The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law designed to protect the privacy of a student’s educational records. Because Omega is a post-secondary educational institution, the rights described in FERPA belong to the students rather than their parents. The term “student” as used in the following FERPA policy applies to currently enrolled students and former Omega students who were accepted, began attending classes, and either graduated, withdrew or did not graduate.
Questions about FERPA or FERPA rights should be addressed to the Director of Administration.
Students are notified of their FERPA rights by publication of this policy in the student handbook.
STUDENT RIGHTS UNDER FERPA
Students have the right to Inspect and review their educational records
The procedure to inspect and review educational records is outlined below.
Request amendment of their educational records
Students may ask the school to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. They may submit a written request for amendment of their record(s) to the Director of Administration, specifying why they believe the record is inaccurate or misleading. The Director of Administration will notify the student of the decision made on the request for amendment.
Consent to disclosure of their educational records
The exceptions to disclosure of student records only with written consent are noted below.
File a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education
Individuals who have questions about FERPA or who wish to file a complaint should contact:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
600 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20202-4605
PROCEDURE TO INSPECT EDUCATION RECORDS
Students should submit to the Director of Administration a written request which identifies as precisely as possible the record or records he or she wishes to inspect. The Director of Administration will make the needed arrangements for access promptly and notify the student in writing of the time and place where the records may be inspected. Access will be given in 30 calendar days or less from the 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.
REFUSAL TO PROVIDE COPIES
Omega reserves the right to deny transcripts or copies of records not required to be made available by the FERPA in any of the following situations:
- The student has an unpaid financial obligation to the institution.
- The student, after ceasing to attend Omega, has defaulted on a Federal Stafford Loan (Subsidized or Unsubsidized) or other federal loan.
- There is an unresolved disciplinary action against the student.
DISCLOSURE OF EDUCATION RECORDS
Omega will disclose information from a student’s education records only with the written consent of the student, EXCEPT:
- To school officials who have a legitimate educational interest in the records.
A school official is:
- a person employed by Omega in an administrative, supervisory, academic research or support staff position.
- a person employed by or under contract to the institution to perform a special task, such as an attorney, auditor or consultant.
A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official is:
- performing a task that is specified in his or her position description or by a contract agreement.
- 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 or financial aid.
- To officials of another school, upon request, in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
- To certain officials of the U.S. Department of Education, the Comptroller General, and state and local educational authorities in conjunction with an audit, review or evaluation of compliance with education programs.
- In connection with a student’s request for or receipt of financial aid, as necessary to determine the eligibility, amount or conditions of the financial aid, or to enforce the terms and conditions of the aid.
- If required by a state law requiring disclosure that was adopted before November 19, 1974.
- To organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school.
- To accrediting organizations to carry out their functions.
- To comply with a judicial order or a lawfully issued subpoena.
- To appropriate parties in a health or safety emergency.
- The records of a disciplinary proceeding conducted by Omega against an alleged perpetrator of a violent crime will be disclosed to the alleged victim of that crime without the written consent of the alleged perpetrator.
- To parties requesting directory information, if a student has not provided a written request for the non-disclosure of such information.
Omega designates the following items as Directory Information: Student name, curricula and program of study, participation in officially recognized activities, dates of attendance, certificates and awards received, and most recent previous school attended. Omega may disclose any of these items without the student’s prior written consent. If a student wishes that the institution should not release all or any of the above information, he or she may so inform the Director of Administration’s office in writing, by the tenth calendar day following the start of his or her classes.
CORRECTION OF EDUCATION RECORDS
A student has the right to ask to have records corrected that he/she believes are inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of his/her privacy rights. The following are the procedures for the correction of records:
- A student must ask the Director of Administration to amend a record. In so doing, the student must identify the part of the record to be changed and specify why it is inaccurate, misleading or in violation of his or her privacy or other rights.
- Omega may or may not comply with the request. If it decides not to comply, Omega 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 rights.
- Upon request, Omega will arrange for a hearing. The student will be notified in advance of the date, place, and time of the hearing.
- The hearing will be conducted by a hearing officer who is a disinterested party; however, the hearing officer may be an official of the institution. The student shall be afforded a full and fair opportunity to present evidence relevant to the issues raised in the original request to amend his/her educational records. The student may be assisted by one or more individuals, including an attorney.
- Within a reasonable period of time following the hearing, Omega 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.
- If Omega decides that the challenged information is not inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the student’s right to privacy, it will notify the student that he/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.
- The statement will be maintained as part of the student’s education records as long as the contested portion is maintained. If Omega discloses the contested portion of the record, it must also disclose the student’s statement.
- If Omega decides that the information is inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the student’s right to privacy, it will amend the record and notify the student, in writing, that the record has been amended.