The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) helps protect the privacy of student education records and affords each student the right to inspect and review education records, the right to seek to amend those records and to limit disclosure of information from those records. Meridian University is the custodian of its students’ education records.
According to the law, a person becomes a student for purposes of FERPA when they are "in attendance" at an institution. This includes attendance classes in person, remotely by videoconference, satellite, Internet, and/or other electronic and telecommunications technologies. This does not include prospective students or applicants to any academic programs of the University.
FERPA becomes effective on the first day of classes for those newly enrolled students who have been enrolled and attended at least one course. A person who accepted an admission offer but did not attend at least one course, or a newly admitted student who canceled his/her registration either before or after the quarter begins, is not covered by FERPA.
Students may contact the Academic Records office at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The students’ FERPA rights are as follows:
Students will be asked to complete a Release of Directory Information form in their annual enrollment agreement. This form provides a directive as to whether or not the student authorizes release of certain directory information without written consent. The absence of student consent, however, does not change the rights or obligations of Meridian under FERPA or its regulations, including Section 99.3 above, to disclose directory information without student consent. The student can at any time alter this directive by contacting the Record’s Office and submitting a new form.
The following information, considered “directory information” may be disclosed to the public by any Meridian University employee unless the student has specifically requested in writing that this information be withheld. This is supported by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
Meridian University may disclose any of those items without written prior consent unless notified in writing by the student. Such requests are accepted and entered at any time during the student's attendance at Meridian. Upon receipt of such a request, no further Directory Information will be disclosed.
The complete text of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 as Amended (and its interpretation) is available in the Academic Records Office.
Records of Deceased Students
Education records are no longer protected under FERPA after a student’s death; consequently, the disposition of records pertaining to a deceased individual is not a FERPA issue but a matter of institutional policy. Meridian University maintains full discretion in deciding whether, and under what conditions, education records and other identifying information of deceased students should be disclosed.
Meridian faculty will also exercise their own professional and ethical judgement when choices of disclosure are not regulated by FERPA.
Student educational records are located and maintained by school administrators in one or more of the following offices:
Admissions: Admissions staff are responsible for maintaining files that contain letters of recommendation for admissions to the University, transcripts of work performed at other institutions, the student’s personal, application materials, admission agreements, and/or other materials as necessary for admission purposes. All materials submitted become the property of the University. Admissions staff and members of the admissions committees of the various programs have access to these files for the purpose of carrying out the admissions function. After a student has been admitted to the University, these files are transferred to Academic Records.
Academic Records: The Academic Records Office is responsible for maintaining files that contain official transcripts of work performed by Meridian University students at other institutions, documentation supporting the official Meridian transcript entries, and copies of applicable correspondence written by faculty and administration along with student replies. Such correspondence is generally related to a student’s academic program or progress in that program. Members of the administration and faculty have access to these files as permitted by their student advisement roles. Also, the records staff have access to these files in order to maintain them and to provide data to authorized persons. After graduation or withdrawal, Meridian maintains the student file and those student records necessary to verify the transcript.
Financial Aid: The Financial Aid Office is responsible for maintaining files that contain applications and award letters for all forms of federal and institutional aid, correspondence with lenders, loan-tracking documents, and information regarding awards from previous institutions. The Financial Aid Office staff have access to these files in order to process financial aid applications and advise students. Financial Aid files may be destroyed four years after a student has been determined inactive.
Student Accounts: The Student Accounts Office is responsible for maintaining files that contain payment agreements, student and third party payments, authorization to charge or reverse charges, correspondence with the student and with third party sponsors, collections information and bankruptcy documentation. Student Accounts staff, as well as members of the University’s administration, have access to these files in order to justify all data activity and remain compliant with auditors as well as to advise students. Student account files may be destroyed seven years after a student has been determined inactive.
Students with Disabilities: The Director of Assessment and Student Development maintains files on students who have registered their disabilities and/or requested accommodations under our policy. The Academic Records Office staff have access to those files as necessary to implement approved accommodation requests.
Academic Integrity: The Student Development Committee (SDC), chaired by the Director of Assessment and Student Development maintains all files regarding Academic Integrity and alleged dishonesty/plagiarism cases that are adjudicated by the SDC.
Administrative Director: The Administrative Director is responsible for maintaining files that contain background information and official documents about alleged student misconduct, disciplinary actions, and student grievances as they arise. Information about alleged student misconduct, disciplinary hearings, and student grievances is considered to be confidential and is divulged on a strict “need-to-know” basis. The Administrative Director and selected administrative staff have access to the files for the purpose of conducting necessary investigation charges, administering disciplinary or grievance hearings and maintaining institutional records of such hearings. As each investigation is resolved, the file is transferred to the Academic Records Office for permanent maintenance.
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.