The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA - 20 USC § 1232G; 34 CFR Part 99) is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the US Department of Education. FERPA gives parents/legal guardians certain rights with respect to their children’s educational records. These rights transfer to the student when they reach the age of 18 or attends a postsecondary institution. Students to whom the rights have transferred are “eligible students”. (Franklin Pierce University defines “attends a postsecondary institution” as the first day of classes of the student’s start term; applicants who do not become students have no FERPA rights.)
Educational records are defined as records, files, documents and other material which contains information directly related to a student. Educational records do not include personal files of faculty and staff, law enforcement records, or parent’s financial records. Nothing in FERPA prohibits a University official from sharing information that is based on that official’s personal knowledge or observation and that is not based on information contained in an educational record.
The University discloses education records without a student’s prior written consent under the FERPA exception for disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A “school official” is a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the University has contracted as its agent to provide a service instead of using University employees or officials (such as an attorney, auditor or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or 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.
A school official generally has a “legitimate educational interest” if that official needs to review an educational record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities as described in their job description.
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 student records systems.
The Solomon Amendment (10 U.S.C. § 983) is a federal law that allows military recruiters to access some address, biographical and academic program information on students age 17 and older.
The Department of Education has determined the Solomon Amendment supersedes most elements of FERPA. The University is therefore obligated to release data included in the list of “student recruiting information,” which may or may not match the University’s FERPA directory definition list. However, if the student has requested a directory information block to restrict the release of their Directory Information, then no information from the student’s education record will be released as specified in the Solomon Amendment.
The following is a list of information that may be released to military recruiters pursuant to the Solomon Amendment:
Name, address, telephone, year of birth, level of education, academic major, degrees received, educational institution in which the student was most recently enrolled.
Under the Solomon amendment, information will be released for military recruitment purposes only. The military recruiters may request student recruitment information once each term or semester for each of the 12 eligible units within the five branches of the service:
The request must be submitted in writing on letterhead clearly identifying the unit of service requesting the student recruitment information.
The request should specify whether the information needed is for the current or previous semester.
Per the Solomon Amendment, Franklin Pierce University released 2020 – 2021 student information to the following military recruitment bodies: