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 educational records. This law applies to students who are at least eighteen years old or who attend or attended a post-secondary institution, even if they have not reached the age of eighteen. FERPA is intended to ensure students the right to inspect, review, and control access to student educational records maintained by an educational institution.
All school officials, as defined in this policy, are expected to manage student records in their custody in accordance with all FERPA regulations. To receive access to student records, school officials (including work-study student personnel) must receive a copy of this policy and remain current regarding any FERPA modifications.
Alaska Pacific University (APU) will comply with the requirements and provisions of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act. Students will be notified of their rights under FERPA annually by publication in the student handbook, catalog, and/or registration announcements of Alaska Pacific University.
This policy applies to the Alaska Pacific University community and building locations throughout the campus operations, both in Anchorage and Palmer, AK, as it applies.
- Any person currently or previously enrolled at Alaska Pacific University. An enrolled student is defined as a person who attended an Alaska Pacific University course (seated or online) on the first day of an enrollment period
- Any person who has previously earned academic credit at Alaska Pacific University
- Applicants for admission are not classified as students
- A person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, and academic or research, support staff position, a trustee, public safety officer, or outside contractor such as an attorney or auditor acting as an agent for the University
- A student serving on a University committee, such as a Undergraduate Studies or Coordinating Council committee or who is assisting another School Official in performing his or her tasks
- Any contractors, consultants, volunteers or other party to whom the University has outsourced institutional services or functions as long as the individual: (1) performs a service for which an institution would otherwise have to use its own employees; (2) is under the direct control of the University with respect to the use and maintenance of the educational record; and (3) is subject to the same conditions on use and re-disclosure of educational records that apply to other School Officials
Any record in handwriting, print, tapes, film, computer, or other medium maintained by the University or an agent acting for the University that is directly related to a student. There are several important records that are specifically exempted from the definition of an Educational Record:
- Records kept by staff person or certain educational personnel which are in the sole possession of the maker of the records, and are not accessible or revealed to any other individual except a substitute who performs on a temporary basis, the duties of the individual who made the records
- Records maintained by a law enforcement unit of the University that were created by that law enforcement unit for the purpose of law enforcement. (However, if a copy of the Campus Safety Office record is given to the Registrar or other official of the institution for enforcement of a trespass order or other legitimate institutional need, that copy becomes an educational record subject to FERPA.)
- Records relating to individuals who are employed by the University, which relate exclusively to individuals in their capacity as employees, and are not available for use for any other purpose
- Records relating to a student which are: (1) created or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional, acting in his/her professional capacity or assisting in a paraprofessional capacity; (2) used solely in connection with the provision of treatment to the student
- Records that only contain information about an individual after he or she is no longer a student at the University that does not relate to them as a student
- Parent’s financial records (without consent of the parent)
- Letters and statements of recommendation that a student waived their rights to review
Alaska Pacific University encourages all students to exercise all of their rights under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
Inspection and Review
Current and former APU students have the right to inspect and review their Education Records within 45 days of the date that the University receives a written request for access. Schools are not required to provide copies of records unless, for reasons such as great distance, it is impossible for students to review the records. Schools may charge a fee for copies.
A written request that identifies the Educational Record(s) to be reviewed or inspected must be submitted by the student to the Registrar, a Dean, or other appropriate University School Officials. That School Official will make arrangements for access to the records with the Registrar and will notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the School Official to whom the request was made, that School Official shall advise the student of the correct individual to whom the request should be addressed.
Amendment of Educational Record
Alaska Pacific University provides students with an opportunity to request amendment to the contents of an Educational Record which he/she believes to be inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of his/her privacy or other rights.
A School Official who receives such a request will coordinate with the Registrar and they will decide within a reasonable period of time whether corrective action consistent with the student’s request will be taken. The student will be notified of the decision. If the decision is in agreement with the student’s request, the appropriate record(s) will be amended. A student who is not provided full relief sought by his/her challenge will be informed by the appropriate School Official, in writing, of the decision and his/her right to a formal hearing on the matter.
FERPA was not intended to provide a process to be used to question substantive judgments, which are correctly recorded. The rights of challenge are not intended to allow students to contest for example a grade in a course because they felt a higher grade should have been assigned. (See University Catalog for information regarding contesting a grade.)
Directory Information as defined by Alaska Pacific University is listed below. This information may be released for any purpose at the discretion of the APU.
- Student name
- Enrollment statuses enrolled terms (full, part time, withdrawn)
- Academic awards and honors
- Degree Sought
- Major and Minor/Concentration
- Expected/Conferred date of degree completion
- Dates of attendance
The University has designated the following student information to be published in an APU portal:
- Current email address
Students may restrict the release of “Directory Information” except to school officials with legitimate educational interests and others as indicated below. To do so the student must make the request in writing to the Office of the Registrar, Alaska Pacific University. Once filed, this request becomes a permanent part of the student’s record until the student instructs the University, in writing, to have the request removed. (Forms are available upon request from the Office of the Registrar.)
Consent to Disclosure of Educational Record
The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the students’ education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
Disclosure to a school official having a legitimate educational interest does not constitute university authorization to transmit, share, or disclose any or all information received to third parties unless such disclosure is permitted or required by law.
Generally, schools must have written permission from the student in order to release any information from a student’s education record. However, FERPA allows schools to disclose those records, without consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions (34 CFR § 99.31):
The University may disclose education records in certain other circumstances:
- To comply with a judicial order or a lawfully issued subpoena
To appropriate parties in a health or safety emergency
To officials of another school, upon request, in which a student seeks or intends to enroll
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
To certain officials of the U.S. Department of Education, the Comptroller General, to state and local educational authorities, in connection with certain state or federally supported education programs
To accrediting organizations to carry out their functions
To organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the University
The results of an institutional disciplinary proceeding against the alleged of a crime of violence may be released to the alleged victim of that crime with respect to that crime
For purposes of compliance with FERPA, the University considers all students independent. Before information can be released to parents or guardians, a release form signed by the student must be on file in the Registrar’s Office. Once filed, this request becomes a permanent part of the student’s record until the student instructs the University, in writing, that the release is no longer valid. (Release forms are available upon request from the Office of the Registrar.)
File a Complaint
Students have the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the University to comply with FERPA. The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue
SW Washington, DC 20202-5920
In the event of questions or concerns regarding this policy or other matters pertaining to FERPA, a student can contact the Office of the Registrar at 907-564-8210 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.