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The summary below describes, in general terms, the major student rights under FERPA. For more detailed information, the policy in its entirety should be consulted. The full text of MIT’s Student Information Policy is available on the Policies and Procedures Website.
Under FERPA, education records include most tangible materials, including computer records, maintained by MIT that relate directly to an identifiable student currently or formerly enrolled at MIT. These include admissions records, grades, most course work, exams, UROP records, disciplinary records, and financial aid records, as well as gender, nationality, race, ethnicity, and identification photographs. Education records do not include Directory Information, as described below, or those records of Institute faculty and staff members that are made for, and restricted to, their personal use. Other kinds of information, such as medical and law enforcement records, are also excluded from the definition of education records. These are sometimes governed by other laws and/or policies.
A student has the right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records, except to the extent FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
Disclosure Within MIT. Under one FERPA exception, individually identifiable information contained in a student’s education records may, without the student’s consent, be disclosed within MIT to Institute officials with a legitimate educational interest, meaning officials who need that specific information in order to fulfill their professional responsibilities. A school official is a person employed by the Institute in an administrative, supervisory, academic, or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the Institute has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the MIT Corporation; or a student serving on an official committee, or assisting other school officials in performing their tasks. In addition, victims of crimes of violence will be informed of the outcomes of disciplinary proceedings about those incidents.
Disclosure Outside of MIT. As a general rule, individually identifiable information contained in a student’s education records may be disclosed to persons outside of MIT only with the student’s prior, written consent. MIT discloses education records without a student’s consent to other schools in which the student seeks enrollment or is enrolled. The student has the right, upon request, to a copy of the records disclosed to another school. Although parents normally are not entitled to review students’ education records without the students’ consent, appropriate MIT representatives may consult with parents and others in emergencies when health and safety issues so require. Disclosure may also be made without consent to government agencies or in accordance with legal process only to the extent required by law.
A student’s name, term and permanent home address, MIT office address, term phone number, term email address, course, year and registration type, degrees received, date of birth, dates of attendance, honors and awards received, and for an intercollegiate athletic team member, height and weight, is designated as a student’s "directory information."
This information may be disclosed within and outside of MIT without a student’s consent. Students have the right to require that some or all of their directory information not be disclosed (except as otherwise permitted under FERPA). In order to prevent publication in the printed Student Directory published each fall, this request must be made at the very beginning of the fall term. See procedure for suppressing directory information for details.
A student has the right to review his or her own education records within 45 days after making a written request to the department or unit that maintains the records, to the Registrar, to the Office of the Dean for Undergraduate Education, or to the Office of the Dean for Graduate Students, identifying the records the student wishes to inspect. The appropriate MIT 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 MIT official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed. The right to access includes the right to obtain copies. The right does not, however, extend to portions of a student’s education records that relate to other identifiable students.
A student has the right to request the amendment of information in his or her education records that the student believes is inaccurate or misleading. Such a request may be made to the custodian of the record, to the Office of the Dean for Undergraduate Education, or to the Office of the Dean for Graduate Students and should clearly identify the part of the record the student wants changed, and state why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the requested amendment is not made, MIT will notify the student of this decision and that the student has the right to a hearing concerning the requested amendment. Additional information on the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when he/she is notified of the right to a hearing. If the correction is not made as a result of the hearing, the student may include his or her own statement in the record. Because grades and evaluations are the result of academic judgment, they are not subject to this type of challenge.
A student has the right to file a complaint with the US Department of Education concerning alleged failures by MIT to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is: Family Policy Compliance Office, US Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, DC, 02020-4605.