FERPA Policy

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974
In accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, popularly known as the “Buckley Amendment” and carrying the acronym “FERPA,” PLU has adopted the following policies and procedures. This policy was designed to protect the privacy of education records, to establish the right of students to inspect and review their education records, and to provide guidelines for the correction of inaccurate or misleading data through informal and formal hearings. This is a notice of students’ basic rights under the law, and explains certain procedures for PLU’s full compliance with the law.

Pacific Lutheran University uses the following definitions in this policy:

Student: any person who attends or has attended PLU.

Education Records: any record maintained by the university that is directly related to a student, with the following exceptions:
1.  Personal records maintained by university employees which are in the sole possession of the maker and are not accessible or revealed to any other person except a temporary substitute;
2.  Employment records unless the employment records are contingent on the fact that the employee is a student;
3.  Records maintained by Campus Safety solely for law enforcement purposes;
4.  Medical treatment records – records created and maintained by the Health Center and Counseling Center (health records may be reviewed by a physician or psychologist of the student’s choosing). These are maintained under the provisions of the Washington Administrative Code;
5.  Pastoral counseling records maintained by the University Pastors; and
6.  Alumni records containing information about a student after he/she is no longer attending the university, and which do not relate to the person as a student.

Annual Notification to Currently Enrolled Students
Enrolled students will be notified of their FERPA rights annually via email and by publication of the PLU FERPA Policy on the Registrar’s Office website.

The following is a list of the types of education records that Pacific Lutheran University maintains, their locations, and their custodians.

Admission and Academic Records
Office of the Registrar, Hauge Administration 130

Advising and Progress Records
Center for Student Success, Mortvedt Library
Executive Director for the Center for Student Success

Physical/Learning Disability Records
Disability Support Services, University Center 300
Director/Disability Support Services

Disciplinary & Student Rights and Responsibilities Records
Nesvig Alumni House
Associate Director for Student Rights and Responsibilities

Student Financial Records
Student Financial Services Office, Hauge Administration 102
Director of Student Financial Services

Students may inspect and review their education records upon request to the appropriate record custodian. Students should complete the Request to Review Records form, available in the Registrar’s Office, identifying as precisely as possible the records they wish to inspect. The custodian will arrange for access as promptly as possible and will notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected and/or copied. Access will be allowed no more than 45 days after receipt of the written request. When a record contains information about more than one student, access will be given only to entries directly related to the student making the request.

Pacific Lutheran University reserves the right to refuse to permit a student to inspect the following records:
1.  The financial statement(s) of the student’s parents.
2.  Letters and statements of recommendation for which the student has waived his or her right of access, or which were placed in the file before January 1, 1975.
3.  Records connected with an application to attend Pacific Lutheran University if that application was denied.
4.  Education records containing information about more than one student, in which case the university will permit access only to that part of the record that pertains to the inquiring student. (May seek release from other student(s) to reveal record.)
5.  Those records which are excluded from the FERPA definition of education records.

Fees for Copies of Records
The fee for an official PLU transcript of the student’s permanent academic record is $10-$15 per copy plus processing fee.

Right of the University to Refuse to Provide Copies
Pacific Lutheran University reserves the right to deny official transcripts and/or copies of other educational records (not required to be made available under FERPA) if the student has an overdue financial obligation to the university, or if there is an unresolved disciplinary or academic dishonesty action against the student.

Pacific Lutheran University will disclose to third parties information from a student’s education records only with the written consent of the student, except:

1. To school officials who have a legitimate educational interest in the records. A school official is:
a. A person employed by the university in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, support and staff position (including student safety officers and student workers);
b. A person elected to the Board of Regents;
c. A contractor, consultant, volunteer, or other party to whom an agency or institution has outsourced institutional services or functions, provided that the outside party meets certain FERPA-related criteria.

A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official is:
a. Performing a task that is specific in his or her job description or by a contract agreement; or
b. Performing a task related to a student’s education; or
c. Performing a task related to the discipline of a student; or
d. Providing a service or benefit relating to the student or student’s family, such as health care, counseling, job placement, financial aid, or writing letters of recommendation.

2. To officials of another school, upon request, in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.

3. To certain officials of the US Department of Education, the Comptroller General, and state and local educational authorities, in connection with certain state or federally supported education programs.

4. 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.

5. If required by a state law requiring disclosure that was adopted before November 19, 1974.

6. To organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the university.

7. To accrediting organizations to carry out their functions.

8. To parents who claim the student as a dependent for income tax purposes.

9. To comply with a judicial order or a lawfully issued subpoena.

10. To appropriate parties in a health or safety emergency.

11. To an alleged victim of any serious act of violence, disclosure will be limited to the decision of any institutional disciplinary proceeding against the alleged perpetrator.

Record of Requests for Disclosure
Pacific Lutheran University will maintain a record of all requests for and/or disclosure of information from a student’s education records. The record will indicate the name of the party making the request, any additional party to whom it may be re-disclosed, and the legitimate interest the party had in requesting or obtaining the information. The parent(s) and/ or eligible student may review the record.

Pacific Lutheran University has designated the following items as directory information (available to the public): student name, local and permanent addresses and telephone numbers, E-mail address, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, photo, weight, height and hometown of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, class standing, previous educational agency or institution(s) attended, major and minor fields of study, anticipated date of graduation (if that has not yet occurred), and degree(s) and award(s) conferred (including dates). The university may disclose any of those items without prior written consent unless notified in writing to the contrary to the Office of the Registrar.

A student who believes that information contained in her/his education records is inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of privacy rights may request in writing that the office, which contains those records, amend them. A student should identify the part of the record she/he wants changed and specify why it is believed to be inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of privacy rights.

That office will reach a decision and inform the student within a reasonable amount of time after receiving the request. If the records custodian refuses to amend the record, the student has the right to a hearing. A hearing officer appointed by the Provost, Vice President for Finance & Administration, or Vice President for Student Life will conduct this hearing. The hearing officer will be someone who does not have a direct interest in the outcome of the hearing, but may be an official of the university. The hearing will be held within a reasonable amount of time after it is requested. The hearing officer will notify the student, reasonably in advance, of the date, place, and time of the hearing.

The student will be afforded a full and fair opportunity to present evidence relevant to the issue raised. One or more other persons, including an attorney, may accompany the student. The hearing officer will make a decision in writing based on the evidence presented at the hearing. The decision will include a summary of the evidence presented and the reasons for the decision. If the hearing officer supports the complaint, the education record will be amended accordingly, and the student will be so informed. If the hearing officer decides not to amend the education record, a student has the right to place in the education records a statement commenting on the challenged information and/or stating the reasons for disagreeing with the decision. This statement will be maintained as part of the education record as long as the contested portion is maintained, and whenever a copy of the education record is sent to any party, the student’s statement will be included.

Pacific Lutheran University’s policy statement implementing FERPA is maintained by, and available for review in the Office of the Registrar, Hauge Administration Building, Room 130. Students should address questions, concerns, or problems to the Registrar’s Office. Students may file complaints regarding alleged failure of the university to comply with FERPA with The Family Policy Compliance Office, US Department of Education, 600 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20202-4605; (202) 260-3887, FAX: (202) 260-9001.