FERPA Guidelines

Confidentiality of Student Educational Records

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 student who is 18 years of age or older or who attends a postsecondary institution at any age. These rights include:

  1. The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days after the day Providence College (the “College”) receives a request for access. A student should submit to the Office of the Registrar (the “Registrar”), Harkins Hall 310, a written request that identifies the record(s) the student wishes to inspect. The Registrar 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 Registrar to whom the request was submitted, the Registrar shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
  2. The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA.
    A student who wishes to ask the College to amend a record should write to the Registrar, 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 the student’s 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.
  3. The right to provide written consent before the College discloses personally identifiable information (PII) from the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
    If an eligible student wishes to authorize disclosure of confidential information to parents/guardians or any other designated individual, institution, or entity, a FERPA Release Form must be filed with the Registrar. Once the appropriate written authorization by the student is received by the Registrar, designated individuals may be informed of the student’s status at the College with respect to grades, academic standing, and financial obligations; this authorization remains in effect for as long as the eligible student is enrolled at the College. If at any time after submission of the form, the student wishes to revoke consent or modify the list of individuals, institutions, or entities authorized to receive confidential information, a new authorization form must be completed and submitted to the Registrar.
  4. 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:
    Student Privacy Policy Office
    U.S. Department of Education 400 Maryland Avenue,
    SW Washington, DC 20202
  5. FERPA permits the disclosure of PII from students’ education records, without consent of the student, if the disclosure meets certain conditions found in § 99.31 of the FERPA regulations. 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, § 99.32 of FERPA regulations requires the College to record the disclosure. Eligible students have a right to inspect and review the record of disclosures. The College may disclose PII from the education records without obtaining prior written consent of the student:
  • To other school officials, including teachers, within the College whom the school has determined to have legitimate educational interests. This includes contractors, consultants, volunteers, or other parties to whom the school has outsourced institutional services or functions, provided that the conditions listed in § 99.31(a)(1)(i)(B)(1) – (a)(1)(i)(B)(3) are met. (§ 99.31(a)(1))
    • The College 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” typically includes a person employed by the College in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person serving on the board of trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee. A school official also may include a volunteer or contractor outside of the College who performs an institutional service of function for which the College would otherwise use its own employees and who is under the direct control of the College with respect to the use and maintenance of PII from education records, such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent or a student volunteering to assist another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official typically has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities for the College.
    • 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, subject to the requirements of § 99.34. (§ 99.31(a)(2))
    • “Legitimate educational interests” include performing a task or engaging in an activity related to (i) one’s regular duties or professional responsibilities, (ii) a student’s education, (iii) the discipline of a student, (iv) a service to or benefit for a student, (v) measures to support student success, and (vi) the safety and security of the campus. 
    • Upon request, the College also discloses education records, including disciplinary records, without consent to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
    • 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, such as a State postsecondary authority that is responsible for supervising the university’s State-supported education programs. Disclosures under this provision may be made, subject to the requirements of §99.35, in connection with an audit or evaluation of Federal- 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 PII 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. (§§ 99.31(a)(3) and 99.35)
  • 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. (§ 99.31(a)(4))
  • To organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, the school, in order to: (a) develop, validate, or administer predictive tests; (b) administer student aid programs; or (c) improve instruction. (§ 99.31(a)(6))
  • To accrediting organizations to carry out their accrediting functions. (§ 99.31(a)(7))
  • To parents of an eligible student if the student is a dependent for IRS tax purposes. (§ 99.31(a)(8))
  • To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena. (§ 99.31(a)(9))
  • To appropriate officials in connection with a health or safety emergency, subject to § 99.36. (§ 99.31(a)(10))
  • Information the school has designated as “directory information” under § 99.37. (§ 99.31(a)(11))
    • Directory information is student data not generally considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed; the College, at its discretion may release directory information, which is limited to the following: name, address (local and permanent), telephone listing (local and permanent), e-mail address, date and place of birth, major field of study, class year, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, height/weight of members of athletic teams, enrollment status, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, photographs, and previous education institutions attended.
    • An eligible student may, to the extent permitted by FERPA, block the release of directory information by filing timely, written notice with the Registrar.
  • To a victim of an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense, subject to the requirements of § 99.39. The disclosure may only include the final results of the disciplinary proceeding with respect to that alleged crime or offense, regardless of the finding. (§ 99.31(a)(13))
  • To the general public, the final results of a disciplinary proceeding, subject to the requirements of § 99.39, 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. (§ 99.31(a)(14))
    • The College is permitted to disclose to anyone the final results of a disciplinary proceeding conducted against a student who is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense if is determined that the student committed a violation of the College’s own rules or policies with respect to such crime or offense. In any disciplinary proceeding alleging a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense, both the accuser and the accused will be informed of the final results and any sanction imposed against the accused.
  • To parents of a student regarding the student’s violation of any Federal, State, or local law, or of any rule or policy of the school, governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance if the school determines the student committed a disciplinary violation and the student is under the age of 21. (§99.31(a)(15))
    • The College is permitted, with or without an eligible student’s consent, to inform parents when their student has violated any law of College policy regarding the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance if the student is not yet twenty-one (21) years of age.

6. The following are not considered educational records under FERPA:

  • A personal record kept by a faculty or staff member of the College, if it is kept in the sole possession of the maker of the record, is not accessible or revealed to any other person except a temporary substitute for the maker of the record, and is not used for purposes other than a memory or reference tool
  • Grades on peer-graded tests or assignments before they are collected and recorded by a faculty member
  • A record created and maintained by the Office of Public Safety for law enforcement purposes
  • An employment record of a person whose employment is not contingent on the fact that he or she is a student
  • A record made or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist or other recognized professional or paraprofessional if the records are used only for treatment of a student and made available only to those persons providing the treatment
  • An alumni record that contains information about a student after he or she is no longer in attendance at the College and that does not related to the person as a student

Revised: 09/12/2023