are my student rights under FERPA?
annually notify students in attendance of their rights under
Right to inspect and
review your education records
Right to amend an
incorrect record under certain circumstances
Right to consent to
disclosure (with exceptions) of information from your
Right to file
a complaint with US Department of Education
do my FERPA Rights begin?
FERPA applies for a student when he or she enrolls in a higher education institution at any age. Your FERPA rights begin when you enroll
are education records?
With certain exceptions, an
education record is any record (1) from which a student can be
personally identified and (2) maintained by the university. A
student has the right of access to these records. Education records
include any records in whatever medium (handwritten, print, magnetic
tape, film, dis≠kette, etc.) in the possession of any
is considered a "School Official" at SMU?
- A person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel, health staff and volunteers)
A person or company with whom the University has contracted as its agent to provide a service instead of using University employees or officials (including attorneys, auditors, bookstore)
A person serving on the Board of Trustees
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.
my parents access my student education records?
When a student begins attend≠ing a postsecondary
institution regardless of age, FERPA rights transfer to the
student. Hence, parents have no inherent rights to access or
inspect their son or daughter's education records, unless the
student is a dependent as defined in section 152 of the Internal
Revenue Code of 1986 or parents have obtained a consent
from their child to release some or all of their education
Can my spouse access my
The spouse has no
rights under FERPA to access the studentís education record.
can I restrict the release of my directory information?
SMU may release
directory information to anyone unless you send a written request through Access.SMU Self Service to the University Registrarís office that it be withheld. All other
information included in a student's education record will not be released to anyone without the studentís written
information on what is defined as directory information, how to
restrict its release, and what happens after directory
information is restricted is explained in the
Directory Information page.
If I restrict the release of my directory information, what happens when the faculty requires me to share my email address with other students for class work and class discussions?
Restrictions on directory information do not apply to in-class communications. You (the student) have no inherent right to anonymity in the classroom whether itís an online class or a physical classroom. If emails are a required part of your class work and class discussions and deemed necessary by the professor, then he/she may share your email address with your classmates.
How do I
request letters of recommendation from faculty members?
If you are requesting a letter of recommendation that will
include personally identifiable information obtained from your
education records ( for example, GPA, grades, etc) then the
faculty will request a signed release. The release will need to
specify the records that may be disclosed, state the purpose of
the disclosure , and identify the party or class of parties to
whom the disclosure can be made. Follow the guidelines
Sample Permission Letter
requesting letters of recommendation.
am a former SMU student. Do I have the same rights as current
students to inspect my education records?
Students who have
ceased attendance or who have graduated from SMU have the same
FERPA rights as currently enrolled students to inspect and
review their records and may have a hearing to amend an
As a former student of
SMU, may I request that my education records not be disclosed?
Former students may
request non-disclosure of their education records, but SMU does
not have to honor the request. However, SMU can choose to grant
the right of non-disclosure to former students.
How do I authorize
release of information to a specified third party?
authorize the release of non-directory information to a specified
third party by filling out and submitting the
for SMU to Release Information to Studentís Specified Third
PartyĒ (PDF) to the University Registrarís Office.
Detailed information on release of information to third party is
found in the Release of
Education Records page.
Whom do I contact with
questions or concerns?
may be directed to the
or the Office of Legal
Where can I find out more information about FERPA?