Article V: Student Records: Access to and Confidentiality

5.1 Introduction

5.1.1 The following statement and policies reflect Luther’s compliance with FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, commonly known as the Buckley Amendment. A college acquires a great amount of information regarding its students. Because Luther College respects the students’ rights of privacy, this information is considered confidential. These records are essential if administration and faculty are to understand individual students and assist them in facilitating their development. Due to the confidentiality of these records a student has the right to expect the college not to release information about him or her to anyone other than those prescribed by law, unless it has his or her written consent. Only legal compulsion or the immediate security of persons or college property justifies the college’s revealing to unauthorized personnel, without the student’s permission, anything more about the student than the dates of his attendance, the nature and date of the degree awarded, place of residence while at the college, and other directory information in 5.2.1. below.

5.1.2 Students will be informed annually of their privacy rights with respect to their educational records.

5.2 The following guidelines are adhered to by Luther College in regard to student records.

5.2.1 Certain information about students is considered “Directory Information” and considered generally available to the public. Such information includes: name, phone numbers and addresses (college and permanent), email address, classification (year in school, major(s)), honors, awards, degrees conferred, dates of attendance, participation in sports and activities, height and weight of athletic team members, date and place of birth.

5.2.2 Information considered confidential is filed in many offices, including, but not limited to: Student Life, Registrar, Health Service, Career Center, Student Academic Support Center, Student Support Services, Financial Services, Financial Aid, and the Counseling Service. Professional staff members of each respective office are the only personnel authorized to disclose or release information from a student’s folder. A student shall have the right to inspect and review any official records.

5.2.3 Two primary files will be maintained by the college: (a) academic and (b) personal.

5.2.3.1 The student’s academic file is kept by the Office of the Registrar. This is a permanent record and includes the Secondary School Record, the courses taken and when, the grades received, test data (e.g., the Scholastic Aptitude Test), the student’s area of specialization and degree received, grade point data, and any action by the college resulting in the student being placed on academic probation or his suspension due to academic reasons. The report on each semester’s work, which includes cumulative hours of credit and grade points, is sent to the student. The offices of Student Life and Counseling Services have access to this information electronically.

5.2.3.2 The student’s personal file is kept in the Student Life Office. It includes information such as the application for admission, housing application, miscellaneous records such as financial aid, and general correspondence.

5.2.3.3 The personal record file in the Student Life Office does NOT include the summary of interviews of counseling or the records of medical diagnosis and treatment. These records are kept in separate files in Counseling Services and Student Health Services, respectively.

5.2.4 All persons who handle student records shall be instructed concerning the confidential nature of such information and the student’s right to privacy. They shall be advised of their legal and professional responsibilities regarding all student records.

5.2.5 Release of Information. The respective offices will not release records of a student without the written consent of the student, except of the specific occasions cited under Article 5.2.5.2. This written consent would include the type of record to be released and identification of the recipient. Copies of the released information will be sent or given to the student (or parent) when requested.

5.2.5.1 Luther College is required to release official information when the information is furnished in compliance with a judicial order or pursuant to a subpoena. In such an instance, an attempt will be made to notify the student (or parent) in advance of compliance.

5.2.5.2 Information from the above offices may be released to the following without written consent:

A. Authorized federal representatives who request information in connection with an audit or evaluation of federally-supported education programs.

B. Officials of other schools to which a student has transferred to or intends to transfer.

C. Educational officials or teachers who request information for educational purposes. This includes the National Direct Student Loan Clearinghouse.

5.2.5.3 Any of the above representatives or officials will be required to note reason for inspection of official records. The information can be released only upon the condition that the third party (a,b,c above) will not permit access to others without written consent of the student.

5.2.5.4 To minimize the risk of improper disclosure, official college disciplinary records shall be kept in the Student Life Office under separate cover. Folders of disciplinary cases are maintained in an active file for a period of two years after the latest incident recorded in the folder. After a period of two years, all such folders are destroyed, with the following exceptions:

A. students who have a “hold” placed on their registration and transcript.

B. students involved in incidents that result in suspension. The folders on the above exceptions are transferred to an inactive file for two years after the ’’hold” is initiated or the student is suspended. When action is taken to release a ’’hold” or allow a suspended student to return to school, the folders are returned to the active file. They are maintained there for a period of two years from the date of the action or any later additions to the folder at which time they are destroyed.

C. While the intent of destroying disciplinary records in the timeframe noted remains, there are federal laws that require an educational institution to keep records of policy violations for a period of about seven years.

5.2.5.5 Information may be released for research purposes only under carefully prescribed guidelines. In releasing any data for research purposes, the identity of the student shall be scrupulously protected. If there is a question about the limits of confidentiality, the written permission of the student will be obtained prior to releasing information about him or her. The Dean for Student Life or Registrar will be assured that the department or persons engaged in the research will follow professional standards of confidentiality.

5.2.5.6 The Student Life Office will not keep membership lists of student organizations. It will record the name of the faculty advisor and officers of the organizations for identification purposes only, and will destroy all such records at the end of each academic year. The names of advisors and officers will be released upon request.

5.2.6 Review of Official Records

5.2.6.1 Upon request of a student, or parent as appropriate, and within 45 days of the request, a student may review his or her records. This request must be made to the office or service where the records are maintained. Information such as intelligence, aptitude, psychological and interest inventories, and health record entries will be interpreted by a staff member of the appropriate office.

5.2.6.2 In the event the student finds what he or she regards as inaccurate or misleading information, that student may request that the record be corrected or amended. If the request is denied, the student may request a hearing to modify or remove the material. If dissatisfied with the results of the hearing, the student may place in the file a statement of disagreement.

5.2.7 Destruction of Students’ Personal Records. Luther College terminates its responsibility for personal records at the end of the sixth year after the student leaves the college. At the end of the sixth year the records shall be destroyed in a manner which prevents unauthorized retrieval. Any portion of the record may be destroyed at an earlier date if the person under whose jurisdiction the record was originally created feels it should be destroyed. Maintenance and preservation of the academic record shall be in perpetuity.