Home Legal Consumer Information Bridgewater College FERPA Policy Statement

Bridgewater College FERPA Policy Statement

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, 20 U.S.C. § 1232g, 34 C.F.R. § 99 (“FERPA”), is designed to protect the confidentiality of the records that educational institutions maintain on their students and to give students access to those records to assure their accuracy. Bridgewater College (“College”) discloses personally identifiable information contained in student education records consistent with FERPA and this policy.

This policy applies to all education records of Bridgewater College students as those terms are defined in this policy. All College employees, student workers, third-party contractors, volunteers and other parties performing institutional services or acting on behalf of the College are required to comply with this policy.

An “education record” is any record that is directly related to a student and maintained by the College or a party acting for the College. Exceptions to this definition include but are not limited to:

  • sole possession records or private notes held by a school official that are not accessible or released to another person;
  • law enforcement records that are solely for law enforcement purposes and maintained solely by the law enforcement unit;
  • records relating to the employment of students by the College (unless the employment is contingent on their status as students);
  • treatment records maintained by the College or the student health clinic and disclosed only to individuals providing treatment;
  • records that contain information about an individual obtained only after that person is no longer a student at the institution (e.g., alumni records); and
  • grades on peer-graded papers before they are collected and recorded by an instructor.

An “eligible student” is a student who is 18 years of age or older or who attends a postsecondary institution at any age. For purposes of this policy, a student is deemed to have “attended” Bridgewater College if he/she is currently, or was formerly, enrolled in a credit or non-credit class at the College. A student is enrolled in a class once he/she has registered for the class.

Other applicable definitions are set out in the text of the policy below.


Student Rights

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”) affords eligible students certain rights
with respect to their education records. These rights include:

  • The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days after the day the College receives a request for access. A student must submit to the registrar, associate academic dean, head of the academic department, or other appropriate official, a written request that identifies the record(s) the student wishes to inspect. The College official will make arrangements 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 College official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.

    Notwithstanding the foregoing, students do not have the right to review the following
    • financial records of the student’s parent;
    • letters and statements of recommendation for which the student has waived their right of access, or which were placed in the file before January 1, 1975;
    • education records containing information about more than one student, in which
      case the College will permit access only to that part of the record which pertains to
      the inquiring student; and
    • records which are excluded from the FERPA definition of education records.

      Except as required by 34 C.F.R. § 99.10, FERPA does not require the College to provide a copy of an education record.
  • The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA.
    • A student who wishes to amend a record should write the College official responsible for the record, clearly identifying the part of the record the student wants amended, and specifying why it should be amended.
    • if the College decides not to amend the record as requested, the College will notify the student in writing of the decision and the student’s right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures, consistent with 34 C.F.R. §§ 99.21 and 99.22, will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
  • The right to provide written consent before the College discloses personally identifiable information (“PII”) from the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA or another statute or regulation authorizes disclosure without consent. The types of disclosures permitted without student consent are described below.
  • The right to file a complaint with the Student Privacy Policy Office of the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the College to comply with the requirements of FERPA:

    Student Privacy Policy Office
    U.S. Department of Education
    400 Maryland Avenue, S.W.
    Washington, DC 20202-5920

Types, Locations, and Custodians of Records

The following is a non-exhaustive list of the types of records that Bridgewater College maintains, their locations, and custodians.

Admissions RecordsAdmissions or Registrar’s OfficeDirector of Admissions or Registrar
Financial Aid RecordsFinancial Aid OfficeDirector of Financial Aid
Cumulative Academic RecordsOffice of the RegistrarRegistrar
Health RecordsHealth CenterDirector, Student Health Services
Financial RecordsOffice of Student AccountsVice President of Finance
Placement RecordsCareer Services CenterDirector of Career Services
Progress RecordsOffice of the RegistrarRegistrar
Disciplinary RecordsStudent Life, Academic Affairs or President’s OfficeAssociate Academic Dean, Vice President for
Student Life and Dean of Students, or Provost and Executive Vice President
Student Employment RecordsFinancial Aid Office or
Human Resources Office
Director of Financial Aid; Director of Human Resources

Nothing in this policy requires the continued maintenance of any student record for any particular length of time; provided, however, if a request for access to an education record is made, the record will not be destroyed before the custodian has provided access.

Disclosure of Education Records

As described above, a student has the right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information in their education records, except to the extent that FERPA or any other law authorizes disclosure without consent. Written consent (which may be electronic) must be dated, and must specify the education records to be released, the purpose for the disclosure, and to whom the disclosure may be made. If the consent is in electronic format, it must identify and authenticate that the student is the source of the electronic consent.

FERPA permits the disclosure of PII from a student’s education records without the consent of the student if the disclosure meets certain conditions found in 34 C.F.R. § 99.31. Except for disclosures (i) to College officials, (ii) related to some judicial orders or lawfully issued subpoenas, (iii) of directory information, (iv) to the student’s parent, or (v) to a person with the student’s consent, FERPA requires the institution to record the disclosure. The record must include the names of all individuals, agencies, or organizations that have requested or obtained disclosure of a student’s education record and the legitimate interest those parties had in requesting or obtaining disclosure. An eligible student has a right to inspect and review the record of disclosures.

