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Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

Student Records

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 as amended (FERPA), provides educational institutions and students certain rights and protections concerning access to student educational records, as well as the content of those records. A brief unofficial summary of these rights and protections follows.

Within the Knox community, only those persons acting on College business are allowed access to student education records. These persons include personnel in the Office of the President, Vice President for Finance, Office of Advancement, Registrar, Counseling Services, Financial Aid, Admission, Dean of Students, Dean of the College, the Business Office, Career Services, members (including student members) of faculty committees, academic advisers and academic personnel, within the limitations of their need to know.

The College may disclose "Directory Information" to the public unless a student specifically requests, in writing, that some or all of the information not be released. Directory information includes: student's name, ID picture, email addresses, home and campus addresses, home and campus telephone numbers, date and place of birth, citizenship, parents' or guardians' name, address and phone number, name of faculty adviser, major(s), minor, academic course and program enrollment (including participation in off-campus study programs), dates of attendance at Knox, class year, degrees and awards received, previous educational institutions, participation in extracurricular activities, and weight and height of members of athletic teams. Students may withhold all or categories of directory information by submitting a Federal Educational Rights Privacy Act Form (PDF) to the Office of the Registrar. A withholding request is only valid for the remainder of the academic year after the date of submittal. Pursuant to the Solomon Amendment to FERPA, U.S. military recruiters have the right to request and receive directory information from the College not specifically withheld by the student prior to the information request. The College reserves the right to release directory information in campus directories prepared for publication prior to the receipt of a withholding request. Students must submit a withholding request for every academic year they attend Knox.

No other information in the student's educational records will be released to the public without the student's written authorization to do so, unless the student has previously waived his or her right to access and release of the information.

The College may disclose educational record information to parents of a student who is treated as a dependent for income tax purposes. If the student does not qualify as a dependent, a formal release must be submitted by the student to permit a parent to have access to the student's educational record.

This act also provides that the student has the right of access to his or her own records, the right to challenge the contents of those records if the student believes the information contained in the record is inaccurate or misleading, and the right to have explanatory statements included in the records. Students who wish to review materials which are part of their record should make a request to the Dean of Students.

Complaints of alleged violations may be addressed to:
Family Policy Compliance Office
US Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202-5901

Complaints must be submitted not later than 180 days from the date you learned of the circumstances of the alleged violation. Complaints must also contain specific allegations of fact, giving reasonable cause to believe that a violation has occurred, including:

  • Relevant dates, such as the date of a request or a disclosure and the date the parent learned of the alleged violation;
  • Names and titles of those school officials and other third parties involved;
  • A specific description of the education record around which the alleged violation occurred;
  • A description of any contact with school officials regarding the matter, including dates and estimated times of telephone calls and/or copies of any correspondence exchanged between the parent and the school regarding the matter;
  • The name and address of the school, school district, and superintendent of the district;
  • Any additional evidence that would be helpful in the consideration of the complaint.

Within FERPA guidelines, Knox College will make every effort to cooperate when parents raise concerns about their daughter's or son's academic progress or personal adjustment. Information especially for parents about FERPA is available, as is the full FERPA text.