Owner: Senior Vice President and Chief Academic Officer
UMGC complies with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act ("FERPA") (also known as "the Buckley Amendment") which protects the privacy of education records. In accordance with FERPA, this Policy informs students of their rights to:
Inspect and review their education records;
Seek an amendment of their education records, where appropriate;
Limit disclosure to others of personally identifiable information from education records without the student's prior written consent; and
File formal complaints alleging a violation of FERPA with the Department of Education.
"Student" is an individual who is attending or who has attended UMGC. A student does not include an applicant for admission to UMGC who does not matriculate, even if he or she previously attended UMGC.
"Education records" are records that contain information directly related to a student that are maintained by UMGC or by a third party on behalf of UMGC. The following records are not education records:
Campus police or security ("law enforcement unit") records maintained solely for law enforcement purposes and maintained by that law enforcement unit.
Employment records, except where a currently enrolled student is employed as a result of his or her status as a student.
Records of a physician, psychologist, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional if made or used only for treatment purposes and available only to persons providing treatment.
Records that contain only information relating to a person's activities after that person is no longer a student at UMGC.
Inspection and Review of Education Records by Students
Right of Access
Each student has a right of access to his or her education records, except financial records of the student's parents and confidential letters of recommendation received prior to January 1, 1975.
A student may, by a signed writing, waive his or her right of access to confidential recommendations in three areas: admission to any educational institution, job placement, and receipt of honors and awards. UMGC will not require such waivers as a condition for admission or receipt of any service or benefit normally provided to students. If the student chooses to waive his or her right of access, he or she will be notified, upon written request, of the names of all persons making confidential recommendations. Such recommendations will be used only for the purpose for which they were specifically intended. A waiver may be revoked in writing at any time; and the revocation will apply to all subsequent recommendations, but not to recommendations received while the waiver was in effect.
Custodian of Education Records - The custodian of education records is the Vice President, Academic Operations.
Procedure to Request Review and/or Inspection of Education Records - Requests for review and/or inspection of education records should be made in writing to the appropriate custodian of records, as defined above. The custodian of records or designee will comply with a request for access within a reasonable time by arranging for the student to review his or her records in the presence of a staff member. If facilities permit, a student may obtain copies of his or her records by paying reproduction costs. The fee for copies is 50 cents per page. UMGC will not provide copies of any transcripts in the student's records other than the student's current UMGC transcript. Official transcripts (with the seal of UMGC) will be provided for a separate fee.
Amendment of Education Records – Students may request an amendment of their education records in accordance with this procedure:
Request to Amend Education Records A student who believes that his or her education records is inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the student's rights of privacy may ask the custodian of the education records to amend the record. The custodian of the education records or designee will decide whether to amend the record within a reasonable time after the request. If the custodian of the education records or designee decides not to amend the record, he or she will inform the student of the right to a hearing.
A student may submit a written request for a hearing to challenge the content of his or her education records to the Vice President, Academic Operations. The written request must state what records the student believes are inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the privacy rights of the student.
A hearing will be conducted by the Vice President, Academic Operations or designee. The hearing may take place via telephone or video conferencing. The student will be given an opportunity to present evidence relevant to the issues raised and may be assisted or represented by individuals of his or her choice at his or her own expense, including an attorney.
Within a reasonable period of time after the conclusion of a hearing, the Vice President, Academic Operations will notify the student in writing of his decision. The written decision will include a summary of the evidence and the reasons for the decision.
If the Vice President, Academic Operations determines that the education record is inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the privacy of the student, the education records will be amended. The Vice President, Academic Operations will inform the student of the amendment in writing.
If, as a result of the hearing, the Vice President, Academic Operations decides that the education record is not inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the privacy rights of the student, he will inform the student of the right to place a statement in the record commenting on the contested information in the record or stating why he or she disagrees with the decision of the agency or institution, or both. Any such explanation will be kept as part of the student's record as long as the contested portion of the record is kept and will be disclosed whenever the contested portion of the record is disclosed.
Disclosures – UMGC will not disclose education records or the personally identifiable information contained therein unless permitted by FERPA and under the following circumstances:
Prior Written Consent - The Custodian of the Records will provide the education records or personally identifiable information contained therein if the student provides prior written consent that the information may be disclosed. The consent must:
Specify the records that may be disclosed;
State the purpose for the disclosure;
Identify to whom the disclosure is to be made; and
Be signed and dated by the student.
At the student's request and expense, a copy of the records disclosed will be provided to the student.
UMGC designates the following categories of information as directory information:
Major field of study;
Dates of attendance;
Degrees and awards received;
Previous educational institution most recently attended; and
Directory information may be disclosed in the absence of consent unless the student files a written notice, within three weeks of the first day in which the student is enrolled, informing UMGC not to disclose any or all of the categories. To prevent automatic disclosure of directory information, this notice must be filed annually within the time allotted above, with the appropriate custodian of the education records, as defined in this Policy.
