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Student Records

General Policy

The University of Alabama subscribes to the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers’ (AACRAO) ethical principles for confidentiality of student records. These principles are publicized in Guidelines for Postsecondary Institutions for Implementation of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, and as amended. The University has recognized the right of privacy of student records by requiring requests for transcripts to be in writing, by providing limited directory information, and by exercising strict control over storage of, and access to, records. In accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, a part of the Education Amendments of 1974, the following policies and procedures govern the retention and the allowable disclosure of students’ records.

Definitions

  1. Eligible student – Any person who is enrolled or who has previously enrolled at The University of Alabama. Persons who have applied for admission, or who have been admitted but never matriculated, are not students of The University of Alabama. University of Alabama students who apply for admission to the Graduate School, the Law School , or the College of Community Health Sciences (which have separate procedures) but never enrolled are not considered students by those divisions.
  2. Parents of Dependent Students – Dependency status, for the purpose of this policy statement, is defined in the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, Sec. 152. Basically, the test for this status is whether or not, for tax purposes, the parent will be able to claim the student as a dependent on his/her most recent Federal Income Tax form.
  3. Education Records – Those records, files, documents, and other materials that contain information directly related to the student and that are maintained by The University of Alabama or by staff members acting for the University. Operational records such as student class schedule forms, registration information forms, drop/add slips and the like will be destroyed on an established schedule. Education records do not include:
    1. Records of institutional, supervisory, and administrative personnel which are in the sole possession of the maker and which are not accessible to any other person accept a substitute.
    2. Records of the University Police Department which are maintained solely for law enforcement officials and which are not made available to persons other than law enforcement officials of the same jurisdiction, subject to the provision of 1990 federal guidelines.
    3. Employment records of University employees who are not in attendance at the University.
    4. Students’ records that have been made and/or maintained by health care professionals, or for the purpose of providing treatment or other remediation.
  4. Directory Information – Certain information may be made available on University of Alabama students without the previous consent of the student. However, the student is entitled, during the regular registration period, to request that such information not be made available to the general public. Directory information consists of the student’s name, address, telephone number, major field of study, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, e-mail address, and the most recent previous educational agency or institution attended by the student.

Access to Educational Records

Records on individual students may be disclosed under the following circumstances:

  1. Student Requests – Any student enrolled at The University of Alabama has the right to request the opportunity to examine his/her record as maintained in any of the offices on the University campus. The request must be made in writing, and the office concerned has 45 days in which to assemble data and make provisions necessary for the student to examine the record. Examination of the records must either take place in the presence of a University official or, for a reasonable fee, the student may receive a copy of the records. The following records will not be disclosed to students:
    1. Financial records of the parents of the students or any information contained therein.
    2. Confidential letters and statements of recommendation that were placed in the file prior to January 1, 1975, so long as those letters and/or statements were used solely for the purpose for which they were specifically intended.
    3. Letters of recommendation to which the student has waived his/her right to access.
  2. Requests by Parents – Parents of dependent students as defined earlier in the statement of policy have the right to examine the record of their dependent students. The same procedures and time frames apply to parental requests as to student requests. In both instances of student and parental requests for record disclosure, those requesting the record must bear the expenses of reproducing the records. No parent may see a record that his/her dependent child is not entitled to see.
  3. In addition, without first obtaining the permission of the student or the parents, student records are available to certain individuals, agencies, and institutions. These are:
    1. University officials, including instructors who have legitimate educational interest in reviewing the record.
    2. Officials of other schools or colleges in which The University of Alabama student seeks or intends to enroll.
    3. Authorized representatives of:
      1. The Comptroller General of the United States,
      2. The Secretary, Department of Education,
      3. An administrative head of an education agency,
      4. And state education authorities.
  4. The Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships or any other appropriate office or person in connection with application for or receipt of financial aid.
  5. State and local officials or authorities to whom such information is specifically required to be reported or disclosed pursuant to statutes adopted prior to November 19, 1974.
  6. Organizations, which conduct validation studies on predictive tests, administer student aid programs, and improve instruction, e.g., accrediting organizations in order to carry out their accrediting function. Such studies must be conducted in such a manner that the personal identification of individual students or parents cannot be made public.
  7. In response to a court order or subpoena on the condition that the student is notified of the order or subpoena in advance of forwarding the records.
  8. Appropriate persons in emergency situations, if the knowledge of the records is necessary to protect the health and safety of the student or other persons. The following factors will be taken into account in determining whether information will be given in emergency situations:
    1. The seriousness of the threat to health or safety of the student or other individuals;
    2. The need for the information to meet the emergency;
    3. Whether the parties to whom the information is disclosed are in a position to deal with the emergency; and
    4. The extent to which time is of the essence in dealing with the emergency.

Procedures

Access to the academic records by students and parents of dependent students may be gained by written requests, specifying the records to be released, the reason for their release, and to whom. The request must be signed and dated. After examination of the records it is possible for the student to challenge entries and add factual, explanatory information to the records. This challenge allows for the examination of the correctness of the recording of the grade, which has been given by an instructor. If the University does not amend a record as requested, the student will be informed of the right to a hearing. Results of hearings will be given in writing to eligible students according to procedures, which shall include:

  1. Hearings will be conducted within a reasonable time frame.
  2. Parents and/or eligible students will be given notice of date, place, and time of hearing.
  3. The hearing will be conducted by an official of the institution, named by the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, who does not have a direct interest in the outcome of the hearing.
  4. Parents and/or eligible students can present evidence relevant to the issue and may be represented by individuals including attorneys.
  5. Decision will be given in writing in a reasonable period of time and will be based solely on evidence presented at the hearing. The Office of Academic Records and University Registrar must keep a log of all parties, other than University employees, who have requested or obtained access to a student’s academic records. This log will contain the reason why access was requested. The log will not be made available to anyone other than the student and the University employees. Any time information concerning the student is transmitted to a third party, the party must be notified that it is illegal under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 to share information with anyone else without written permission from the student.