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REGISTRAR:  Student Privacy Rights

Student records maintained by Northern State University include directory information and educational records. As custodians of student records in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, NSU assumes the obligation to ensure full protection of student records, including maintaining the confidentiality of educational records. Student records are identified and accessed by social security number.

Directory Information

Directory information may be released publicly and includes the student's name, home address, local address, e-mail address, telephone listing, date and place of birth, major field of study, class level, participation in officially recognized activities, weight and height of members of athletic teams, dates of enrollment, degrees and awards received and the most recent educational institution attended by the student. A student may request that directory information not be made public by completing a form in the Registrar's Office asking that directory information be treated the same as educational records. While such a signed form is in effect, NSU will verify only whether or not an individual is currently enrolled. This request will remain in effect until student requests its removal in writing, or until such time as the student graduates or otherwise discontinues attendance at the institution.

Educational Records

Educational records are those records, files, documents, and other materials which contain information directly related to a student's academic progress, financial status, medical condition, etc. Educational records may not be released without the written consent of the student to any individual, agency, or organization other than the following authorized personnel:

  1. University personnel who have legitimate educational interests;
  2. Officials of other institutions in which the student intends to enroll, with the condition that the student be notified of the request in advance so as to have the opportunity for a hearing to challenge the record if so desired;
  3. Parents of a dependent student as defined by Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 (this Section sets forth the rules for claiming deductions on the 1040 Form);
  4. Authorized representatives of the Comptroller General, the Secretary of Education, the administrative head of an educational agency, or state education authorities;
  5. Officials responsible for acting in conjunction with the student's application for, or receipt of, financial aid;
  6. Authorized individuals or organizations conducting studies for NSU for the purpose of developing, validating, or administering predictive tests; for administering student aid programs; and for improving instruction. These studies must be conducted so as to not permit personal identification of students and their parents by persons other than representatives of NSU, and the information is to be destroyed when it is no longer needed for the purpose for which it was collected. Authorization for such activities will come from the Registrar.

The disclosure of educational records to family members and in response to subpoenas will be carried out as follows:

  1. NSU officials are expected to comply with judicial orders and subpoenas. Students affected by such action shall be notified of the Universities intention to comply with court orders, unless the subpoena specifies that the student should not be notified.
  2. Spouses or other family members of students may receive student record information when a written consent form is submitted by the student. This consent remains in effect until a written request revoking the permission is submitted to the Registrar’s Office, or until the student graduates or otherwise discontinues attendance.
  3. Records of former students, including deceased students, are confidential except that records of deceased former students may be released or disclosed at the request of a parent, personal representative, or other qualified representative of the student's estate, or pursuant to a court order to subpoena.

Upon written request, NSU shall provide student access to a student's own educational records with the exception of:

  1. Financial aid records of the student's parents or guardian;
  2. Confidential letters of recommendation where the student has signed a waiver of right-of-access, or letters of recommendation written prior to January 1, 1975.

NSU personnel must produce records for inspection in a timely manner, with the exception of those previously noted. The following procedures should be followed when students are seeking access to records:

  1. Student must provide proper identification;
  2. Designated staff should review and interpret the contents of the record with the student;
  3. Students should be free to examine the content of the record and receive a copy if requested. No materials should be removed from the record.

When a student has challenged specific data and has requested amendment of the record:

  1. The designated department or staff member may agree to amend selected information; or,
  2. The student may request an administrative hearing before the Educational Records Appeals Committee.
  3. If the hearing results in a record being amended, the student shall be so advised. If the record is not amended, the student will be notified and informed of his/her right to place a statement with the record commenting on the contested information.

Each NSU office which releases student records must maintain with the student file a written form indicating the date of release for records (except when released to NSU personnel) and the legitimate educational or other interest of the person seeking the information.

Medical and Counseling Services Records

A student's medical record is confidential and any portion of the record is available to the student through the Health Services Office. Medical information will only be released to a third party with the written consent of the student. Medical records are subject to subpoena.  In situations where a student's life is in danger or in which his/her condition results in a danger to others, the facts pertaining to this danger may be communicated to the student's nearest responsible relative, without the student's consent, if judged necessary by the Vice President for Student Affairs. Information in a student's Health Service record may be released by the President of Northern State University or the Vice President of Student Affairs in response to a health or safety emergency.

All counseling records are confidential, and any portion of the student's counseling record used in connection with treatment is available to the student for review. Counseling records are released to a third party only with written consent from the student. The counseling staff may discuss pertinent information about the student for the purposes of treatment planning and feedback.

Disciplinary and Hearing Records

Disciplinary and hearing records are confidential in accordance with Board of Regents' policy. These records are available for student inspection, and are maintained in accordance with policies outlined in the section Educational Records above. Copies of records created by the Aberdeen Police Department while on duty on the NSU campus may be part of disciplinary files and as such are accessible and maintained in accordance with policies outlined in the section Educational Records above.

Official Transcripts of Academic Records

The Registrar compiles, maintains, and administers official transcripts of record. Each student's official transcript of record contains the following information:

  1. Name and address of student; 
  2. Social security number; 
  3. Transcript level, e.g., graduate or undergraduate; 
  4. Degrees awarded; 
  5. Date of graduation from NSU; 
  6. Majors and minors; 
  7. Transfer credits accepted, if any; 
  8. Courses taken, hours completed, grades received, grading system, and NSU, transfer and cumulative grade point averages. 

The Office of the Registrar shall send, issue or release an official transcript only at the student's written request, or in accordance with procedures outlined in the section Educational Records above. A transcript shall contain only the information listed above, and shall not be furnished with information omitted or deleted. The Registrar shall maintain a register of requests for official transcripts; this register is part of the student record. A student who fails to pay a debt owed to NSU may have his/her official transcript withheld until the debt is paid.

Annual Notice

The Registrar is responsible for ensuring that Northern State University gives students annual notice of rights under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, where copies of this policy may be obtained, and the right to file a complaint regarding violation of FERPA.

If you wish to give permission to a third party to have access to your grades and/or billing information, you may sign and submit this form to the Registrar’s Office in DH 103.

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