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Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

On June 17, 1976, the rules and regulations applying to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, section 438 of the General Education Provisions Act, became final. The Act deals with students' rights of access to their official educational records. Basically, the legislation gives any student or former student of Skidmore College the right to inspect, review and copy his or her permanent records. At Skidmore, the permanent records covered by the Act include: the student's application for admission; high school and/or previous college transcript; SAT scores; correspondence with our Office of Admissions; documents pertaining to grade reports, dates of attendance, approval of leaves of absence; correspondence with the Deans; senior class status; and course distribution summary forms on file in the Registrar's Office; and the materials contained in the student's career planning file.

The Act includes a list of types of records not open to student inspection. These are parents' financial statements; confidential letters and recommendations written before January 1, 1975; letters and recommendations written after January 1, 1975 but specifically designated as confidential; ancillary records of instructional, supervisory and administrative personnel; confidential law enforcement records; and records written by physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, and other recognized professionals or paraprofessionals. Students and former students may request a doctor of their choice to review their medical records.

Colleges are allowed to publish "directory information" including the student's name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, 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, degrees and awards received, and the most recent previous educational institution attended. If any current Skidmore student does not want such directory information to be disclosed he or she must notify the Registrar's Office in writing of the specific information not to be released. Such notification is necessary within ten days of the first day of classes of the Fall semester annually.

Skidmore College administrators, faculty, and members of established college committees who have legitimate educational interest may have access to students' and former students' files without prior consent. Specific federal, state and local officials and educational agencies conducting studies are also permitted access for definite reasons provided that personally identifiable data are not transferred to anyone else. In addition, proper parties concerning application for or receipt of financial aid have access. Skidmore College will forward a student's education records on written request to another school in which the student seeks or intends to enroll. Prior consent for disclosure of personally identifiable information is not required when the information is needed in connection with a health or safety emergency; or is to comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued a subpoena after a reasonable effort to notify the student is made.

Except as above described Skidmore College must obtain written consent of the student before disclosing personally identifiable information from the educational records. Such consent must be signed and dated by the student. It must include a specification of the records to be disclosed, the purpose or purposes of the disclosure,and the party or class of parties to whom the disclosure may be made.The College is required to maintain a record of all non-exempted requests for and disclosures of personally identifiable information from the education records of all students. This record of disclosure may be inspected by the affected student.

A student, former student, or applicant for admission may waive any of his or her rights under the Act by executing a written signed waiver. Such a waiver may be revoked with respect to any action occurring after the revocation. The revocation must be in writing and signed by the student.

Alumni who graduated before the year 2000 may gain access to their credential file in the Career Services Office only if they have established a non-confidential (or open) file. Upon request, their open credential file can be obtained. If they want a copy of their file for their own records or mailed to an employer or graduate school, there will be a fee of $3 per address.

Career Services suggests that students and alumni who graduated after 2000 use Interfolio.com.

A student or former student believing information contained in his or her education record is inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of his or her privacy or other rights may request Skidmore to amend the record. Such a request must be in writing and clearly state the error as well as the correction. If no mutual agreement is reached within a reasonable time the student or former student may request a formal hearing in order to challenge the content of his or her education record. The College will endeavor to hold the hearing within thirty days of receipt of the request and to have a decision rendered in writing within fifteen days of the conclusion of the hearing. The hearing shall be conducted and the decision rendered by an institutional official or other party appointed by the President who does not have a direct interest in the outcome of the hearing. The decision of the College will be based solely upon the evidence presented at the hearing and will include a summary of the evidence and the reasons for the decision. The student will be afforded a fulland fair opportunity to present evidence relevant to the issues raised and may be assisted or represented by individuals of his or her choice, including an attorney.

Minutes will be kept of all hearings. On the request of either party, a verbatim transcript will be made. In such case, the time allotted to render a decision will be extended to fifteen days after receipt by the hearing officer of the transcript. The minutes or transcript of the hearing will become a part of the student's education record. If, as aresult of the hearing, it is decided the education record will be amended such action will be taken and the student will be so notified in writing. If, as a result of the hearing, the decision is to maintain the contested information in the student's record, the student has the right to place in his or her record a statement commenting on the contested information and stating his or her reasons for disagreeing with the decision of the College. This explanation shall become a part of the education record and will be disclosed in conjunction with the contested information.

(Printed in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Policies)

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