Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords eligible students certain rights with respect to their education records.  An “eligible student” under FERPA is a matriculated student who is 18 years of age or older or who attends a postsecondary institution.

These rights include:

1 – Written Consent for Disclosure, Request for Non-Disclosure

An eligible student has the right to provide written consent before the university discloses personally identifiable information from the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.

Exceptions to 1 (Disclosures without Consent)

Disclosure of Directory Information

At its discretion, George Fox may provide "directory information" in accordance with the provisions of the Act. Directory information is defined as that information which would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed.

The university defines the following information as "directory information":
  • parents' names and addresses
  • the student's name
  • the student's permanent address
  • the student's local address
  • the student's temporary address
  • the student's e-mail addresses
  • the student's telephone numbers
  • the student's date and place of birth
  • the student's participation in officially recognized activities and sports
  • the student's major
  • the student's dates of attendance
  • the student's enrollment status (including full-time and part-time)
  • the student's degrees and awards received
  • the student's class year
  • the student's most recent previous school attended
  • photographs, audio, and video recordings of the student
  • for members of athletics teams
    • height
    • weight
    • position played

Students may restrict the release of their directory information to third parties by annually completing a signed and dated form available from the Registrar's office.

Disclosure to School Officials

The school discloses education records without a student’s prior written consent under the FERPA exception for disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests.

A school official is:

  • A person employed by George Fox in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel, health staff, student employees, and graduate assistants)
  • A person serving on the board of trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee
  • A volunteer, consultant, contractor, or other party to whom George Fox has outsourced instructional services or functions for which the school would otherwise use its own employees, and who is under the direct control of the school with respect to the use and maintenance of personally identifiable information from education records, such as an attorney, auditor, collection agent, or a student assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks

A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities for George Fox.

Disclosure to organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, the school, in order to:

  • develop, validate, or administer predictive tests
  • administer student aid programs
  • improve instruction

Disclosure 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.

Disclosure to accrediting organizations to carry out their accrediting functions.

Disclosure 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.

Disclosure to Parents

Disclosure to parents if the student is a dependent for IRS tax purposes.

Disclosure In Case of Emergency

Disclosure to appropriate individuals (e.g., parents/guardians, spouses, housing staff, health care personnel, police, etc.) where disclosure is in connection with a health or safety emergency and knowledge of such information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals.

Disclosure for Lawful Compliance

Disclosure to comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena.

Disclosure to a parent or legal guardian of a student, information 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 a controlled substance if the university has determined 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/guardian.

Disclosure to a victim of an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense.  The disclosure may only include the final results of the disciplinary proceeding with respect to that alleged crime or offense, regardless of the finding.

Disclosure to the general public the final results of a disciplinary proceeding 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.

Disclosure concerning sex offenders and other individuals required to register under section 17010 of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994.

Disclosure 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 that are responsible for supervising the university’s state-supported education programs. Disclosures under this provision may be made in connection with an audit or evaluation of federal-supported 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 personally identifiable information 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.

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, FERPA regulations require the institution to record the disclosure. Eligible students have a right to inspect and review the record of disclosures.

2 – Inspect and Review Education Record

An eligible student has the right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days after the day George Fox University receives a request for access. A student should submit to the registrar a written request that identifies the record(s) the student wishes to inspect. The registrar will arrange for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.

Students may not inspect and review the following as outlined by the Act:

  • Financial information submitted by their parents
  • Confidential letters and recommendations associated with admission, employment, or job placement
  • Honors to which they have waived their rights of inspection and review
  • Education records containing information about more than one student, in which case the institution permits access only to that part of the record that pertains to the inquiring student

3 – Request Amendment of Education Record

An eligible student has the right to request the amendment of any part of the student’s education record that the student believes is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA.

To request amendment of an education record, a student should complete the amendment request form available in the registrar’s office.  The school will notify the student of the outcome in writing.  If the school decides not to amend the record as requested, the student has the right to request a hearing regarding the request for amendment.

4 – File a Complaint

An eligible student has the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by George Fox to comply with the requirements of FERPA.

The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA is:

Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202

Complaints must:

  • Be timely submitted, not later than 180 days from the date you learned of the circumstances of the alleged violation
  • Contain specific allegations of fact giving reasonable cause to believe that a violation has occurred, including:
    • Relevant dates, such as the date of a request or a disclosure and the date the student learned of the alleged violation
    • Names and titles of those school officials and other third parties involved
    • A specific description of the education record around which the alleged violation occurred
    • A description of any contact with school officials regarding the matter, including dates and estimated times of telephone calls and/or copies of any correspondence exchanged between the student and the school regarding the matter
    • The name and address of the school, school district, and superintendent of the district

Any additional evidence that would be helpful in the consideration of the complaint