Additional Disclosures without Prior Consent - Prior consent is not required for disclosure of education records or the personally identifiable information contained therein in the following circumstances:
The disclosure is to other school officials generally within the University System of Maryland or UMGC who have legitimate educational interests.
"School officials" include:
internal and external instructional or administrative personnel who are or may be in a position to use the information in furtherance of a legitimate educational objective, such as to provide student services or to pursue a debt owed to UMGC. This includes, but is not limited to, faculty, staff members, and security personnel.
a contractor, consultant, volunteer, or other party to whom UMGC has outsourced institutional services or functions instead of employees while under the director control of UMGC. The contractor, consultant, volunteer, or other party will not redisclose personally identifiable information and will destroy the information when it is no longer needed for those purposes.
"Legitimate educational interests" include interests directly related to the academic environment.
The disclosure is to officials of other schools in which a student seeks to enroll or is enrolled, for purposes related to the student's enrollment or transfer. Upon his or her request and at his or her expense, the student is provided with a copy of the records that have been transferred.
The disclosure is to authorized representatives of the Comptroller General of the United States, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education, or state or local educational authorities.
The disclosure is to authorized persons and organizations in connection with a student's application for, or receipt of, financial aid, but only to the extent necessary for such purposes as determining eligibility, amount, conditions, and enforcement of terms and conditions.
The disclosure is to State and local officials to whom, according to effective state law adopted prior to November 19, 1974, such information is specifically required to be reported.
The disclosure is to organizations conducting educational studies for the purpose of developing, validating, or administering predictive tests, administering student aid programs, and improving instruction, pursuant to a written agreement. The studies shall be conducted so as not to permit personal identification of students or parents to individuals other than the representatives of the organization conducting the study who have legitimate interests in the information, and the information is destroyed or returned to UMGC when it is no longer needed for those purposes.
The disclosure is to accrediting organizations for purposes necessary to carry out their functions.
The disclosure is to the parent of a student who is dependent for income tax purposes. (Note: UMGC will require documentation of dependent status, such as copies of income tax forms.) The disclosure is to comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena. Unless expressly prohibited by the subpoena, UMGC will make a reasonable effort to notify the student or parent of the order or subpoena in advance of compliance in order to give them time to seek protective action, unless:
the subpoena is issued by a Federal grand jury and the court ordered that the existence or contents of the subpoena or the information furnished in response to the subpoena not be disclosed, or
the subpoena is issued for a law enforcement purpose and the court or other issuing agency has ordered that the existence or contents of the subpoena or the information furnished in response to the subpoena not be disclosed.
The disclosure is to comply with an ex parte order obtained by the United States Attorney General (or designee not lower than an Assistant Attorney General) concerning investigations or prosecutions of an offense listed in 18 U.S.C. 2332b(g)(5)(B) or an act of domestic or international terrorism as defined in 18 U.S.C. 2331.
The disclosure is in connection with a health or safety emergency to protect the health or safety of a student or other individuals.
The disclosure is to an alleged victim of any crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense, of the results of any disciplinary proceeding conducted by UMGC against the alleged perpetrator of that crime or offense with respect to that crime or offense.
The disclosure is to an alleged victim of any crime of violence of the results of any disciplinary proceeding conducted by UMGC against the alleged perpetrator of that crime with respect to that crime.
The disclosure concerns sex offenders and other individuals required to register under 42 U.S.C. 14071 and the information was provided to UMGC under that federal law or applicable federal regulations.
Record of Disclosures –
UMGC maintains with the student's education records a record of each request and each disclosure, except for:
Disclosures to the student himself or herself.
Disclosures made pursuant to the written consent of the student (the written consent itself suffices as a record).
Disclosures to USM instructional or administrative officials
Disclosures of directory information. This record of disclosures may be inspected by the student, the official custodian of the records, and other officials of UMGC and governmental officials.
When information from an education record is disclosed pursuant to a health or safety emergency, UMGC will maintain a record with the following additional information:
The articulable and significant threat to the health or safety of a student or other individuals that formed the basis for the disclosure, and
The parties to whom UMGC disclosed the information.
Right to File Complaint
A student alleging that UMGC has not complied with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) may file a student grievance in accordance with UMGC's Student Grievance Procedures (Policy 130.70) or submit a written complaint to:
Family Policy Compliance Office U.S. Department of Education 400 Maryland Avenue, SW Washington, DC 20202-4605
|Original Policy Approval Date||8/5/2005|
|Substantive Revision Dates||1/30/2009|
|Technical Amendment Dates||4/17/2020|