s/he believes are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA. Requests should be submitted in writing to the college official responsible for the record and should clearly identify the part of the record the student wants changed and specify why it should be changed. If the College decides not to amend the record as requested, the College will notify the student in writing of the decision and advise the student of his/her right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing. In the event that a request for amendment is not granted, a student has the right to place in his or her record a statement commenting on the contents of that record. These statements may be removed only at the request of the student except for the provision of the destruction of the records as described below.
- Records are retained and destroyed in compliance with federal law, including Title IV regulations, and the recommendations of the professional associations of the relevant departments.
- A student has the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the College to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is: Family Policy Compliance Office, US Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20202-5920.
- A personal record for each student is started at the time of admission and is maintained in the Dean of Students office. This folder contains an application for admission, including biographical information, test scores, copies of all official correspondence, and current addresses of parents, guardians, or spouses. Information on religious and political preferences and activities is voluntary, and only that information voluntarily submitted shall be kept in the folder. These folders do not include confidential counseling records created by any staff member.
- Information from student records shall not be sent to prospective employers without the formal consent of the student involved. The student may waive his or her right of access to confidential statements (see A.10, above). Individuals asked to write recommendations for a student shall be informed if the student has waived his or her right of access.
- Information about the academic achievement of a student will be available online to the student and to the student's academic advisor. Academic information will be released to others according to the policies and procedures laid out in Section A.
- Grade point averages will be released to the groups of which a student is a member or is seeking membership only with the written consent of the individual. The College will indicate only whether or not the student has met minimum standards of the group.
- Academic transcripts will be maintained in perpetuity.
- Records of conduct decisions by Cornell College student conduct bodies will be maintained by the Dean of Students office.
- Conduct records are primarily for internal use and shall not generally be made available to persons outside the institution, except upon formal request of the student involved. Conduct actions shall not be indicated on academic transcripts. Intra-institutional use shall be restricted to the Dean of Students, administrative hearing officers and members of the Student Conduct and Appeals Boards when necessary to the discharge of their duties.
When applying for financial assistance, each student is normally required to submit a Financial Assistance Form. This statement and all other materials pertinent to a student's financial status will be kept in a separate file and shall be available only to those persons working directly with financial assistance. Information on awards for scholarships, grants, and loans is considered confidential and will not be released to unauthorized persons.
- Medical and psychological records are privileged. A student will have access to these records, and information based on these records may be released only at the request of the student. Those conditions, diseases, or injuries that a licensed healthcare provider is required by law to report would constitute exceptions to this policy.
- A copy of the entrance physical examination and any other pertinent information contained in a student's medical record may be sent to other educational institutions upon the request of the student. Such materials may also be sent to prospective employers, other physicians, insurance companies, and other persons or organizations at the request of the student.