The College may disclose PII from a student’s education record without obtaining prior written consent of the student if the disclosure is:

  • To school officials, including faculty, whom the College has determined to have legitimate educational interests. A “school official” includes a person employed by the College in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and counseling and health staff); a person serving on the board of trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary, grievance or honor committee. A school official also may include a volunteer, consultant, contractor or other party (i) to whom the College has outsourced institutional services or functions for which the College would otherwise use its own employees and (ii) who is under the direct control of the College with respect to the use and maintenance of PII from education records, such as an attorney, auditor or collection agent, or a student volunteering to assist a 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 responsibilities for the College.
  • To officials of another school, on request, where the student seeks or intends to enroll, or where the student is already enrolled if the disclosure is for purposes related to the student’s enrollment or transfer, subject to the requirements of 34 C.F.R. § 99.34.
  • To authorized representatives of the U. S. Comptroller General, the U. S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or State and local educational authorities, such as a State postsecondary authority that is responsible for supervising the College’s State-supported education programs. Disclosures under this provision may be made, subject to the requirements of 34 C.F.R. § 99.35, in connection with an audit or evaluation of Federal- or State-supported education programs, or for the enforcement of or compliance with Federal legal requirements that relate to those programs. These entities may make further disclosures of PII to outside entities that are designated by them as their authorized representatives to conduct any audit, evaluation, or enforcement or compliance activity on their behalf.
  • In connection with financial aid for which the student has applied or which the student has received, if the information is necessary to determine eligibility for the aid, determine the amount of the aid, determine the conditions of the aid, or enforce the terms and conditions of the aid.
  • To organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, the College, in order to: (a) develop, validate, or administer predictive tests; (b) administer student aid programs; or (c) improve instruction.
  • To accrediting organizations to carry out their accrediting functions.
  • To parents of an eligible student if the student is a dependent as defined in section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code.
  • To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena.
  • To appropriate parties, including a student’s parents, in connection with a health or safety emergency, subject to 34 C.F.R. § 99.36, if the College determines that there is an articulable and significant threat to the health or safety of a student or other individual(s).
  • Information the College has designated as “directory information” under 34 C.F.R. § 99.37 (see below).
  • To a victim of an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense, subject to the requirements of 34 C.F.R. § 99.39. The disclosure may only include the final results of the disciplinary proceeding with respect to that alleged crime or offense, regardless of the finding.
  • To the general public, the final results of a disciplinary proceeding, subject to the requirements of 34 C.F.R. § 99.39, if the College determines the student is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense and the student has committed a violation of the College’s rules or policies with respect to the allegation made against him or her.
  • To parents of a student regarding the student’s violation of any Federal, State, or local law, or of any rule or policy of the College, governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance if the College determines the student committed a disciplinary violation and the student is under the age of 21.
  • To disclose information provided to the College under Section 170101 of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (42 U.S.C. 14071) concerning registered sex offenders who are required to register under that section.
  • To the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) / Department of Homeland Security (DHS) concerning a nonimmigrant alien to comply with Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) reporting obligations, as mandated by the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, the USA PATRIOT Act, the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002, and the regulation at 8 C.F.R. § 214.1(h).
  • To Veteran’s Administration officials pursuant to 38 U.S.C. § 3690(c).
  • Pursuant to any other Federal or State law that is not pre-empted by FERPA.

Directory Information

FERPA permits the disclosure of information deemed by the College to be “Directory Information” without written consent of a student. Directory Information includes:

  • Name
  • Date and place of birth
  • Previous educational institutions attended and degrees awarded
  • Current enrollment status
  • Dates of attendance
  • Current classification (e.g., first year student; full-time/part-time)
  • Major(s)/Minor(s)
  • Degree(s) sought
  • Expected date of completion of degree requirements and graduation
  • Degree(s) earned and dates awarded
  • Past and present participation in officially recognized sports, activities and organizations
  • Scholarships, awards, honors and special recognitions (e.g., Dean’s List)
  • Height and weight of members of athletic teams
  • Photographic and videotaped image

If a student wishes to prohibit the College from disclosing Directory Information, the student must notify the registrar in writing that he or she does not wish to permit such disclosure. A request for non-disclosure of Directory Information is in effect from the date received in writing from the student until rescinded in writing by the student. A student should carefully consider the impact of a decision to withhold Directory Information. The College will not be permitted to provide the student’s name or other information in news releases to the media (e.g., Dean’s List), in campus event programs (e.g., award ceremonies, plays or musical performances), or to prospective employers. This includes verification of education/degrees earned at the College. The form to “opt out” of Directory Information is available upon request in the Registrar’s Office, which is located in room 100 of Flory Hall. Completed forms must be delivered in person to the Registrar’s Office.

Students are encouraged to contact the College Registrar (Flory Hall, ext. 5313, email address sphelps2@bridgewater.edu) with questions about this Policy.