Student Privacy/FERPA

Bethel University is subject to the provisions of federal law known as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (also referred to as the Buckley Amendment or FERPA). This act affords matriculated students certain rights with respect to their educational records. These rights include:

1. The right to inspect and review their education records within 45 days of the day the University receives a request for access. Students should submit to the University Registrar written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The University Registrar will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the University Registrar does not maintain the records, the student will be directed to the university official to whom the request should be addressed.

2. The right to request the amendment of any part of their education records that a student believes is inaccurate or misleading. Students who wish to request an amendment to their educational record should write the University official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the University decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the student will be notified of the decision and advised of his or her right to a hearing.

3. The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records to third parties, except in situations that FERPA allows disclosure without the student’s consent. These exceptions included:

  • Disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A “school official” is a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position (including University law enforcement personnel and health staff); contractors, consultants, and other outside service providers with whom the university has contracted; a member of the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official University committee. 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 responsibility.
  • To parents if the student is a dependent for tax purposes.
  • 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.
  • Information to a parent or legal guardian of a student 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 twenty-one at the time of the disclosure to the parent/guardian.

The Buckley Amendment provides the University the ability to designate certain student information as “directory information.” Directory information may be made available to any person without the student’s consent unless the student gives notice as provided for below. Bethel University has designated the following as directory information: the student’s name, addresses, telephone number, e-mail address, student ID photos, date and place of birth, major field of study, school, classification, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weights and heights of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, the most recent previous educational agency or institution attended by the student, and other similar information. Any new entering or currently enrolled student who does not wish disclosure of directory information should notify the University Registrar in writing. No element of directory information as defined above is released for students who request nondisclosure except in situations allowed by law. The request to withhold directory information will remain in effect as long as the student continues to be enrolled, or until the student files a written request with the University Registrar to discontinue the withholding. To continue nondisclosure of directory information after a student ceases to be enrolled, a written request for continuance must be filed with the University Registrar during the student's last term of attendance.

If a student believes the University has failed to comply with the Buckley Amendment they may file a complaint using the Student Complaint and Grievance Procedure. If dissatisfied with the outcome of this procedure, students may file a written complaint with the Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW, Washington, D.C. 20202-8520. Questions about the application of the provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act should be directed to the University Registrar.