Policy on Confidentiality of Student Records
Policy Status: Active
Subject Matter Expert: Diana Albiston, Director of Human Resources
Policy Steward: Evan Erdberg, President / CEO
Proximity Learning, Inc. (“PLI”) collects and retains data and information about students for designated periods of time for the express purpose of facilitating the student’s educational development. PLI recognizes the privacy rights of individuals in exerting control over what information about themselves may be disclosed and, at the same time, attempts to balance that right with the institution’s need for information relevant to the fulfillment of its educational missions. PLI further recognizes its obligation to inform the student of his/her rights under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA); to inform the student of the existence and location of records as well as to define the purposes for which such information is obtained; to provide security for such material; to permit student access to, disclosure of, and challenge to this information as herein described; and to discontinue such information when compelling reasons for its retention no longer exist.
STUDENT RECORD POLICY:
PLI will disclose information from a student’s educational record only with the prior written consent of the student / legal guardian, except that educational records may be disclosed without consent to PLI officials having a legitimate educational interest in the records and to third parties specifically authorized by FERPA, as referenced under Policies on Disclosure of Student Records.
PLI officials are PLI employees with general or specific responsibility for promoting the educational objectives of PLI or third parties under contract with PLI to provide professional, business and similar administrative services related to PLI’s educational mission. Individuals whose responsibilities place them within this category include teachers; faculty advisers; directors, and other administrative officials responsible for some part of the academic enterprise or one of the supporting activities; and persons or entities under contract to PLI to provide a specific task or service related to the PLI’s educational mission. Access by these officials is restricted where practical, and only to that portion of the student record necessary for the discharge of assigned duties.
“Legitimate educational interests” are defined as interests that are essential to the general process of education prescribed by the body of policy adopted by the governing board. Legitimate educational interests would include teaching, research, public service, and such directly supportive activities as academic advising, general counseling, therapeutic counseling, discipline, vocational counseling and job placement, financial assistance and advisement, medical services, safety, academic programs, and academic assistance activities. Records originating at another institution will be subject to these policies.
STUDENT EDUCATIONAL RECORDS:
Student educational records are defined as records, files, documents, data and other materials that contain information directly related to a student and are maintained by PLI or by a person acting for PLI pursuant to departmental policy.
Student educational records do not include records of instructional, supervisory, and administrative personnel and ancillary educational personnel that are in the sole possession of the maker and that are not accessible or revealed to any other person except a substitute.
Other exclusions include:
- Notes of a teacher/staff member concerning a student and intended for the teacher’s/staff member’s own use are not subject to inspection, disclosure, and challenge.
- Records created and maintained by the Police Services Records Division for law enforcement purposes.
- Records relating to an individual who is employed by an educational agency or institution not as a result of his/her status as a student that:
- Are made and maintained in the normal course of business;
- Relate exclusively to the individual in that individual’s capacity as an employee; and
- Are not available for use for any other purpose.
DEFINITION OF STUDENT:
For the purpose of this policy, a student is defined as an individual currently or previously enrolled in any academic offering of PLI. For newly admitted students, this policy becomes effective on the first day of classes for those students who have scheduled at least one course.
PUBLIC INFORMATION REGARDING STUDENTS:
The following is a list of directory items that may be made available to the public regarding students of the University without their prior consent and is considered part of the public record of their attendance:
- Address (local, permanent, and electronic mail)
- Telephone number
- Class level (semester classification or level: freshman, sophomore, etc.)
- Student activities including athletics
- Weight/height (athletic teams)
- Dates of attendance
- Enrollment status (full-time, part-time, or not enrolled)
- Date of graduation
- Most recent educational institution attended
The student is entitled to request that these directory items not be made publicly available. Such a request must be made in writing to PLI. The block will remain in effect until it is rescinded by the student in written instructions filed with PLI.
POLICIES ON DISCLOSURE OF STUDENT RECORDS:
The following guidelines will be utilized with respect to the disclosure of student records:
A. DISCLOSURE TO THE STUDENT:
The student has the right to inspect and review his/her educational records, and may do so by making an oral or written request to the PLI official responsible for the specific record desired. The official must respond within forty-five days of the request by sending the student a copy of the requested record, or by arranging an appointment for the student to review it. The student has the right to an explanation of any information contained in the record.
Where any such records, files, or data contain information relative to a third person, the student is entitled to be informed of only the portion of that record as pertains to himself/herself. Each record-keeping unit of the University will establish procedures for accommodating requests for access to student records. An administrative charge not exceeding the actual cost to PLI of providing access may be initiated in certain areas for access to record information.
The student is entitled to copy privilege as regards his/her records, files, and data at a reasonable administrative cost.
B. DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION TO THIRD PARTIES:
Disclosure of information contained in student records, files, and data is normally controlled by the student / legal guardian.
Typically, such disclosures will be made to someone other than a PLI official having a legitimate educational interest in the records only on the condition that prior written consent is obtained from the student. The third party is to be reminded that he/she should not permit additional access to the information by an additional person without further written consent of the student prior to such an additional transfer of information.
When information on a student must be shared outside of PLI, all persons, agencies, or organizations desiring access to the records of a student shall be required to sign a written form to be kept permanently with the file of the student indicating specifically the legitimate educational or other interest in seeking this information. This form will be available solely to the student and to the PLI officer responsible for the record as a means of auditing the operation of the record system. Exceptions to this are C. through I., below.
Disclosure of information to third parties without prior written consent of the student is permitted in cases where the third party is under contract to PLI and is under PLI’s direct control for the purposes of providing institutional services or performing institutional functions. The contractual arrangement between the third party and PLI must require the third party to:
- Protect the information at the same level as required of PLI by law, existing contract, or institutional policy.
- Use the information for only the purposes for which PLI grants access to the information.
- Not share the information with any other entity.
- Destroy the information within 60 days of the conclusion of any contractual arrangement with PLI and retain no copies of the information.
- Provide adequate administrative, electronic, and physical safeguards to assure the confidentiality, integrity, and accessibility of the information at a level specified in the contract between PLI and the third party.
Disclosure of information to third parties conducting research studies for or on behalf of PLI is permitted, provided PLI agrees with the purpose of the study and executes a written agreement with the research organization. The written agreement must reflect the five bullet points outlined above, and must set forth the purpose, scope and duration of the study, among other provisions. Whenever possible, it is preferable to provide only de-identified data to the research organization.
C. DISCLOSURE TO OTHER EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS:
Disclosure of appropriate academic records may be made to officials of other educational institutions to which the student has applied and where he/she intends to enroll or is currently enrolled. In addition, PLI may return records to the apparent creator of those records in order to verify authenticity.
D. DISCLOSURE PURSUANT TO JUDICIAL ORDER:
Information concerning a student shall be released if properly subpoenaed pursuant to a judicial, legislative, or administrative proceeding. Effort will be made to give advance notice to the student of such an order before compliance by PLI.
E. DISCLOSURE TO FEDERAL AND STATE AUTHORITIES:
This policy shall not preclude access to student records by authorized federal and state officials in connection with the audit and evaluation of federally supported education programs, or in connection with the enforcement of federal and state legal requirements that relate to such programs. Except when collection of personally identifiable data is specifically authorized by federal and state law, any data collected and reported with respect to an individual student shall not include information (including Social Security number) that would permit the personal identification of such student.
F. DISCLOSURE UNDER EMERGENCY CONDITIONS:
On an emergency basis, information about a student that is, in PLI’s judgment, necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or others may be released by a designated officer of PLI to any person whose knowledge of the situation is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or others.
G. DISCLOSURE TO EDUCATIONAL AGENCIES OR INSTITUTIONS:
Information that will not permit the individual identification of students may be released to organizations of educational agencies or institutions for the purpose of developing, validating, and administering predictive tests and measurements. Similarly, information may be released to accrediting organizations in order to carry out their accrediting functions.
CHALLENGE OF RECORD ENTRY:
The student is entitled to challenge and/or add to the factual basis of any record entry contained in records, files, and/or data. The purpose of this challenge is to ensure that such entries are not inaccurate or misleading, or in violation of his/her privacy or other rights as a student, and to provide an opportunity for the correction or deletion of any such inaccuracies, misleading or otherwise inappropriate data contained therein. The substantive judgment of a faculty member about a student’s work, expressed in grades and/or evaluations, is not within the purview of this right to challenge.
PLI will provide, on request by the student, an opportunity for a hearing to challenge the content of the student’s record(s). The request should be submitted to the appropriate PLI officer in whose area of responsibility the questioned material is kept. The PLI officer is authorized to rectify the entry and so notify the student in writing. The designated officer will provide the student with an opportunity to place in the records a statement commenting upon the challenged information in the educational records that will be kept so long as the contents are contested. The contents of the student’s challenge will remain a part of the student’s records regardless of the outcome of any challenge.
If a records entry question has not been satisfactorily resolved by this informal procedure, the student is entitled to a hearing on the matter. The hearing must be held within a reasonable time after the request, and the student notified as to the time, date, and place of the hearing in a reasonably advanced time of the hearing as to make his/her presence practical.
The student has the right to file a complaint with the Department of Education concerning alleged failures of PLI to comply with the requirements of FERPA.