The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

It is Wentworth Institute of Technology’s (WIT) policy to limit the dissemination of student information. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records.

Definitions

Directory information - as designated by WIT from the statutory list: name, local address, major field of study, dates of attendance, anticipated graduation date, degrees conferred, Institute-issued e-mail address, enrollment status, honors, past and present participation in officially recognized sports and activities, and physical factors of members of athletic teams.

Education records - any record (in handwriting, print, tapes, film, electronic, or other medium) maintained by WIT or an agent of WIT that is directly related to a student, except:

  1. A personal record in the sole possession of the maker of the record and is not accessible or revealed to any other person except as temporary substitute for the maker of the record.
  2. An employment record of a person not due to his/her student status, provided the record is used only in relation to the individual's employment.
  3. Records that are created and maintained by Public Safety for law enforcement purposes.
  4. Records made or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist or other recognized professional or paraprofessional acting in his or her professional or paraprofessional capacity and that are used only in connection with the treatment of a student and that are disclosed only to individuals providing that treatment.
  5. Alumni records that contain information about a student after he or she is no longer in attendance at WIT and that do not relate to the person as a student.

Legitimate educational interest - indicates the need of a school official to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility. 

Parent – a person who is the parent of the student, a guardian or an individual acting as a parent in the absence of a parent or guardian.  Parents who have claimed a student as a “dependent” on their federal or state tax return may be entitled to access to student records without the permission of the student.  Court records and/or agreements between the parents of a student will be reviewed to verify parental status and access in some cases.

Personally Identifiable Information – names, parents or other family members’ names, address and address of student or family, personal identifiers information that alone or in combination, is linked to a specific student that would allow a reasonable person in the WIT community to identify the student with reasonable certainty, information requested by a person whom WIT believes knows the identity of the student.

School official - a person employed by WIT in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, law enforcement unit, health and counseling, support staff position, a person or company with whom WIT has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent), a person serving on the Board of Trustees, and a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks.

Student - any person who attends or has attended WIT. Persons admitted but never matriculated are not considered students.

A Student's Rights under FERPA:

(1) The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days of the day WIT receives a request for access.

Students should submit to the Registrar written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The Registrar 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 Registrar, the Registrar shall advise the student to address the request to the appropriate Wentworth official.

A student may read any recommendation in his/her files unless the right to do so has been waived in writing.

The following is a list of the types of education records that WIT maintains; the location(s) of such records; and their custodians (or the custodian's designee):

Education Records

 

Types

Location

Custodian

Academic Records

Office of the Registrar

Registrar

Admissions Files for students currently enrolled or have a history
of enrollment

Office of the Registrar

Registrar

Admissions Files for students in pre-enrollment status

Student Services

Executive Director of Admissions

Enrollment Records

Office of the Registrar

Registrar

Career Services Records

Career Services

Director of Career Services

Counseling & Academic Placement Testing Records

Center for Wellness and Disability Services

Director of Counseling

Academic Records (grades, transcripts)

Office of the Registrar

Registrar

Academic Disciplinary Records

Office of the Provost; Office of the College Dean; and/or Department Chair

Provost; Academic Discipline Board; College Dean and/or Department Chair

Non-Academic Disciplinary Records

Student Affairs

Dean of Students

Financial Aid Records

Student Service Center

Director of Financial Aid

Cross-registration records with Colleges of the Fenway

Office of the Registrar

Registrar

Terms Abroad (WIT)

Chair of Department and Office of the Provost

Chair of Department and Provost

Service learning records

Center for Community & Learning Partnerships

Director of the Center for Community & Learning Partnerships

 (2) The right to request the amendment of the student's education records that the student believes is inaccurate, misleading or otherwise in violation of his or her privacy rights.

Students may request an amendment to a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. They should write the Wentworth official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading.

If Wentworth decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, Wentworth will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his or her right to a hearing for appeal. The hearing will take place with the FERPA Appeals Committee.  This committee’s membership will include the Associate Vice President of Student Affairs, the Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management, Registrar, Associate Vice President of Finance, and Chief of Staff.

If as a result of the hearing, the FERPA Appeals Committee finds that that the information in the education record is not inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student's privacy rights, the student shall have the right to place in the education records a statement commenting on the contested information in the record or the reason(s) the student disagrees with the decision of WIT.

A student may not challenge a grade given through this procedure, only the accurate recording of the grade.

(3) 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.

Personally identifiable information from the education records of a student will be disclosed by WIT upon the prior written consent or request of the student. The written consent or request must (a) specify the records that may be disclosed; (b) state the purpose of the disclosure and (c) identify the party or class of parties to whom the disclosure may be made.

However, WIT may disclose information without the prior written consent of the student in the following circumstances:

  1. To school officials with a legitimate educational interest in the records.
  2. To officials of another school, at the request of those officials, in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
  3. To certain officials of the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. 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. To organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of WIT.
  6. To accrediting organizations to carry out their functions.
  7. To either of two parents when at least one parent has claimed the student as a dependent for income tax purposes. A certified copy of the parents' most recent Federal Income Tax Form may be required to verify dependency.
  8. To comply with a valid court order or subpoena or to comply with federal law (e.g., the USA Patriot Act).
  9. To appropriate parties in a health or safety emergency.
  10. To a victim of an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense, the final results of a disciplinary proceeding conducted by WIT with respect to that alleged crime or offense. WIT may disclose the final results of the disciplinary proceeding, regardless of whether it concluded a violation was committed.
  11. Directory information designated by WIT.
  12. To parents of students under the age of 21 when laws or WIT policies regarding alcohol or drugs are violated.
  13. To parents of students when disciplinary action may be taken.
  14. To parents of students when a student is at risk of harming themselves or others or in the event of a medical emergency.
  15. To a court or administrative agency in the event of legal action between WIT and a student.

(4) The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by WIT to comply with the requirements of FERPA.

The name and address of the federal agency that administers FERPA is:

Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-4605

(5) Directory Information (Limitation on Disclosure)

Students may restrict the release of directory information, except to school officials with legitimate educational interests and to others as permitted by law. If a student wishes to prevent disclosure, the student must complete a Request to Prevent Disclosure of Directory Information form in the Student Service Center or online. A student’s Request to Prevent Disclosure of Directory Information is valid for the life of the record or until a request to reverse non-disclosure is made in writing to the Registrar’s Office.

Images/Photographs/Video Recordings

Wentworth Institute of Technology is authorized to use photographs, videos, and audio recordings of any student on campus or at a campus event. These can be used in printed and electronic publications, on the internet, and in other promotional materials produced, used by, and representing Wentworth. The circulation of the materials could be worldwide and the Institute does not offer any compensation to students.

Disposition of Records

Applications and related material for persons not accepted are retained for 7 years and then destroyed. After a student separates from WIT, applications and related materials are retained in the Registrar's Office for 7 years.

After 7 years following graduation, student records are archived and typically the following materials are retained:

  • Transcripts
  • Record of grade changes

Rights as an Alumnus/a

All rights possessed as a student remain after leaving WIT. This applies only to those records that pertain as a student and that are accumulated during enrollment at WIT

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