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Student Records Policy

Rosalind Franklin University Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

Introduction and Purpose: 

To inform students of their rights and responsibilities pertaining to their university records, in compliance with federal notification requirements. To protect the privacy of student records. To articulate definitions relating to student records, how they may be accessed and disclosed, the complaint procedure and other information relevant to the student record.

Scope and Applicability: 

University employees (faculty, staff, student employees) and other covered individuals (e.g., affiliates, vendors, independent contractors, etc.) in their accessing and handling of student records, data or information in any form (paper, digital text, image, audio, video, microfilm, etc.) during the course of conducting University business (administrative, financial, teaching, research or service). This policy shall apply to all offices and divisions of Rosalind Franklin University (RFUMS) and to all current or former students of RFUMS.

Policy Statement: 

The following constitutes RFUMS policy concerning student rights of access to personal educational records in compliance with the FERPA. Certain definitions and principles contained in the law and guidelines are as follows:

  1. A “student” is defined as one who has attended, or is attending, RFUMS and whose records are in the files of the university. Attendance is defined as the date of first enrollment at the university or participation in a university sponsored program or activity, whichever occurs earlier.
  2. Educational records do not include files retained by individuals that are not accessible to any other person except a designee or replacement.
  3. Directory (public) Information is limited to name, local and home address and telephone, email address, school or college, class, major field of study, dates of attendance, enrollment status, anticipated graduation date, degrees and awards received, the most recent educational institution attended, and a photograph of a student taken for university purposes. Directory (public) information also includes class rosters listing students in an RFUMS academic course (brightspace); such rosters may only be used for the purpose of conducting that course.
  4. Record means any information or data recorded in any medium, including but not limited to handwriting, print, tapes, computer files, microfilm, or microfiche.

Release of Directory Information

Directory information may be released unless the student files the appropriate form in the Registrar‘s Office requesting that directory information not be released. Directory information that cannot be restricted includes whether the individual was ever enrolled and degrees awarded.

Release of Grades

  1. Reports of a student’s grades are not routinely mailed. Students may access their grades on WebAdvisor.
  2. The posting of a student’s grades must be done in a manner designed to maintain confidentiality. Grades or evaluations linked to personal identifiers (names, RFU ID numbers, or social security numbers) may not be publicly disclosed without specific permission from the student. Without student permission, grades or evaluations may be posted whether on office doors or on websites, only by using randomly generated codes or numbers.

Record Storage

Students have records in one or more of the following offices:

  1. Registrar‘s Office
  2. Financial Aid
  3. Student Accounts
  4. Division of Student Affairs and Inclusion
  5. Division of Strategic Enrollment Management
  6. Human Resources (Federal Work Study)
  7. Some departments maintain additional student records separate from the university-wide departments. A list of the academic departments that may have records and their locations can be obtained from the Dean‘s Office of the school or college in which the department is located, or from the Registrar‘s Office.

Record Access and Exceptions

A student's record is open to the student, except as listed below. Any reference to student records or to access to student records in this document is subject to these exceptions.

  1. Confidential letters of recommendation placed in files before January 1, 1975.
  2. Financial records of the student's parents or any information contained therein.
  3. Employment records, except for those cases in which the employment is required as part of the student's program.
  4. Medical and psychological records.
  5. Letters of recommendation or other documents that carry a waiver of the student's right to access.
  6. Records compiled by campus security solely for the purposes of law enforcement.
  7. Student education records are open to university officials who have a legitimate educational interest in the information contained in the records.
  8. A university official is an employee or other agent of the university. A university official may also be a person or company with whom the university has contracted to carry out a function on the university‘s behalf.
  9. The determination of a legitimate educational interest will be made by the person responsible for the maintenance of the record. This determination will be made scrupulously and with respect for the individual whose records are involved. A legitimate educational interest requires that the individual seeking access must have the requested information to perform a job function.

Conditions of Access Waivers For Student References

To ensure the confidentiality of references, certain documents may carry waivers signed by the student relinquishing the right of access to the document. Waivers are subject to the following conditions:

  1. Waivers can be signed only for the specific purposes of application for admission, candidacy for honor or honorary recognition, and candidacy for employment.
  2. Waivers cannot be required.
  3. The student shall be told, upon request, the names of those supplying references.
  4. All items in the academic record not covered by waivers are open to the student. Material not covered by waivers may not be protected by keeping it out of the student's file.

