Access to Student Records

The University's practice in regard to student record-keeping is based on the provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974, and is intended to be a safeguard against the unauthorized release of information. This act applies to all enrolled students, former students, and alumni. It does not apply to applicants seeking admission into an institution.

Under the provisions of the act, it is the right of the student to view her/his official educational records. Educational records are defined as records regarding a student that are maintained by an educational institution. Such records are kept in the Office of the Dean for Student Affairs, the Office of the Registrar, faculty advisors' offices, and the Center for Academic Achievement. Not included in this category of records are the following:

  • records containing confidential information written before January 1, 1975
  • financial records submitted to the University by the parents of a student
  • medical and counseling records
  • records containing information on more than one student
  • private records intended for use of an individual
  • law enforcement records
  • student employment records
  • records to which a student has waived her right of access as required by a judicial order or a lawful subpoena

In order to view her/his record, a student must make a request in writing to the appropriate office. The office has 45 days in which to fulfill the request. If requested, copies of a student's record are available to the student for a slight charge to cover the cost of duplicating. Any information in a student's record found to be "inaccurate, misleading, or [that] violates the privacy or other rights of the student" may be challenged by the student. Only the accuracy of the information may be challenged. For example, a grade received may not be questioned, only the accuracy of its recording. In order to contest the information in her/his record, the student must submit a written statement to the person responsible for the content of the record and request that she/he receive a written response. If no written response is forthcoming or if an unsatisfactory response is received by a student, she/he may appeal to the chairperson or appropriate supervisory person. In the event that no resolution is made, it is the student's right to request a hearing, to be presided over by the Dean for Student Affairs or a designee.

The University has the right to publish a directory listing all enrolled students and containing the following information:

  • student's name
  • address
  • telephone number
  • place and date of birth
  • concentration
  • digital photo
  • year of graduation and dates of attendance
  • awards and degrees received
  • membership in organizations
  • educational institution most recently attended

A student who wishes to be omitted from the directory must so indicate by writing to the Office of the Registrar.

A student's record is not accessible to anyone outside the University without the written authorization from the student.

Exceptions to this regulation are as follows:

  • officials at an institution where the student is applying for admission
  • officials disbursing financial aid
  • parents of a dependent student (for tax purposes)
  • accrediting and educational testing organizations
  • federal officials
  • officials complying with a judicial order
  • appropriate officials in the event of an emergency (only if necessary to safeguard the health or well-being of the student or other individuals)
  • the alleged victim of a crime of violence may receive results of any disciplinary proceedings conducted by the University against the alleged perpetrator of that crime in reference to that crime. Student records are available to the above with the stipulation that this information is only for the use of the above unless written consent is secured from the student.

Student records may not be distributed to other parties. It is the responsibility of each office maintaining records to keep a log that verifies the name and date of each person who has viewed the record and for what reason. Students have the right to see this log.

A student may sign a waiver of access to confidential recommendations for graduate school or for employment purposes. However, the student must be kept informed of those people providing recommendations.

The University does not ordinarily notify a student's parents or guardians of academic and social problems she/he encounters as a Simmons student without her/his consent. However, if a student's behavior places her/his continuance at Simmons or in residence in jeopardy, or if the student's behavior indicates she/he may be harmful to herself/himself or others, the University may deem it to be in her/his best interest to notify, without consent, her/his parents, guardians, or other appropriate persons.

Further questions about FERPA should be directed to the Offices of the Dean for Student Affairs or Registrar.