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FERPA: The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act 6.5-1


Legal / Compliance
Authorizing Body:
President - PRES
Responsible Department:
Registrar's Office
Applies To:
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Adopted Date:
Revised Date:
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The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records and provides certain rights in connection with education records.  Saginaw Valley State University recognizes the importance of FERPA protections and operates in a manner that upholds the privacy rights of students.


The Office of the Registrar is responsible for FERPA compliance at SVSU.  These responsibilities include ensuring that FERPA policies and procedures are consistent with FERPA requirements, issuing required notices, educating the campus community about FERPA, maintaining posted information, responding to requests relating to student records and maintaining student records as required by law.


Annual Notice

An annual notice of FERPA rights is provided to all SVSU students. In general, this information deals with the types of records kept about students, their location, the person who controls them, policies governing access to them, and the mechanism that exists for their correction should that be necessary.

Access to and Release of Student Information

The law provides students with the right to inspect and review information contained in their educational records.  The Registrar has been designated by the institution to coordinate the inspection and review procedures for student education records. Students wishing to review their own education records must make written requests to the Registrar's Office by email to, listing the record(s) of interest. Records covered by the Act will be made available within 45 days of the request, usually in the office maintaining the records requested.

Students may have copies made of their records with certain exceptions, e.g., a copy of the academic record for which a financial "hold" exists. These copies would be made at the student's expense at prevailing rates.

Directory information may be published or released unless a student, with two weeks’ notice, informs the Registrar's Office in writing that any or all items should not be released without prior consent of the student. Directory information is defined to include the student’s name, address, telephone listing, email address, major field of study, dates of attendance, degrees, awards and the most recent educational institution attended by the student. In addition, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, and weight and height of members of athletic teams is considered directory information.

With the few exceptions noted below, all students have the right to inspect all records which directly concern them. The exceptions are:

  1. Financial information submitted by parents.
  2. Any confidential letters of recommendation placed in a student's file prior to January 1, 1975. Any letters of recommendation placed in a student's file after that date must be open to the student, unless the student has waived right of access in writing.
  3. Counseling records kept by the Campus Mental Health & Wellness Center which are used solely for the professional treatment of the student.
  4. Law enforcement records maintained solely for law enforcement purposes.
  5. Records of instructional, administrative and educational personnel which are the sole possession of the maker and are not accessible or revealed to any individual except a temporary substitute.

No information about a student will be released to anyone without the written consent of the student, subject to the following exceptions:

  1. Officials of the University who have a legitimate educational interest and need for access to a given student's records. "Legitimate educational interest" includes such things as academic advising, consideration for academic or financial awards/scholarships, committee review of academic deficiencies, etc.
  2. In connection with financial aid to a student.
  3. Local, state and federal officials and agencies to whom information is required to be reported by law.
  4. Lawfully issued judicial order or subpoena; in such case, the University will make an effort to notify the student that the University has been served with a judicial order or subpoena and which records will be or have been released.
  5. Parents who can provide documentation that the student is claimed as a dependent on federal income tax forms may receive any record otherwise available to the student.
  6. Officials of other institutions in which students seek to enroll; the University must make a reasonable attempt to inform the student of such a disclosure.
  7. Appropriate parties, including parents, in connection with an emergency if knowledge of the information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals.
  8. Certain organizations in connection with predictive tests, administration of financial aid, or instruction improvement.
  9. Accrediting organizations

Each record keeper shall maintain a log with a student's records that will list each request for information about the student except requests by a parent, by school officials, or requests authorized in writing by the student.

Procedure for Challenging Records

Students have the right to challenge the contents of their education records, to have a hearing if the outcome of the challenge is unsatisfactory, and to submit explanatory statements for inclusion in their files if they feel the decisions of the hearing panel are unacceptable.

There is a separate grade grievance procedure and this link is:     A grade grievance must be filed 30 days from the time the instructor posted the grade.  In addition, there is a Tuition Refund Appeal Committee and the Office of Financial Services governs this process.  They can be reached at

Other education records may be challenged should a student believe the education records contain information that is inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the student’s rights of privacy. The student should initially discuss such a request with the individual in charge of the record he/she wishes changed. If the decision is in agreement with the student's requests, the appropriate records will be amended.

If no satisfactory agreement can be reached at that level, the student should request a hearing/meeting in writing (e.g., email) to the Registrar's Office.   

The University Provost will appoint one or more individuals to hold a hearing/meeting and make a final decision about the request.  An appointee may be an employee of SVSU but must not have a direct interest in the outcome of the hearing. The hearing will be conducted in such manner deemed appropriate by the hearing officer(s).

If, as a result of the hearing, it is determined that the information is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the privacy rights of the student, the University will:

(i) Amend the record accordingly; and
(ii) Inform the student of the amendment in writing.

If, as a result of the hearing, it is determined that the information in the education record is not inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the privacy rights of the student, the student will be informed in writing of the right to place a statement in the record commenting on the contested information in the record or stating the reason for the disagreement with the decision, or both.  This statement will be maintained with the contested part of the record for as long as the record is maintained and disclosed whenever the portion of the record to which the statement relates is disclosed.


Student education records: records that are directly related to a student and maintained by the University or by a party acting for the University.  Education records include records relating to student campus employment and medical records provided to the University for the purpose of a medical withdrawal application or for disability accommodation purposes. The Office of the Registrar can answer questions about what documents or data are considered to be student education records.