Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
The Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, last amended on July 1, 2003, protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education. The Higher Education Reauthorization Act of 1998 allows, but does not require, colleges and universities to contact the parents of students in disciplinary cases involving drugs and alcohol (please see the Parental Notification Policy in Volume VII, Subsection 7.2.16). The Family Education and Privacy Act was enacted by Congress to protect the privacy of student educational records. This privacy right is a right vested in the student.
Pursuant to FERPA, eligible students (those over 18 years of age) and parents have the right to inspect and review their education records maintained by the school. Bethany College is not required to provide copies of records unless, for reasons such as great distance, it is impossible for parents or eligible students to review the records. Bethany College may charge a fee for copies.
According to the Buckley Amendment, information contained in the educational records of students who are eighteen years of age or older or enrolled in post-secondary institutions may be sent to the parents without the written consent of the student only if the student is a financial dependent of the parents. (The term dependent is defined in Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code as an individual’s son, daughter, stepson, or stepdaughter of a taxpayer who receives over half of the individual’s support from the taxpayer during the given calendar year.)
There are some records to which the student has no right of access. These are:
- Professional mental health treatment records to the extent necessary, in the judgment of the attending physician or professional counselor, to avoid detrimental effects to the mental health of the student or of others. These records may, however, be reviewed by a physician or other appropriate professional of the student’s choice.
- Financial information furnished by the student’s parents in support of an application for financial aid.
- Confidential letters of recommendation that were placed in the student’s file prior to January 1, 1975.
- Confidential letters of recommendation concerning admission, employment, or honorary recognition, for which the student has waived access. (The College may not require a student to sign a waiver in order to obtain services, but a person writing a recommendation may insist on a waiver as a condition for writing it.).
- Personal notes made by a faculty member or counselor that are accessible only to that person and are not shared with others.
- Materials in any admissions files, until the student has been admitted to, and has attended the College.
Eligible students have the right to request that Bethany College correct records that they believe to be inaccurate or misleading. If the College decides not to amend the record, the student then has the right to a formal hearing. After the hearing, if the school still decides not to amend the record, the student has the right to place a statement with the record setting forth the student’s view about the contested information.
Bethany College is not required to consider requests for amendment under FERPA that:
- Seek to change a grade or disciplinary decision; or
- Seek to change the opinions or reflections of a school official or other person reflected in an education record.
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):
- School officials with legitimate educational interest;
- Other schools to which a student is transferring;
- Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes;
- Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student or the result of a judicial or quasi-judicial hearing;
- Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school;
- Accrediting organizations;
- To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena;
- Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies; and
- State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific State law.
Bethany College may disclose, without consent, “directory” information. This includes: (1) name, (2) permanent and local address and telephone, (3) The division/department attended at the College, (4) class level, (5) major field, (6) dates of attendance at the College, (7) degree received and date awarded, (8) honors and awards received, (9) participation in recognized activities, (10) previous school(s) attended, and (11) height and weight of members of intercollegiate athletic teams. The College may disclose directory information for any purpose, without the prior consent of a student, unless the student has forbidden its disclosure in writing. Students wishing to prevent disclosure of the designated directory information must file written notification to this effect with the Registrar’s Office. In the event that such written notification is not filed, the College assumes that the student does not object to the release of the directory information.
At the College, information about student rights and responsibilities under FERPA is available at the Office of the Registrar.
Students have the right to file a complaint with the Family Policy Compliance Office, Department of Education, 600 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20202-4605, concerning any alleged failure by the College to comply with FERPA.
For additional information, please contact the Registrar’s Office.
A student wishing to withdraw either during the semester or for the next semester should complete a Student Withdrawal form with the Office of Student Life. This form will be processed to the Registrar’s Office, Vice President for Finance, and Office of Student Life. Upon withdrawal, the student must turn in their residence hall keys and student identification card. If these items are not returned, appropriate charges will be placed on the student’s account prior to closing that account. Questions about student withdrawal should be directed to the Dean of Students at 304.829.7631.
Withdrawal or cancellation must be in writing to the Office of Student Life. A withdrawal form with all necessary signatures must be obtained.
Indebtedness to the College
Financial responsibilities must be resolved before official transcripts are released or other requests for assistance are honored (e.g. Visa assistance). This includes unpaid fines or fees.
Tuition, Room and Board will be refunded 100% if officially withdrawn or cancelled prior to the first day of classes; 90% in the first week of the term; and no refund thereafter. For terms less than the standard 15 weeks but at least six weeks, these refund periods will be adjusted proportionally. For terms less than six weeks, no refunds are applicable after the first day of class.