Education records are kept by University offices to facilitate the educational development of students. Faculty and staff members may also keep informal records relating to their functional responsibilities with individual students.
A federal law, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended (FERPA), also known as the Buckley Amendment, affords students certain rights concerning their education records. Students have the right to have some control over the disclosure of information from their records. Educational institutions have the responsibility to prevent improper disclosure of personally identifiable information from the records.
Student and Parents Rights Relating to Education Records
Students have the right to know about the purposes, content, and location of information kept as part of their education records.
They have the right to gain access to and challenge the content of their education records. FERPA was not intended to provide a process to be used to question substantive judgments that are correctly recorded. The right of challenge is not intended to allow students to contest, for example, a grade in a course because they felt a higher grade should have been assigned.
Students also have the right to expect that information in their education records will be kept confidential, disclosed only with their permission or under provisions of the law.
FERPA considers all students independent which limits the education record information that may be released to parents, without the student’s specific written permission, to directory information. Parents have the right, under certain conditions, to gain access to information in the student’s education records. Parents who claimed the student as a dependent on their most recent IRS 1040 are permitted access to the student’s education records.
Some information about students is considered directory information. Directory information may be publically shared by the institution unless the student has taken formal action to restrict its release.
Directory information includes:
- Email (beginning October 15, 2013)
- Program of Study
- Participation in Officially Recognized Activities and Sports
- Appropriate Personal Athletic Statistical Data
- Most Recent Educational Institution Attended
- Date of Attendance
- Degrees and Awarded Received (including dates)
- Enrollment Status (full/part-time)
- Class Level
- Date of Birth
Students may elect to suppress their Directory Information by going to the Self Service Center in MaineStreet. Under the “Personal Information” section is a drop down box with the words “other personal…”. From this drop down box the student should select “Privacy Settings” and then click on the “go” button (>>). A new screen will appear with FERPA information and a pair of radio buttons. Selecting the button “Do not release any directory information” will suppress all directory information until the student decides otherwise. The University assumes that the student does not object to the release of the Directory Information unless the student changes their privacy settings.
Release of Non-Directory Information
There are forms that the University has created to grant access to a student’s educational record; this form supersedes the suppression of Directory Information.
The Student Consent to Release Information (PDF). This form allows students to give access to their educational records to specific individuals. This access remains in effect until the student revokes permission in writing.
Once the Registrar’s Office receives the completed form, the information will be documented in MaineStreet (Peoplesoft) in the Service Indicator module.
Questions should be directed to the Registrar’s Office at (207) 768-9581.
Education records are specifically defined as records, files, documents, and other materials that contain information directly related to a student and maintained by the University or someone acting for the University according to policy.
Excluded from education records are records of instructional, supervisory, and administrative personnel and ancillary educational personnel in the sole possession of the maker and that are not accessible or revealed to any other person, except for a substitute. Additionally, notes of a professor or staff member intended for his or her own use are not part of the education record, nor are records of police services, application records of students not admitted to the University, alumni records, or records of physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, or other recognized professionals.
Records relating to an individual who is employed by the University not as a result of his or her status as a student are also excluded. However, employment records relating to University students who are employed as a result of their status as students are considered education records.
When is Prior Consent Not Required?
The institution may release records without consent, but is not required to do so. Some examples of the exceptions for having a release include:
- “School Officials” with a “legitimate educational interest” / “need to know”; Employees and legal agents have access to education records in order to perform their official, educationally-related duties;
- Companies that the university has a contractual agreement with in order to do tasks normally done at the university (i.e. grading tools as part of textbook agreements):
- Disclosure to another institution where student seeks to enroll or is enrolled;
- Disclosure in connection with the receipt of financial aid (validating eligibility);
- Disclosure to state/local officials in conjunction with legislative requirements;
- Disclosure to organizations conducting studies to improve instruction, or to accrediting organizations;
- Disclosure to parents of dependent studies (IRS definition); FERPA considers all students independent which limits the education record information that may be released to parent, without the student’s specific written permission, to directory information. Parents have the right, under certain conditions, to gain access to information in their student’s education records. Parents who claimed the student as a dependent on their most recent IRS 1040 are permitted access to the student’s education records.
- To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena;
- Disclosure for a health/safety emergency; and Disclosure of directory information
- Disciplinary information (Warner Amendment):
- Disclosure to the alleged victim, information from disciplinary proceedings;
- Only when found in violation, and only for crimes of violence-release of name, sanction and outcome (public information); and
- Disclosure to parents of any student under the age of 21, a violation of federal, state, local or institutional laws/regulation related to substance abuse (Foley Amendment).