The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students at Mercer University certain rights with respect to their education records. These rights include:
1. The right to inspect and review a student's education records within 45 days of the day the Office of the Registrar receives a request for access.
The student should submit to the Registrar a written request that identifies the record/s the student wishes to inspect. The Registrar will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the Registrar does not maintain the records, the student shall be advised of the correct official at the University to whom the request should be addressed.
2. The right to request the amendment of the student's education records that the student believes are inaccurate.
The student may ask the University to amend a record that he/she believes is inaccurate. The student should write the Registrar, clearly identify the part of the record he/she wants changed, and specify why it is inaccurate. If the University decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the Registrar, or other appropriate official if the record is maintained by another office, will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his or her right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
3. The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student's education record, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
One exception, which permits disclosure without consent, is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A "school official" is a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the University has contracted (such as a attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks.
A school official has a "legitimate educational interest" if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility.
Another exception, which permits disclosure without student consent is disclosure to officials of another school, school system, or institution of post-secondary education where a student seeks or intends to enroll. Upon the request of an institution in which a student seeks or intends to enroll, the University will forward the student's education records to the requesting institution. Upon request, the student may obtain a copy of the record that was disclosed and have an opportunity for a hearing as provided above.
As of January 3, 2012, the U.S. Department of Education's FERPA regulations expand the circumstances under which your education records and personally identifiable information (PII) contained in such records — including your Social Security Number, grades, or other private information — may be accessed without your consent. First, the U.S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or state and local education authorities ("Federal and State Authorities") may allow access to your records and PII without your consent to any third party designated by a Federal or State Authority to evaluate a federal- or state-supported education program. The evaluation may relate to any program that is "principally engaged in the provision of education," such as early childhood education and job training, as well as any program that is administered by an education agency or institution. Second, Federal and State Authorities may allow access to your education records and PII without your consent to researchers performing certain types of studies, in certain cases even when we object to or do not request such research. Federal and State Authorities must obtain certain use-restriction and data security promises from the entities that they authorize to receive your PII, but the Authorities need not maintain direct control over such entities. In addition, in connection with Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems, State Authorities may collect, compile, permanently retain, and share without your consent PII from your education records, and they may track your participation in education and other programs by linking such PII to other personal information about you that they obtain from other Federal or State data sources, including workforce development, unemployment insurance, child welfare, juvenile justice, military service, and migrant student records systems.
4. The right of a currently enrolled student to request that his/her "directory information" not be released by Mercer University.
The University at its discretion and without the written consent of the student may release "directory information" which includes the following items: student name, address, e-mail address, telephone number, date and place of birth, academic program, dates of attendance, degrees and honors received, most recent previous institution attended, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, and photographs or video images.
A student request for non-disclosure of the above items may be completed on his or her MyMercer portal at the ‘Student Privacy’ tile then select ‘Online Directory Privacy’.
5. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Mercer University to comply with the requirements of FERPA.
The name and address of the office that administers FERPA are: Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20202-4605.