The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their educational records. They are:
- A student has the right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days of the day the university receives a request for access. The records that are viewable include only the documents that were created at SMU. The student should submit to the registrar, dean, head of the academic department, or other appropriate official a written request that identifies the record(s) he/she wishes to inspect. The registrar will arrange for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the university official to whom the request was submitted, that official will advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
- A student has the right to request that the university amend his/her records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading. The student must request the amendment in writing, clearly identifying the part of the record he/she wants changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the university decides to not amend the record as requested by the student, the university must notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his/her rights to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when the student is notified of the right to a hearing. Any request for grade changes must follow the procedure as outlined elsewhere in this catalog.
- The student has the right to consent to the disclosure of personally identifiable information contained in his/her records, except where FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. School officials with a legitimate educational interest may have access without the student’s consent. A school official is a person employed by the university in an administrative, professional, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position; a person or company with whom the university has contracted (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 committee) or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility to the university. Upon request, the university may disclose education records without consent to officials of another school in which the student seeks to enroll or is already enrolled.
- The university designates the following information as directory information, which may be released without student consent and is not subject to the above regulations: student name; state of residence; gender; major field of study; classification as a first year student, sophomore, junior, senior dates of attendance; graduation and degree(s) earned; the most recent educational institution attended, participation in officially recognized activities and sports; weight and height of members of athletic teams; honors and awards received; photographic, video, or electronic images of students taken and maintained by the university.
- A student may prevent the release of any or all of the categories of Directory Information outlined above by notifying the registrar, in writing, of the categories of information the student does not want disclosed. Notification must occur within ten (10) calendar days of the first scheduled day of classes for the fall, spring, or summer terms. The university will honor all written requests for nondisclosure for one (1) academic year; therefore, students must request nondisclosure annually.
- A student may file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the university to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is: Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C., 20202-4605.
In order for a parent or guardian to receive information about their student’s progress, the student must complete the online Consent to Disclose.