Records Policy – FERPA, The Buckley Amendment

In 1974, Congress enacted into law the Family Educational Records Privacy Act (FERPA).  This act sets out requirements of educational institutions to protect the privacy of students and their records.  Specifically, the act governs access to education records maintained by educational institutions and the release of information contained in those records.  The act gives students enrolled in postsecondary institutions “ownership” and control of their educational records and in most circumstances information in students’ educational records will not be released without their written permission.  Exceptions to the release and sharing of information are specified in the following section.  Questions regarding FERPA should be directed to the Vice President of Student Affairs (University Commons 354 suite).

General Principles Governing Use of Student Records

The following principles guide the professional staff of the University in the utilization of student records:

  1. Need for records. Unless a demonstrable need for a record is established, which is reasonable and justifiably related to the basic purposes and necessities of the University, no record should be made or maintained.
  2. Confidentiality. In its relation with students, the University will consider confidential communications and records. This policy ensures that educational and counseling processes are carried forward in the most effective possible manner. The obligation of confidentiality is relative rather than absolute since there are considerations that can alter it. This obligation may lapse when the common welfare of the individual demands revelation, for example, in the case of suicidal preoccupation, expressed homicidal thoughts, actions or similar cases. Likewise, material which is already public or can easily become so is not bound by confidentiality.
  3. Release of Information. The University may release information of a public or directory nature without the student’s knowledge or consent on an individual basis. Examples of public/directory information include the student’s name; student’s home and campus address and telephone number; dates of attendance at the University; enrollment status (full- or part-time); major, degree earned, and age.

The acquisition and dissemination of information for records is based on a respect and concern for the privacy and protection of the individual student. All persons handling records shall be advised of the confidential nature of such information and their responsibilities in this regard. Evaluation and interpretative information about a student shall only be interpreted by a professional and qualified staff person.

In accordance with FERPA, students may request that directory/public information not be released. Students wishing to withhold directory information (see section 3 above) must complete and submit a written request to the Registrar by Tuesday, August 18, 2021. Forms for this purpose are available in the Registrar’s Office and the Office of Student Affairs.

Requests for public or directory-type student data from agencies outside the University which are not considered educational institutions shall be referred to the student-faculty directory when deemed appropriate. The student-faculty directory is the private property of Millikin University and will be restricted as such. It will not be released to non-educational agencies without permission of the Vice President of Student Affairs or the University Registrar.

Providing the following student information or material is available, it may be released without the student’s knowledge or consent on an individual basis.

  1. Request from Prospective Employers - The University will respond to inquiries for non-public or non-directory-type information only with the written consent of the student involved. Information submitted by applicants to the Center for Academic and Professional Performance is considered to be confidential and will be released subject to conditions and stipulated by the applicant and the Center for Academic and Professional Performance at the time of registration.
  2. Request from Other Educational Institutions - The University will send transcripts to other educational institutions only with the written consent of the student concerned. If a present or former student applies for admission to another educational institution, the University may provide the educational institution with requested disciplinary information with the consent of the student.
  3. Investigators Representing Private or Governmental Agencies
    • Unless an investigator has written authorization from the individual who is the subject of an investigation, we will disclose only public information about that individual. We require, therefore, that the investigators obtain an authorization prior to visiting the University for the purpose of investigating a student’s or former student’s records.
    • If the investigator has written authorization or if there are questions of interpretation, he should be referred to the Vice President of Student Affairs.         
  4. Requests From Faculty Members – Faculty members may request information contained in permanent academic records when needed in discharge of their official duties. Faculty members may request confidential information (1) with the student’s consent or (2) when they are mutually involved with a counselor, dean or other authorized person concerning the student.
  5. Information about Organizational, Political, Racial or Religious Affiliation - Organizational membership is not recorded in student records unless the student expressly requests inclusion of such information, and this information is released only if the student so requests. Information relative to an individual’s race or creed may be provided under circumstances directed by law.
  6. Information about student views, beliefs and political associations which     professors acquire in the course of their work as instructors, advisors and counselors should be confidential. Protection against improper disclosure is a serious professional obligation. For the purpose of communication with the University, student organizations are required to provide the Director of Campus Life for Inclusion with the names of the officers to whom communications are to be directed.
  7. Research Information – Researchers have the right to study human phenomena and the responsibility to seek the cooperation of individuals and the University in a manner which clearly respects the right of privacy and the protection of anonymity. The confidentiality of the individual’s record is paramount. When there is any doubt about the identity of the student or the consent of the data being safeguarded, the person’s consent to use it should be formally obtained.
  8. Academic Achievement – Academic eligibility of students being considered for:
    • admission or re-admission to the University,
    • participation in intercollegiate athletics,
    • membership in honor societies or for honors, awards or scholarships, and
    • campaigning for student government positions may be furnished to the individuals or committee responsible for making such decisions. Students involved in or seeking involvement in Greek social organizations may sign a consent form permitting the organization to receive academic information for eligibility requirements and chapter scholastic reports.

Any student whose name or address is changed must report such changes to Telephone Services, Shilling 105, (217-424-5066) within five business days.