FERPA is the acronym for the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Originally
enacted in 1974 as part of a bill extending the Elementary and Secondary Education
Act of 1965, it has been amended over the years since. FERPA was enacted as a series
of civil rights legislation, designed to assert and protect the rights of students
and their parents. Its primary purpose was two-fold: to assure parents of students’
access to their education records and to protect such individuals’ rights to privacy
by limiting the transferability of their records without their consent.
Yes. Austin Peay State University is permitted to disclose information from education
records to parents if a health or safety emergency involves their son or daughter.
Yes. APSU is permitted to inform parents of students under the age of 21 of any violation
of law or policy concerning the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance.
Austin Peay may disclose information from “law enforcement unit records” to anyone
—including parents or federal, State, or local law enforcement authorities — without
the consent of the eligible student. Many colleges and universities have their own
campus security units, just as Austin Peay State University does. Records created
and maintained by these units for law enforcement purposes are exempt from the privacy
restrictions of FERPA and can be shared with anyone.
Under FERPA, schools may release any and all information to parents, without the consent
of the eligible student, if the student is a dependent for tax purposes under the
IRS rules or if the student voluntarily provides the University with a waiver providing
parents access to educational records.
Nothing in FERPA prohibits a school official from sharing with parents information
that is based on that official’s personal knowledge or observation and that is not
based on information contained in an education record. Therefore, FERPA would not
prohibit a professor or other school official from letting a parent know of his or
her concern about the student based on his or her personal knowledge or observation.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a law passed
by Congress intended to establish transaction, security, privacy and other standards
to address concerns about the electronic exchange of health information. However,
the HIPAA Privacy Rule excludes from its coverage those records that are protected
by FERPA at school districts and postsecondary institutions that provide health or
medical services for students. This is because Congress specifically addressed how
education records should be protected under FERPA. For this reason, records that are
protected by FERPA are not subject to the HIPAA Privacy Rule and may be shared with
parents under the circumstances described above.
The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days of
the day the University receives a request for access. Students should submit to the Registrar, dean, head of the academic department or
other appropriate official, a written request that identifies the record(s) they wish
to inspect. The University official will make arrangements for access and notify the
student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are
not maintained by the University official to whom the request was submitted, that
official shall refer the student to the correct official to whom the request should
The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student
deems inaccurate or misleading. Students may ask the University to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate
or misleading. They 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 University will notify the student of the decision and advise the student
of his or her right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information
regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of
the right to a hearing.
The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained
in the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure
without consent. One exception which permits disclosure without consent is 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 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 serving on the Board of Trustees; or 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. Upon request, the University discloses education
records without consent to officials of another school in which a student seeks or
intends to enroll.
The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged
failures by Austin Peay State University to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is: Family Policy Compliance
Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20202.
Directory information concerning students is treated as public information and is
released to the public unless otherwise requested by the student. “Directory information”
includes the following: the student’s name, address, telephone listing, date and place
of birth, major field of study, participation in officially recognized activities
and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, the
most recent previous educational agency or institution attended by the student, and
degrees and awards received by a student. The University provides each student the
opportunity to restrict disclosure of the designated directory information. The student
will be given this opportunity at the beginning of each academic term. (Forms may be obtained from the Office of the Registrar.)
A student’s right of access to his or her education records includes the right to
inspect and review the content of such and obtain copies thereof at a reasonable cost
within 45 days of requesting them. The right of access of a student does not include
Financial records of the parents of the student or any information contained therein;
Confidential letters and statements or recommendations concerning admission, employment
or the receipt of an honor, which were placed in the records prior to Jan. 1, 1975,
or concerning which the student has signed a waiver of access;
Administrative and educational personnel records ancillary thereto, which are in the
sole possession of the maker thereof and which are not accessible to any person except
Records of law enforcement officials;
Records relating exclusively to a person’s employment at the institution when the
person is not in attendance as a student of the institution; and
Records maintained by professional or paraprofessional health-related personnel which
are made in connection with the provision of treatment of a student and not available
to persons other than the health-related personnel. Information concerning educational
records which is personally identifiable with a particular student, other than directory
information, shall not be released to persons, agencies or organizations other than
those hereinafter described unless:
There is written consent from the student specifying the records to be released, the
reason for the release and to whom the information is to be released, with a copy
to the student, if requested, or
Such information is furnished in compliance with a judicial order or a subpoena, provided
that advance notice of the receipt of the order of subpoena shall be provided to the
student prior to compliance if possible. Personally identifiable education records
may be released to other school officials of the institution, including members of
the faculty, who have legitimate educational interests.
Anyone enrolling at Austin Peay State University is entitled to all rights granted
to him/her by the Constitution of the United States and is entitled to the full protection
of the law. Apart from those rights and duties enjoyed by nonstudents, enrollment
in the University carries with it special privileges and imposes special responsibilities.
The University has established regulations and certain due process procedures essential
to an atmosphere of mutual respect which is sensitive to rights of all individuals.
The APSU policies listed below can be found at www.apsu.edu/policy. If you have questions, please contact the Student Affairs office at 931-221-7341.
These rights and responsibilities follow:
Students have the right to enjoy the educational opportunities afforded by the University
without discrimination because of age, race, sex, sexual orientation, disability,
veterans status or national origin.
Students are entitled to the right of due process as provided and explained by the
University’s Code of Student Conduct.
Students are entitled to freedom from unreasonable search and/or seizure regarding
their person, their residence and their personal property.
Students have a right to privacy, including the maintenance of confidential records
in accordance with the provision of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
as amended and as qualified by the Tennessee Public Records Act.
Students have the right of access to campus crime statistics and graduation rates,
as defined by the Student Right-to-Know and Campus Security Act, as amended.
Students have the right to affiliate with officially registered student organizations
if the membership requirements of those organizations have been met and the right
to establish through official procedures additional student organizations of their
Students have the right to participate in University governance through the Student
Government Association, student organizations and representation on University committees.
Students have a right to peaceably assemble in accordance with federal, state, local
and Austin Peay State University regulations.
Students have the right of access to the University campus and facilities.
Students have the right to expect:
A campus environment conducive to learning and working that is free of any racial,
sexual or other form of harassment;
A drug-free University environment;
Accurate information concerning institutional services, regulations, policies and
procedures in published form;
Sound and accurate academic advice, including such matters as courses required for
graduation, course and program prerequisites and course sequence;
Reasonable notice of any changes in academic requirements for programs and assurance
that such changes will not be made in a way that unduly impedes the academic progress
of a student already enrolled;
Flexibility in course scheduling (by dropping and adding) or withdrawing within University
Information about the various types of financial assistance available;
Freedom to evaluate courses, programs and services and provide input to appropriate
segments of the campus administration; and
Classes to meet as scheduled and course and program requirements clearly stated.
Austin Peay State University recognizes that students should, and do, participate
in institutional decision making. Through the advice of the Student Affairs staff
and through Austin Peay State University policies, the University exercises responsibility
in directing student activities and student organizations. The Student Government Association (SGA) is an active and vital organization that serves as a link between the student body
and the administration. The SGA (of which all students are members) addresses student
issues to the Administration on a regular basis and serves as a governing body through
the executive officers, the SGA Senate and the Student Tribunal. The SGA president
recommends student appointments for University standing committees, special committees
and search and selection committees. These recommendations are made through the SGA
adviser and the Vice President for Student Affairs to the President of the University.
The student voice is an active component of the University’s decision-making process.