COVID-19 Updates

BSU is open. An initial plan to return to campus in the fall 2020 semester is now available.

III - 6.30 - Policy on Confidentiality and Disclosure of Student Records

III - 6.30 - Policy on Confidentiality and Disclosure of Student Records

I. Policy

Bowie State University (BSU) complies with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (Buckley Amendment), hereafter, FERPA.

II. Definitions

A. "Student" means an individual who is or who has been in attendance at BSU (until 1988, Bowie State College). It does not include any applicant for admission to BSU who does not matriculate.

B. "Education records" include those records that contain information directly related to a student and that are maintained as official working files by BSU. The following are not education records:

1. Records about students made by professors and administrators for their own use and not shown to others;

2. Campus police records maintained solely for law enforcement purposes and kept separate from the education records described above and not shown to others;

3. Employment records, except where a currently-enrolled student is employed as a result of his or her status as a student;

4. Records of a physician, psychologist or other recognized professional or paraprofessional made or used only for treatment purposes and available only to persons providing treatment. However, these records may be reviewed by an appropriate professional of the student's choice.

III. Student Rights Under FERPA

A. Students are informed of their rights under FERPA through printed notice disseminated to every registrant at each registration. The parent(s) of a student under 18 also have these rights. These rights include the following:

1. The right to inspect and review education records;

2. The right to request the amendment of records to insure that they are not inaccurate, misleading or otherwise in violation of privacy or other rights;

3. The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in educational records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent;

4. The right to obtain a copy of BSU's policy regarding how it meets requirements of FERPA; and

5. The right to file with the U.S. Department of Education a complaint concerning alleged failures by BSU to comply with the requirements of FERPA. A student alleging BSU noncompliance may file a written complaint with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Office (FERPA), Department of Education, Switzer Building, 400 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Room 4074, Washington, DC 20202.

IV. Inspection and Review of Records

A. A student may inspect and review his or her own education records by requesting such a review or inspection. Requests for access should be made in writing to the Registrar.

B. BSU will provide the requested record(s) for review within 45 days of receiving the written request. The Registrar or designated staff member will respond to reasonable requests for explanations and interpretation of the record(s).

C. The inspection and review of the record(s) will take place in the Records area of the Office of Enrollment, Recruitment and Registration unless failure to give the student a copy of the record(s) would effectively prevent him or her from exercising the right to inspect and review the record(s).

D. To secure a copy of the record(s), the student must provide evidence that a denial of the request would effectively prevent the exercise of the right to inspect and review. A fee will be charged for all photocopies. BSU may not destroy any education record(s) for which there is an outstanding request to inspect and review.

V. Records Covered by FERPA

A. "Education records" maintained by BSU include the following:

1. Admissions (i.e., application, transcript(s) from institution(s) previously attended): Enrollment, Recruitment and Registration, Henry Administration Building;

2. Academic Records (i.e., transcripts and related documents), Enrollment, Recruitment and Registration, Henry Administration Building;

3. Social/Judicial/Disciplinary Records, Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, Henry Administration Building;

4. Initial Placement/Advisement Records, Office of Academic Affairs, Henry Administration Building:

5. Academic Advisement, Departments (student's advisement records are kept in the office of the Department in which the student is majoring);

6. Housing and Residence Life (Contracts, Directory Information and Disciplinary Records), Office of Housing and Residence Life, Haley Hall;

7. Career Services (Placement files, except for letters of recommendation for which this right has been waived), Office of Career Services, Wiseman Centre;

8. Student Special Services (Program participants only), Office of Student Special Services, Thurgood Marshall Library;

9. Financial Aid (Financial Aid and Work Study Records), Office of Financial Aid, Henry Administration Building;

10. Student Accounts (Student fiscal records), Office of Student Accounts, Henry Administration Building;

11. Bulldog Academy and other university pre-enrollment programs.

B. Except as permitted by FERPA, no personally identifiable information from a student's education records will be released without the prior written consent of the student.

VI. Prior Consent Limitations and Exclusions

A. Directory Information

1. The following categories of information have been designated directory information:

a) Name

b) Address

c) Telephone listing

d) Date and place of birth

e) Major field of study

f) Participation in officially recognized activities and sports

g) Weight and height of members of athletic teams

h) Dates of attendance

i) Degrees and awards received

j) Most recent previous educational agency or institution attended

k) Classification (i.e., freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, graduate)

l) Degrees and awards received

2. This information will be disclosed even in the absence of consent unless the student files written notice requesting BSU not to disclose any or all of the categories within three weeks of the first day of the semester in which the student begins each school year. This notice must be filed annually within the allotted time to avoid automatic disclosure of directory information. The notice should be filed with the University Registrar.