Third Party Access

Normally, records can be released, or access given, to third parties (i.e., anyone not a member of the faculty or staff), only with the written consent of the student. Without the consent of the student, releases to third parties may be given only as follows:

  1. To federal officers as prescribed by law.
  2. As required by state law
  3. To research projects on behalf of educational agencies, providing that the agencies guarantee no personal identification of students.
  4. To accrediting agencies carrying out their functions.
  5. In response to a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena.
  6. By university Security to other law enforcement agencies in the investigation of a specific criminal case.
  7. To parents of students who are dependents as defined and verified by  IRS standards.
  8. A student's parent(s) or legal guardian(s) regarding the student's use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance if there has been a determination by the university that the student's use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance constitutes a violation of a university rule or regulation; and the student is under the age of 21 at the time of disclosure to the parent(s) or legal guardian(s). In connection with an emergency, to appropriate persons if the knowledge of such information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other persons.

Continued Record Maintenance

Nothing in this University FERPA policy requires the continued maintenance of any student record. However, if under the terms of this policy a student has requested access to the record, no destruction of the record shall be made before access has been granted to the student.

Records of Deceased Students

FERPA rights cease upon death. However, it is the policy of RFUMS that no records of deceased students be released after the date of death, unless specifically authorized by the executor of the deceased's estate, by the next of kin, or as stipulated in Record Access and Exceptions section of this policy. 

Record Correction Requests

Students have the right to ask to have records corrected that they believe are inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of their privacy rights. The procedures are as follows:

  1. The student must ask the custodian of the record to amend the record. The student should identify the part of the record that the student wants changed and the reasons.
  2. Rosalind Franklin University may comply or may decide not to comply. If not, the university will inform the student of the decision and advise the student of the right to a hearing. Requests for a hearing are to be sent to the Vice President for Strategic Enrollment Management. Upon request, the university will arrange for a hearing and so notify the student.
  3. The hearing will be conducted by a hearing officer who is a disinterested party. However, the officer may be an official of the institution. The student may be assisted by one (1) or more individuals.
  4. The University will prepare a written decision based solely upon the evidence presented at the hearing. The decision will include a summary of the evidence and the reasons for the decision.
  5. If the university decides that the challenged information is not inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the student's right to privacy, it will notify the student that he or she has a right to place in the record a statement commenting on the challenged information or setting forth reasons for disagreeing with the decision.
  6. The statement will be maintained as part of the student's record as long as the contested portion is maintained. If the university discloses the contested portion of the record, it must also disclose the statement.
  7. If the University decides that the information is inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the student's right of privacy, it will amend the record and notify the student in writing that the record has been amended.

Record Retention

  1. The Division of Strategic Enrollment Management at RFUMS maintains various records concerning students. In order to preserve students' rights to privacy, as well as conform with federal law, the university has established certain procedures to govern the handling of student records.
  2. Retaining records serves two purposes. In the short term, it provides those responsible for management of student development with the means to monitor progress and resolve problems. In the long term, a clear records retention policy enables the university to comply with federal, state, private, and local regulations governing auditability.
  3. Federal regulations, as they relate to student records, are governed by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). Please review the FERPA policy for more details.

Creation, Permanence, and Disposal of Student Records

The following is a general guideline regarding the disposal of student records:

  1. Only such records as are demonstrably and substantially relevant to the educational purposes of the University shall be generated or maintained;
  2. Permanent retention of student records is limited to those records which are of long-range value to the individual or the University;
  3. All duplicate copies of permanent records, other than those maintained by the custodian of the permanent records shall be maintained only for the minimum period of time required to serve the basic official function of the individual or department generating or maintaining them.  Such records shall be destroyed as soon as they are no longer needed) e.g., within one (1) year following graduation or two (2) years after the last date of attendance.  A student will be granted access to his records prior to their destruction when the student has an unsatisfied request outstanding.

Directory Information

In compliance with the federally-enacted regulations, and university policies, directory information regarding students attending Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science shall be the:

  1. Name
  2. Address (local, permanent, and electronic mail)
  3. Telephone numbers
  4. Class level
  5. Academic college and major field of study
  6. Participation in officially recognized activities
  7. Date(s) of attendance
  8. Enrollment status (full-time, part-time or not enrolled)
  9. Date of graduation
  10. Degrees, honors and awards received
  11. Most recent educational institution attended
  12. Photographic or electronic picture or images

Public information pertaining to any individual student may be released by the Registrar upon inquiry, unless the student has not agreed to release directory information. Partial or whole lists of students by name and address will not be released for commercial purposes.

Each major administrative unit shall define the kinds of reports and information that may be released to the public.

