SOUTHERN MISS AND FERPA COMPLIANCE POLICY
The University of Southern Mississippi, consistent with the regulations of the Family
Education Rights and Privacy Act as amended in 1974, ensures students the right to
inspect and review their educational records within 45 days from the time of the request.
Reason for Policy/Purpose
This policy is required for the effective communication of university policy regarding
Who Needs to Know This Policy
All members of The University of Southern Mississippi community.
Website Address for this Policy
In addition, the law prohibits the release of personally identifiable information
without the student's permission, with the following exceptions:
- To University of Southern Mississippi school officials who have a legitimate educational
interest. The University of Southern Mississippi considers a school official to have
a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record
in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility.
- To federal, state, and local authorities involving an audit or evaluation of compliance
with educational programs.
- To a parent of dependent students for income tax purposes as defined by section 152
of the IRS code of 1954. A 1040 form may be appropriate.
- In a health or safety emergency.
- To comply with a judicial order or subpoena.
- In connection with Financial Aid including Veteran benefits.
- To the alleged victim of any crime or violence, as described in section 16 of title
18, United States Code.
- To organizations, persons, or company with whom the University has contracted; individuals
serving on the Institution of Higher Learning Board; students serving on an official
committee; a person assisting another school official in performing his/her task.
- When an individual with an education record is deceased.
- Designated officials as defined by the Patriot Act of 2001.
- Information deemed by the University as directory information.
- The University of Southern Mississippi has designated the following items as directory
- Student's Name
- Telephone Number
- Campus E-mail Address
- Dates of Attendance
- Degree(s) Earned
- Previous Institutions Attended
- Participation in Student Organizations
- Participation in University recognized organization and activities
- Weight and height of athletic team member
- Honors and awards
- Student's photo
- Dean's/President's List
- A student must request the University not to release directory information; however,
you should consider the consequences of that action before making the decision to
do so. If you choose to have directory information withheld, you should complete a
written request provided by the Office of the Registrar located in Kennard-Washington
Hall, Room 110.
- The University reserves the right to deny copies of records, including transcripts,
not required to be made available if student has an unpaid balance to the University.
RELEASE OF EDUCATION RECORDS
The University is authorized to provide access to student records to campus officials
and employees who have legitimate educational interest in such access, without the
student's written consent. These persons are those who have responsibilities in connection
with campus academic, administrative or service functions and who have reason for
using student records connected with their campus or other related academic/administrative
responsibilities as opposed to a personal or private interest. Such determination
will be made on a case-by-case basis.
University officials will release educational information upon receipt of a signed,
dated, written consent of the student which must specify the records that may be disclosed
and identify the party to whom the disclosure may be made.
To officials of another school, school system, or an institution of postsecondary
education where the student seeks admission or is enrolled.
Parents of a dependent student, as defined by the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, Section
152, and who supply supporting documentation, may be granted access to a student's
educational record under some circumstances.
Other circumstances that allow access to a student's educational record:
In connection with Financial Aid; to organizations who are conducting studies on behalf
of educational agencies; to federal or state educational authorities; to accrediting
organizations; in compliance with a lawfully issued subpoena; in connection with a
health or safety emergency.
In the course of fulfilling its contractual obligations with third party vendors contracted
with the University. In this capacity, the third party vendor is acting as a legal
agent ("school official") of the university and will use the confidential information
for the purposes stated in the agreement. Currently, the university has entered into
agreements with, but not limited to, the following vendors:
- Aramark Food Services
- Barnes and Nobles Bookstore iModules
- Harris Connect
- Higher One
- ACS - American Computer Services, INC.
- National Student Clearinghouse
- The University of Southern Mississippi Foundation
- The University of Southern Mississippi Alumni Association
- The University of Southern Mississippi Athletics Foundation
The right to inspect and review all materials in your file(s) except items not considered
an educational record as follows:
- Sole possession records or private notes held by school officials.
- Law enforcement or campus police security records that are solely for law enforcement
purposes and maintained solely by the law enforcement unit.
- Confidential letters and recommendations placed in students' files prior to January
1, 1975, provided these letters were collected under established policies of confidentiality
and were used only for the purposes for which specifically collected.
- Confidential letters and statements of recommendation, placed in students' records
after January1, 1975, to which the student has waived his/her right to inspect and
that are related to the students' admission, application for employment or job placement,
or receipt of honors. Education records containing information about more than one
student; however, in such cases the institution must permit access to that part of
the record which pertains only to the inquiring student.
- Records relating to treatment provided by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist,
or other recognized professionals or paraprofessionals and disclosed only to individuals
FERPA afford individuals the opportunity to challenge or amend his/her education record
if inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of privacy or other rights of the student.
The student may submit a written request to the Registrar's Office that the record
be amended or the FERPA. violation be investigated. The University Registrar's Office
is located in Kennard-Washington Hall, Room 110.
Within 60 days of receipt of the written request, the University will inform the student
as to whether the record will be amended. The request should include justification
for the challenge. A grade may be challenged on the grounds that it was inaccurately
If the decision is negative, the student may submit a written request for a hearing
in order to challenge the content of the record(s). The hearing committee will inform
the student of the date, place, and time of the hearing.
Challenges and requests for a hearing must be in writing and should be directed to
the Office of the University Registrar.
School officials' responsibility regarding privacy of students' records.
- A school official is a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory,
academic or research, or support staff position; a person or company with whom the
University has contracted; student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary
committee or a person assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks.
- It is the responsibility of each school official to understand his or her legal responsibilities
under FERPA. These include maintaining the privacy of students' grades for any course
or for any activity which is part of a course.
- This policy is violated if a student's grade is (1) openly mentioned in class; (2)
publically posted in a personally identifiable manner such as social security number
or student identification number; (3) paper, test, or projects in public view (4)
released over the telephone or electronically to any person other than the student
or his/her designee with written consent.
- Disclosure of a student's' grades by a faculty member may be made only in a manner
that makes the grades identifiable only to the faculty member and the student.
- Upon completion of training, school officials will be provided documentation he/she
realizes discloser of non-directory information violates FERPA and places the University
at risk of losing federal funding.
Individuals have the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education
concerning alleged failures by the college 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, DC 20202-4605
Questions about the policies and procedures about the University's "Policy on Student
Records" or about the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, should be
Attn: Greg Pierce, University Registrar
The University of Southern Mississippi
118 College Drive #5006
Hattiesburg, MS 39406-0001
Telephone number: 601-266-5006
The Registrar is responsible for the review of this policy every four years (or whenever
circumstances require immediate review).
Amendments: Month, Day, Year – summary of changes
11/01/11: Formatted for Institutional Policies page.
02/26/13: Formatted for template. Minor editing throughout.
11/08/18: Added word "campus" before email address.