3. Directory information may appear in public documents and otherwise be disclosed without student consent unless the student objects as provided in #2 above.

4. All requests for non-disclosure of directory information will be implemented as soon as publication schedules will reasonably allow.

5. BSU will use its best efforts to maintain the confidentiality of those categories of directory information a student properly requests not be publicly disclosed. BSU, however, makes no representations, warranties, or guarantees that directory information designated for non-disclosure will not appear in public documents.

B. Prior consent will not be required for disclosure of education records to the following parties:

1. School officials of BSU (instructional or administrative personnel who are or may be in a position to use the information in furtherance of a legitimate objective) who have been determined to have legitimate educational interests (those interests directly related to the academic environment);

2. Officials of other schools in which a student seeks or intends to enroll or is enrolled. Upon request and at his or her expense, the student will be provided with a copy of the records that have been transferred;

3. Authorized representatives of the Federal government, but only in connection with the audit or evaluation of federally supported education programs or in connection with the enforcement of or compliance with Federal legal requirements relating to these programs. Subject to controlling Federal law or prior consent, these officials will protect information received so as not to permit personal identification of students to outsiders and destroy such information when it is no longer needed for these purposes;

4. Authorized persons and organizations that are given work in connection with a student's application for, or receipt of, financial aid, but only to the extent necessary for such purposes as determining eligibility, amount, conditions and enforcement of terms and conditions;

5. State and local officials to which such information is specifically required to be reported by effective state law adopted prior to November 19, 1974;

6. Organizations conducting educational studies for the purpose of developing, validating or administering predictive tests, administering student aid programs and improving instruction. The studies shall be conducted so as not to permit personal identification of students to outsiders and the information will be destroyed when no longer needed for these purposes;

7. Accrediting organizations for purposes necessary to carry out their functions;

8. Parents of a student who is a dependent for income tax purposes (Note: BSU may require documentation of dependent status such as copies of income tax forms);

9. Appropriate parties in connection with an emergency where knowledge of the information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals;

10. In response to a court order or subpoena, BSU will make reasonable efforts to notify the student before complying with the court order.

C. In all other cases, BSU will not release personally identifiable information in education records or allow access to those records without prior consent of the student. Unless consent is to provide access to the student himself or herself, the consent must be written, signed, dated and must specify the records to be disclosed, the identity of the recipient and the purpose of disclosure. A copy of the record disclosed will be provided to the student upon request and at the student's expense.

D. BSU will maintain with the student's education records a record, which may be inspected by the student, the official custodian of the records, and other BSU and governmental officials, of each request and each disclosure, except for the following:

1. Disclosure to the student himself or herself;

2. Disclosures pursuant to the written consent of the student (the written consent itself will suffice as a record);

3. Disclosures to instructional or administrative officials of BSU.

 VII. Opportunity to Seek Correction of Education Records

A. Request to Correct Records

1. A student, who believes that information contained in his/her education records is inaccurate, misleading or violates his/her privacy or other rights, may submit a written request to the Registrar specifying the document(s) being challenged and the basis for the complaint. The request will be sent to the person responsible for any amendments to the records in question. Within a reasonable period of time of receipt of the request, BSU will decide whether to amend the record(s) in accordance with the request. If the decision is to refuse to amend, the student will be so notified and will be advised of the right to a hearing. He or she may then exercise that right by written request to the Registrar.

B. Right to a Hearing

1. Upon request by a student, BSU will provide an opportunity for a hearing to challenge the content of the student's record(s). A request for a hearing should be in writing and submitted to the Registrar. Within a reasonable time of receipt of the request, the student will be notified in writing of the date, place and time reasonably in advance of the hearing.

2. Conduct of the Hearing

a) The hearing will be conducted by a University official, selected by the Provost, who does not have a direct interest in the outcome. The student will have a full and fair opportunity to present evidence relevant to the issues raised and may be assisted or represented by individuals of his or her choice, including an attorney, at his or her own expense.

3. Decision

a) Within a reasonable period of time after the conclusion of the hearing, BSU will notify the student in writing of its decision. The decision will be based solely upon evidence presented at the hearing and will include a summary of the evidence and the reasons for the decision. If BSU decides that the information is inaccurate, misleading or otherwise in violation of the privacy or other rights of the student, BSU will amend the records accordingly.

C. Right to Place an Explanation in the Records

a) If, as a result of the hearing, BSU decides that the information is not inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student's rights, BSU will inform the student of the right to place in his or her record a statement commenting on the information and/or explaining any reasons for disagreeing with BSU's decision. Any such explanation will be kept as part of the student's record as long as the contested portion of the record is kept and will be disclosed whenever the contested portion of the record is disclosed.


Effective Date: 1991Revised Date: 06/11/2012