SUNY Plattsburgh Campus Handbook

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)


Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA)

Approved by Executive Council on May 5, 2015
Reapproved by Executive Council on September 1, 2015

Policy Number Policy Owner
9002.2 Registrar

Revision History:

Date Version Change Ref Section
5/5/2015 1.0 New Document  
9/1/2015 2.0 Major Revisions  School Official Definition
1/6/2017 2.1 Minor Revisions  

Statement of Policy

Educational Records

As defined by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), also known as the Buckley Amendment, educational records are, with certain exceptions, records maintained by SUNY Plattsburgh with a student's name or students' names on them. These include files, documents, and materials in whatever medium (i.e., electronic, handwritten, print, tape, film, microfilm, microfiche) which contain information directly related to students and from which students can be individually identified. The permanent and official cumulative academic record for each student is maintained by the Registrar's Office. The Registrar's Office also maintains official documents relating to the student and may include information supplied to the college at the time of admission and copies of letters related to academic or disciplinary action taken against the student. Other college offices, such as financial aid, health service center, career development center, campus life, academic deans' offices, etc., maintain information that is necessary to provide services or assistance to students, or information that is necessary for the administration of various programs. Incidental and official files may also be kept by faculty, advisors, and chairpersons.

Directory information, as defined by FERPA, is information contained in an educational record of a student which would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. SUNY Plattsburgh hereby designates the following categories of student information as public or directory information which may be disclosed by the college for any purpose, at its discretion: student's full name; e-mail address; local and home addresses; local and home telephone numbers; date of birth; major field of study; name of academic advisor(s); class level; dates of attendance; degree(s), honor(s) and award(s) received; most recent previous public or private school attended by student; participation in officially recognized activities and sports; weight and height of members of athletic teams; and photos of students.

Currently enrolled students may withhold disclosure of any category of information under FERPA. To withhold disclosure, written notification must be received in the Registrar's Office. Forms requesting the withholding or subsequent release of directory information are available in the Registrar's Office, Kehoe 306.  College officials must comply with any confidentiality requests. If a student has requested confidentiality, it will be listed on class rosters and in certain BANNER forms. Questions about a student’s status should be directed to the Registrar’s Office.  Confidentiality requests are honored during the entire academic year in which the request is filed and must be renewed annually by the student to continue to withhold directory information. 

Plattsburgh assumes that failure on the part of any student to specifically request the withholding of categories of directory information indicates individual approval for disclosure.

Notice to Students: Annually, SUNY Plattsburgh informs students of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA or Buckley Amendment). This act, with which the college complies fully, was designated to protect the privacy of educational records, to establish the right of students to inspect and review their educational records, and to provide guidelines for the correction of inaccurate or misleading data through informal and formal hearings. Students (including former students) also have the right to file complaints with FERPA concerning alleged failures by the college to comply with the act.

Student Records Policies and Procedures: An explanation of the procedures used by the college for compliance with the provisions of the act is available on the college Website at FERPA becomes effective on the first day of classes for those newly admitted students who have scheduled at least one course.

Release of Student Information by the College: The following is the policy of control of student academic information

  1. A school official is defined as a person employed by or doing volunteer work for the State University of New York at Plattsburgh and/or SUNY System Administration in an administrative, supervisory, legal, academic, research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health center staff); a person or entity with whom the college has contracted (such as College Auxiliary Services, an attorney, collection agent, or auditor); a member of the College Council or Board of Trustees; a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee. A school official may include a volunteer or contractor outside of SUNY Plattsburgh 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 Personally Identifiable Information (PII) from education records, such as an attorney, auditor, collection agent, College Auxiliary Services personnel, or a student volunteering to assist another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an educational record in order to fulfill his or her responsibilities for the college and/or SUNY System Administration.
  2. With a few exceptions provided by law, only the information listed as directory information may be released to anyone who is not a school official, as defined above, with a legitimate educational interest in the requested information.
  3. No further information will be released without the written consent of the student. Absolutely no transcript of a student's record will be released outside the college without the student's signed authorization, and no information concerning a student's grades will be given over the telephone.The student's written consent is not required for the disclosure of grades, disciplinary action, and other information to parents who have established that student's status as a dependent (IRS Code of 1954, Section 152). If proof of dependency is not available in the student's financial aid records, parents requesting information must submit their request in writing and provide proof of legal dependency, as defined by Federal Income Tax laws, or provide written consent from the student.

Right to File a Complaint: Any student alleging failure of the college to comply with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act may file a complaint with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Policy Compliance Office, Office of Human Resources and Administration, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20202-4604

Deceased Students:The privacy rights of an individual expire with that individual’s death. Records held by an institution for a deceased person are a matter of institutional policy and not a FERPA issue. SUNY Plattsburgh will exercise its discretion in deciding whether, and under what conditions, information should be disclosed to survivors or third parties.

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.


Contact Information

For questions about the Campus Handbook, please contact:

Management Services Office
Office: Kehoe 710-11
Phone: (518) 564-2538
Fax: (518) 564-2540
Email: [email protected]