Information contained in personal files of the student is considered confidential information. With the exception of the information noted above, all student records are considered to be confidential and are open only to university personnel (individuals under contract) who need the information to carry out their official responsibilities (assigned duties and functions).

Although university personnel are authorized access to this information on a "need- to-know" basis (to perform specific duties and functions), they are not permitted to release information to persons outside the university unless authorized in writing by the student by a court order or according to the exceptions listed in section V.

Only the official or designated person responsible for the records has the authority to release them. Records may be disclosed to a third party only on condition that the recipient will not permit others to have access to the information without the written consent of the student.

Rights of Access and Review of Records

Students have the right to inspect, review, or receive an interpretation of copies of their educational records, except as excluded below. This right may be exercised by completing a written request to access the records. Such requests should be honored as quickly as possible and reasonable, normally within 48 hours; if detailed documentation and/or interpretation are required, the request should be honored within ten (10) days. In all cases, requests for such information must be honored within forty-five (45) days.

If a copy(ies) of a portion or all of the records in a student's file is requested, the custodian of the records may charge a fee for copies made, provided the fee does not effectively prevent students from exercising their right to inspect and review (under supervision of a university employee) their records. No fee will be charged to the student to search for or to retrieve records. Each custodian of records is responsible for requiring proper identification of individual making the request about his/her records.

Custodians of Student Records

The Division of Strategic Enrollment Management shall be responsible for the proposal, interpretation, enforcement, and publication of general policies and procedures consistent with state and federal laws and guidelines as they relate to the creation, maintenance, use, dissemination, and destruction of records of students who are attending or have attended Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, and shall coordinate the development of general policies and procedures with the appropriate university officials listed below.

EACH TYPE OF STUDENT RECORD IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF A DESIGNATED UNIVERSITY OFFICIAL, AND ONLY THAT PROFESSIONAL STAFF MEMBER OR DESIGNATE HAS AUTHORITY TO RELEASE THE RECORDS. Please note that some student records listed below are outside the scope of the Division of Strategic Enrollment Management. The responsible officials are:

Academic and Admissions Records (after matriculation) 
Official: University Registrar Location: Division of Strategic Enrollment Management

Admissions Records (prior to matriculation)
Official: Director of Admission and Enrollment Location: Division of Strategic Enrollment Management

Alumni Records 
Official: Director of Alumni Affairs Location: Office of Alumni Affairs

Disciplinary Records
Official: Executive Director of Campus Life Location: Division of Student Affairs and Inclusion

Employment (Work-Study and Student Employment)
Official: Executive Director of Human Resources Location: Human Resources

Student Financial Services (Financial Aid and Student Accounts) 
Official: Associate Vice President of Student Financial Services Location: Office of Student Financial Services

International Students
Official: Director for Diversity and Inclusion Programs Location: Division of Student Affairs and Inclusion

Security Records
Official: Director of Campus Safety and Security Location: Department of Campus Safety and Security

Veterans Records
Official: Coordinator of Veterans Affairs Location: Registrar‘s Office

Student Activities
Official: Coordinator of Student Life Location: Office of Student Life

Criminal Background Checks
Official: Vice President of Strategic Enrollment Management Location: Division of Strategic Enrollment Management

Complaint Procedure:

If a student believes that the University is not in compliance with the RFUMS Student Record Policy and/or the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), he/she should check first with the office involved and/or the Vice President of Division Strategic Enrollment Management.

If a student wishes to file a complaint with the federal government concerning the University's failure to comply with FERPA, he/she must submit the complaint, in writing, to the Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20202-5920, (http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/students.html). The Family Policy Compliance Office will notify the student and the University when the complaint has been received. They will investigate the complaint, and may require further information. Following its investigation, they will provide written notification of its findings and basis for such findings. In the event the University is found not to be in compliance, it will be afforded the necessary time to comply. If it does not then comply, additional action may be taken by the Family Policy Compliance Office. For guidelines concerning this complaint procedure, see 34 CFR Paragraph 99.64 and the subsequent regulations of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

Exclusions or Special Circumstances: 

Faculty, staff and/or student employees who violate this University policy may be subject to disciplinary action for misconduct and/or performance based on the administrative process appropriate to their employment.

Students who violate this University policy may be subject to proceedings for non-academic misconduct based upon their student status.

Faculty, staff, student employees and/or students may also be subject to the discontinuance of specified information technology services based on the policy violation.

Contact:

3333 Green Bay Road
North Chicago, IL 60064
847-578-8481
timothy.carroll@rosalindfranklin.edu

Review Cycle: 

Annual (As Needed)

Background: 

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act