Office of the Vice President for Legal Affairs and General Counsel

Explanation of Rights under FERPA

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”) affords eligible students certain rights with respect to their education records. For purposes of complying with FERPA at West Virginia University (the “University”), an eligible student is any person, regardless of age, who attends or has attended classes at the University or any of its divisional campuses.

I. Rights Afforded by FERPA. Each student has the following rights:

a. The right to privacy requiring written consent before the University discloses personally identifiable information (“PII”) from the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without con¬sent. However, FERPA permits the disclosure of PII from a student’s education records, without consent of the student, if the disclosure meets certain conditions found in § 99.31 of the FERPA regulations. See the list below of the disclosures that the University may make without consent.

b. The right to inspect and review the student’s education records, including the record of disclosures, within forty-five (45) days after the day the University receives a request for access. A student should submit to the registrar, dean, head of the academic department, or other appropriate official, a written request that identifies the record(s) the student wishes to inspect. The University official will make arrangements for access and 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 submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.

c. The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA. A student who wishes to ask for an amendment of a record should write the official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record the student wants changed, and specify why it should be changed. If the official decides not to amend the record as requested, the student will be notified in writing of the decision and the student’s right to a hearing re¬garding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.

d. The right to be informed about what the University deems “Directory Information,” which shall be defined in the notices sent to students at least annually, as required under the Act, and is posted online at http://ferpa.wvu.edu/.

e. The right to withhold Directory Information. Provided, however, a request for nondisclosure of Directory Information will not independently revoke or impact the disclosures permitted by FERPA that are identified below in Section II(a) to (m). Requests will be processed as soon as is practicable upon receipt. A request for nondisclosure will be honored by West Virginia University until it is revoked in writing by the student.

Students attending courses on the Main Campus may request nondisclosure of Directory Information by submitting the Official Form to the Office of the University Registrar, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 26506. Students attending courses at Potomac State College may submit the Official Form to Office of Enrollment Services, 75 Arnold Street, Keyser, WV 26726. Students attending courses at WVU Institute of Technology may submit the Official Form to WVU Tech Office of Admissions and Records, 405 Fayette Pike, Montgomery, WV 25136.

f. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the West Virginia University to comply with the requirements of 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

II. Disclosures Permitted by FERPA. The University may disclose PII to individuals who are expressly identified by a student through certain administrative processes designated by the University, including, without limitation, the Parent/Guest Portal found online at http://parent-guest.portal.wvu.edu/, and from education records without a student’s prior written consent in the following instances:

a. To University officials with legitimate educational interests; provided, however, that the disclosure shall be limited by the legitimate need to know. § 99.31(a)(1).

i. A University official is a person employed by the University in an administrative, legal, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); or a person serving on the board of governors; or a student serving on an official committee, such as the Committee on Student Rights and Responsibilities. A University official also may include a volunteer or contractor outside of the institution who performs an institutional service or function for which the school would otherwise use its own employees and who is under the direct control of the school with respect to the use and maintenance of PII from education records, such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent or a student volunteering to assist another University official in performing his or her tasks.

ii. A University official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities for the University. Legitimate educational interests would include, but are not limited to, 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, academic assistance activities, and other activities that are generally supportive of overall goals of the institution and contribute generally to the well-being of the entire student body.

b. Upon request, to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll. § 99.31(a)(2).

c. To authorized representatives of the U.S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or state and local educational authorities, such as a state postsecondary authority that is responsible for supervising the university’s state-supported education programs. Disclosures under this provision may be made, subject to the requirements of § 99.35, in connection with an audit or evaluation of federal- or state-supported education programs, or for the enforcement of or compliance with federal legal requirements that relate to those programs. These entities may make further disclosures of PII to outside entities that are designated by them as their authorized representatives to conduct any audit, evaluation, or enforcement or compliance activity on their behalf. §§ 99.31(a)(3), 99.35.

d. In connection with financial aid for which the student has applied or which the student has received, if the information is necessary to determine eligibility for the aid, determine the amount of the aid, determine the conditions of the aid, or enforce the terms and conditions of the aid. § 99.31(a)(4).

e. To organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, the school, in order to: a) develop, validate, or administer predictive tests; b) administer student aid programs; or c) improve instruction. § 99.31(a)(6).

f. To accrediting organizations to carry out their accrediting functions. § 99.31(a)(7).

g. To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena. § 99.31(a)(9).

h. To appropriate officials in connection with a health or safety emergency, subject to § 99.36. § 99.31(a)(10).

i. Information the school has designated as “directory information” under §99.37. § 99.31(a)(11).

j. To a victim of an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense, subject to the requirements of § 99.39. The disclosure may only include the final results of the disciplinary proceeding with respect to that alleged crime or offense, regardless of the finding. § 99.31(a)(13).

k. To the general public, the final results of a disciplinary proceeding, subject to the requirements of § 99.39, if the school determines the student is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense and the student has committed a violation of the school’s rules or policies with respect to the allegation made against him or her. §99.31(a)(14).

l. To parents of a student regarding the student’s violation of any federal, state, or local law, or of any rule or policy of the school, governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance if the school determines the student committed a disciplinary violation and the student is under the age of 21. § 99.31(a)(15).