Guide to Release of Student Information

Hobart and William Smith Colleges use the highest standards of reasonableness both in providing students access to their records and in assuring the confidentiality of these records in terms of their release to third parties.

1. Directory Information. Hobart and William Smith Colleges has designated directory information, according to the Family Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 as Amended, to be the student's:

  • Full name
  • Address
  • Email address
  • Telephone number
  • Class/year level
  • Dates of attendance
  • Date of graduation
  • Degree and major, awards or honors received
  • Most recent previous educational institution attended by the student
  • Date and place of birth
  • Activities list
  • Height and weight of athletes
  • Photograph
  • Student ID number, user ID, or other unique personal identifier used to communicate in electronic systems that cannot be used to access education records without a PIN, password, etc. (A student's SSN, in whole or in part, cannot be used for this purpose.)

The above information may be released by the Colleges at any time to any persons or agencies deemed to have a legitimate interest. Students have the right to limit disclosure of directory information. Such requests must be filed annually (by the third week of fall semester classes) or through the student self-service system via the HWS PeopleSoft Website. (See "Campus Personal Information" and click on "FERPA Restrictions")

2. *Restricted Information (See availability of restricted information)

  • Student Social Security Number
  • Courses elected
  • Schedule of classes
  • Grades, academic evaluations, GPA, number of courses completed
  • Academic transcripts
  • Student's gender
  • Financial Aid Information (Separate consent form is sent to students and is valid throughout his/her enrollment at the Colleges and thereafter but may be modified or rescinded in writing by the student.)
  • Information not specified as "Directory Information"

*AVAILABILITY OF RESTRICTED INFORMATION. Educational records are considered confidential and may be viewed by the student. They cannot be released to a third party without written consent from the student indicating which records are to be released, to whom and for what purpose. This includes copies of grade reports and various other documents. There are, however, exceptions to this release policy. The colleges may disclose educational records without written consent of students to the following:

  • personnel within the colleges determined to have a legitimate educational interest in the records, and who gave assurance that the records will be used in an ethical and professional manner,
  • officials of other institutions in which the student seeks to enroll, on condition that the issuing institution makes a reasonable attempt to inform the student of the disclosure,
  • in connection with a student's application for or receipt of financial aid,
  • organizations conducting studies to develop, validate, and administer predictive tests to administer student aid programs, or to improve instruction,
  • accrediting organizations carrying out their accrediting functions,
  • parents of a student who have established that student's status as a dependent (parents must show proof of dependency by submitting a copy of their income tax statement). Parents of a student who is not a dependent in accordance with IRS definitions have no access rights to the college educational records without student's written consent,
  • in compliance with judicial orders or lawful subpoenas. The student must be notified of such lawful order or subpoena before the records are released (unless otherwise specified according to the provisions outlined in the USA Patriot Act),
  • persons in an emergency, if the knowledge of information, in fact, is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other persons.

Notification of Rights Under FERPA

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) afford students certain rights with respect to their education records. They are:

  1. The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days of the day the Colleges receives a request for access.

    Students should submit to the registrar or dean written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The College 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 College official to whom he request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.

  1. The right to request the amendment of the student's education records that the student believes is inaccurate or misleading.

    Students may ask the Colleges to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. They should write the Colleges' official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading.

    If the Colleges decide not to amend the record as requested by the student, the Colleges will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his or her right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.

  1. The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.

    One exception which permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to school official with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the Colleges 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 colleges has contracted (Such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks.

    A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility.

  1. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Hobart and William Smith Colleges to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA are:

Family Policy Compliance Office
U. S. Department of Education
600 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-4605