The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education. FERPA rights are provided only to University applicants upon actual acceptance to and subsequent enrollment for classes at the University. Under FERPA, students attending an institution of postsecondary education may:

A. Consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student's education records, except to the extent that such disclosure are authorized without consent;

B. Choose to suppress (i.e., keep from being disclosed) their directory information per the process identified;

C. Inspect and review their education records;

D. Seek amendment of those education records believed to be inaccurate, misleading or otherwise in violation of their privacy rights; and

E.  File complaints with the Department of Education about alleged failures by the University to comply with the requirements of FERPA.

Valdosta State University may disclose information without consent to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the University has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person, including a student, serving on an official committee, such as disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. 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.

With no attempt to make this list exhaustive, other types of disclosures which do not require prior consent of the student include these:

  • Upon request, to officials of another school in which the student seeks or intends to enroll,
  • To parents of dependent students, as defined in section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986,
  • In case of a health or safety emergency,
  • Results in disciplinary hearings to an alleged victim of a crime of violence,
  • Directory information.

In accordance with FERPA regulations, and as a result of VSU’s concern for the health and development of our students, the Valdosta State University Substance Abuse Task Force recommended the following parental notification policy for drug and or alcohol related conduct code violations.

"In recognition that Valdosta State University students under the age of 21 are striving to become more responsible young adults, it is the recommendation of the Substance Abuse Task Force that the university adopt a policy of notifying parents or guardians of students found responsible for violating established alcohol or drug policies. Notification would take place after a second or subsequent infraction. The task Force concluded that repeated offenses may be indicative of a greater problem, and that it is in the student's best interest if a joint intervention approach is employed, including parent or guardian involvement. It is further recommended that notification be made through the Student Conduct Office.

In keeping with this policy, the Assistant Dean of Students will generate a notification letter or schedule a conference call to the parents or guardians of a student ONLY after he/she has been found responsible for a second or subsequent alcohol or drug code violation. The letter will be mailed or the call made, one week after the disciplinary recommendation is enacted, and all appeals have been finalized. This allows the student an opportunity to discuss the incident with the parent or guardian first. Valdosta State University's hope is the delay will facilitate a follow up discussion between the Student Conduct Office and the parent or guardian(s). 

The full text of Valdosta State University's Procedure on Student Records/Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act may be found at the Registrar Office's "Rights Under FERPA" at http://www.valdosta.edu/registrar/, or the Valdosta State University Policies website at http:// www.valdosta.edu/vsu/policies/  

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