2023-2024 Catalog

Release of Information

Cumberland University complies with all provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA or Buckley Amendment) of 1974 (amended) dealing with the release of educational records.

FERPA (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all educational agencies and institutions that receive funds under any program administered by the Department of Education (“Department”). In this guidance, when we refer to “school districts,” “schools,” or “postsecondary institutions” we mean “educational agencies and institutions” subject to FERPA. Private schools at the elementary and secondary school levels generally do not receive funds from the Department and are, therefore, not subject to FERPA.

FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children’s education records at elementary and secondary schools that are subject to FERPA’s requirements. These rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a postsecondary institution at any age (“eligible student”). Under FERPA, a parent or eligible student must provide a signed and dated written consent before a school discloses personally identifiable information from the student’s education records. 34 CFR § 99.30. See 34 CFR § 99.3 for the definition of “personally identifiable information.” Exceptions to the general consent requirement are set forth in § 99.31 of the FERPA regulations. The term “education records” is defined as those records that are: (1) directly related to a student; and (2) maintained by an educational agency or institution, or by a party acting for the agency or institution. See 34 CFR § 99.3 for the definition of “education records” and a list of records that are not included in the definition. Accordingly, all records, including immunization and other health records, as well as records on services provided to students under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and records on services and accommodations provided to students under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, that are directly related to a student and maintained by a school are “education records” under FERPA.

No information, except directory information, contained in any student’s record is released to persons outside the University or to unauthorized persons on the campus without the written consent of the student. It is the responsibility of the student to provide the Office of the Registrar and other University offices, as appropriate, with the necessary specific authorization and consent. Disclosure of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records is permitted to college officials with legitimate educational interests. A college official is a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, of support staff position (including law enforcement personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the University has contracted; a person serving on the Board of Trusts; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another college official in performing his or her tasks. A college official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities.

Directory information includes name, home address, school address, telephone listing, e-mail address, date and place of birth, major field of study, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, Dean’s List, degrees and awards received, and most recent previous educational institution attended. This information may be released to appear in public documents and may otherwise be disclosed without student consent unless a written request not to release this information is filed each semester in the Office of the Registrar. Such notification must be received before August 1 for the fall semester, before December 1 for the spring semester, and before May 1 for the summer semester. No official academic information about a student will be released until all University requirements, forms, and records are complete.

If the student believes the University has failed to comply with the Buckley Amendment, he/she may file a complaint using the Cumberland University Incident Report in the Student Handbook. Complaints must be filed using the procedures outlined for student grievances in the Student Handbook. If dissatisfied with the outcome of the procedure, a student may file a written complaint with the Family Policy and Regulations Office, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, D.C. 20202. Questions about the application of the provision of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act should be directed to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs or the Dean of Students.