Confidentiality of Files
The University’s policy regarding confidentiality of files has long been congruent with the stipulations of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. (See the policy, which is published in each Course Schedule.)
The University files maintained in The College may be examined by those administrators who have responsibility for the administration of student programs and by those faculty members who have assignments which give them authorization to see such files. Each adviser to an individual student would have access to that student’s file. Any faculty member or University officer will be permitted to consult the files when she/he is writing letters of recommendation for students or officially responding to legitimate inquiries concerning students.
Juniors and seniors with majors in various departments will have their principal file in The College office, but a portion of that file will be maintained in each department. The department has the obligation to keep appropriate records on the progress of the students it supervises, and, upon the student’s graduation, to deposit appropriate materials in The College file. Nothing in this statement is intended to suggest that The College file would be removed to a department office during the student’s junior and senior years.
With certain limited exceptions as provided by law, information from College files will be released to employers, prospective employers, government officials, or any other person or agency outside the University only upon written request of the student involved to the person responsible for the files (Dean).
When requests for information about a student or former student are received from other academic institutions, it will be assumed that students have requested us to provide supporting information to aid them in gaining admission or advanced standing. Reports to such institutions shall be accurate and complete regarding academic matters, including any information about academic failures.
A notation is made in the student’s folder (name, date and purpose) for any individual not associated with The Office of the Dean who receives permission to review an academic folder.
Key points of the policies and procedures regarding confidentiality of academic files are these:
- The University designates the following categories of student information as public or “Directory Information” and may disclose such information at its discretion: name, campus address, home address, e-mail address, telephone number, current enrollment (full or part-time), dates of attendance, class, date and place of birth, previous institution(s) attended, academic fields of study, awards, honors, degree(s) conferred (including dates), photographs, past and present participation in recognized sports and activities and the height and weight of intercollegiate sports participants, and other similar information.
- Currently enrolled students may request the withholding from disclosure of certain categories of information under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 by making a written request to the Registrar’s Office. The University of Rochester assumes that failure on the part of any student to specifically request the withholding of categories of “Directory Information” indicates individual approval of disclosures.
- The policy of the College is to release grade information to parents when permitted by law, unless the student objects and/or disclosure would not be in the student’s best interest in the judgment of the College.
- Federal law (FERPA) generally prohibits a school’s disclosure of grades without the student’s consent. However, schools may, but are not required to, disclose academic information to parents of students who can be claimed as dependents under federal tax laws.
- The College will generally honor written (not e-mail), signed requests by students to release their grades to parents or other persons specified. Signed, written (not e-mail) grade requests by parents of undergraduates will also generally be honored; however, the College may deny a request if the student objects or if the Dean decides that disclosure is not in the student’s best interest, or if the student cannot be claimed as a dependent.
Faculty members who are requested to provide information which may directly or subtly infringe on the protection provided should consult with the Supervisor of Academic Records before permitting access to files or releasing data from them. It is the responsibility of the Supervisor of Academic Records to interpret the University’s policy in maintenance of College files.
Students in Arts and Sciences who wish to examine their folders should make an appointment with Dean Suzanne O’Brien; Hajim School students see the Hajim School Associate Dean, Wayne Knox.