Student's Right to Review and Correct His/Her Records
Students and former students have rights to inspect and review their education records within 45 days from making such a request to the office that maintains the record they wish to review. The right of inspection and review includes: the right to access, with an explanation and interpretation of the record; the right to a copy of the education record when failure to provide a copy of the record would effectively prevent the student from inspecting and reviewing the record. The institution may refuse to provide a copy of a student's education record provided such refusal does not limit access.
Limitations exist on students' rights to inspect and review their education records. For example, the institution is not required to permit students to inspect and review the following:
- financial information submitted by parents;
- education records containing information about more than one student (however, the institution must permit access to that part of the records which pertains only to the inquiring student);
- confidential letters and recommendations placed in the student's file before 01/01/75;
- confidential letters and statements of recommendation, placed in the records after 01/01/75, to which the student has waived his or her right to review and that are related to the student's admission, application for employment or job placement, or receipt of honors. Upon a request from a student, he or she will be notified of the names of persons making the recommendations and that such recommendations cannot be used other than for the purposes for which they were intended.
Students may request that their education records be amended if they believe such information is inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of privacy rights. Students must request in writing that the office maintaining those records amend them. Students should identify the part of the records they want corrected and specify why they believe it is inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of privacy rights.
That office will review the request and inform the students in a reasonable amount of time after receiving the request. If the records custodian refuses to amend the record, students have the right to a hearing. A hearing officer appointed by the Provost will conduct the hearing. The hearing will be held within a reasonable amount of time after the request for the hearing has been received. The hearing officer will notify the student, reasonably in advance, of the date, place, and time of the hearing.
Students will be afforded a full and fair opportunity to present evidence relevant to the issue raised. One or more other persons, including an attorney, may accompany the student. The hearing officer/board will make its decision in writing based upon the evidence presented at the hearing. The decision will include a summary of the evidence presented and the reasons for the decision.
If the hearing officer/board supports the complaint, the education record will be amended accordingly and the student will be so informed. If the hearing officer/board decides not to amend the education record, students have the right to place in the education record a statement commenting on the challenged information and/or stating the reasons for disagreement with the decision. This statement will be maintained as part of the education record as long as the contested portion of the record is maintained, and whenever a copy of the education record is sent to any party, the student's statement will be included.
Consistent with its obligations under FERPA, USD annually notifies students and their parents of the rights accorded them by FERPA. The annual notification statement is published in student handbooks: Archways, The Undergraduate Student Handbook; the USD Graduate Student Handbook; and the Law School Student Handbook. Parents of USD students are notified in the University of San Diego Parent Handbook. Returning undergraduate and graduate students are notified annually by e-mail from the University Registrar. Law students are notified annually with a memo at fall registration.
Filing a Complaint
If a student feels that the institution has not fully honored his or her privacy rights under FERPA, a written complaint may be filed with the Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Ave. SW, Washington, DC 20202-4605. The Family Policy Compliance Office investigates each timely complaint to determine whether the educational agency or institution has failed to comply with the provisions of FERPA. A timely complaint is defined as an allegation that is submitted within 180 days of the date of the alleged violation or of the date that the complainant knew or reasonably should have known of the alleged violation.