Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
All academic records of students who enroll at American College of Education are maintained in accordance with the provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (34 CFR Part 99), a federal law that protects student education records from disclosure by a school, college or university to a third party without the student’s consent. FERPA defines education records as those that are maintained by ACE, or a party acting on ACE’s behalf, and directly related and personally identifiable to a student [http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/pdf/ferparegs.pdf].
ACE Definition of Student
ACE defines a student (FERPA eligible) as someone who is currently enrolled for classes at ACE or who has ever been enrolled. For new ACE students, FERPA coverage begins on the first day of the first term for which they are registered for a class.
Student Rights Under FERPA
FERPA afford eligible students certain rights with respect to their education records. (An “eligible student” under FERPA is a student who is 18 years of age or older or who attends a postsecondary institution.) These rights include:
- The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days after the day ACE receives a request for access. A student should submit to the Office of the Registrar a written request that identifies the record(s) the student wishes to inspect. The school 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 Office of the Registrar, that Office shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
- The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA.
- A student who wishes to ask the school to amend a record should write the school official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record the student wants changed, and specify why it should be changed.
- If the school decides not to amend the record as requested, the school will notify the student in writing of the decision and the student’s 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.
- The right to provide written consent before the university discloses personally identifiable information (PII) from the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
The school discloses education records without a student’s prior written consent under the FERPA exception for disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by ACE in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person serving on the board of trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee. A school official also may include a volunteer or contractor outside of ACE who performs an institutional service of function for which the school would otherwise use its own employees and who is under the direct control of the school with respect to the use and maintenance of PII from education records, such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent or a student volunteering to assist 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 responsibilities for ACE.
Upon request, ACE also discloses education records without consent to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll. ACE will make a reasonable attempt to notify each student of these disclosures. Information Permitted to be Disclosed without Prior Consent (Annual FERPA Disclosure Notice)
FERPA allows ACE to disclose directory information, which includes, as applicable to ACE:
- address and telephone number
- email address
- date and place of birth
- major field of study
- grade/class level
- enrollment status (undergraduate or graduate, full-time or part-time)
- dates of attendance
- degree(s) received and date awarded
- honors and awards received
- participation in recognized activities
- most recent education agency/institution attended
Directory information does not include a student’s race, gender, social security number (or part of a social security number), grades, grade point average, country of citizenship, or religion. Directory information does include a student ID number, user ID, or other unique personal identifier used by the student for purposes of communicating in electronic systems, but only if the identifier cannot be used to access education records except when used in conjunction with one or more factors that authenticate the user’s identity, such as a personal identification number, password, or another factor known or possessed only by the authorized user.
Students wishing to prevent disclosure of the designated directory information must file written notification to this effect with the Registration Office within 30 days of enrollment. In the event such written notification is not filed, the ACE assumes the student does not object to the release of the directory information. As the directory information released is limited to the current term or the previous term, if the notification is received between terms, the student must specify whether the notification applies to the previous term or upcoming term. Further, students must be in an “enrolled” status in order to submit such notification. FERPA specifically excludes a student’s right to object to the disclosure of his name, identifier and ACE email address in a class in which he is enrolled.
FERPA permits the disclosure of PII from students’ education records, without consent of the student, if the disclosure meets certain conditions found in §99.31 of the FERPA regulations. Except for disclosures to school officials, disclosures related to some judicial orders or lawfully issued subpoenas, disclosures of directory information, and disclosures to the student, §99.32 of FERPA regulations requires the institution to record the disclosure. Eligible students have a right to inspect and review the record of disclosures.
ACE may disclose PII from the education records without obtaining prior written consent of the student -
- To other ACE school officials, including teachers, whom the College has determined to have legitimate educational interests. This includes contractors, consultants, volunteers, or other parties to whom the school has outsourced institutional services or functions, provided that the conditions listed in §99.31(a)(1)(i)(B)(1) - (a)(1)(i)(B)(2) are met. (§99.31(a)(1))
- To officials of another school where the student seeks or intends to enroll, or where the student is already enrolled if the disclosure is for purposes related to the student’s enrollment or transfer, subject to the requirements of §99.34. (§99.31(a)(2))
- To authorized representatives of the U. S. Comptroller General, the U. S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or State and local educational authorities, such as a State postsecondary authority that is responsible for supervising the university’s State-supported education programs. Disclosures under this provision may be made, subject to the requirements of §99.35, in connection with an audit or evaluation of Federal- or State-supported education programs, or for the enforcement of or compliance with Federal legal requirements that relate to those programs. These entities may make further disclosures of PII to outside entities that are designated by them as their authorized representatives to conduct any audit, evaluation, or enforcement or compliance activity on their behalf. (§§99.31(a)(3) and 99.35)
- In connection with financial aid for which the student has applied or which the student has received, if the information is necessary to determine eligibility for the aid, determine the amount of the aid, determine the conditions of the aid, or enforce the terms and conditions of the aid. (§99.31(a)(4))
- To organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, the school, in order to: (a) develop, validate, or administer predictive tests; (b) administer student aid programs; or (c) improve instruction. (§99.31(a)(6))
- To accrediting organizations to carry out their accrediting functions. ((§99.31(a)(7))
- To parents of an eligible student if the student is a dependent for IRS tax purposes. (§99.31(a)(8))
- To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena. (§99.31(a)(9))
- To appropriate officials in connection with a health or safety emergency, subject to §99.36. (§99.31(a)(10))
- Information the school has designated as “directory information” under §99.37. (§99.31(a)(11))
- To a victim of an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense, subject to the requirements of §99.39. The disclosure may only include the final results of the disciplinary proceeding with respect to that alleged crime or offense, regardless of the finding. (§99.31(a)(13))
- To the general public, the final results of a disciplinary proceeding, subject to the requirements of §99.39, if the school determines the student is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense and the student has committed a violation of the school’s rules or policies with respect to the allegation made against him or her. (§99.31(a)(14))
- To parents of a student regarding the student’s violation of any Federal, State, or local law, or of any rule or policy of the school, governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance if the school determines the student committed a disciplinary violation and the student is under the age of 21. (§99.31(a)(15))
Student Contact Information
The primary means of contact between American College of Education and its students is through email. Students are responsible for ensuring their contact information is accurate and current. Students can update their contact information via the MyACE portal. To guarantee receipt of important communications, students should make sure spam filters are set to receive email from the College. Due to FERPA regulations, ACE can only respond to a student’s email message if it is sent from the email account on record with the College.
ACE also may contact students by cellular phone or other wireless device using automated telephone dialing equipment or artificial or pre-recorded voice or text messages. Contact with students may also be made through social media.
Student Record Maintenance
The College maintains student records electronically through document imaging and in the student information system. Records are kept in perpetuity for all students who are currently enrolled as well as those who have graduated or withdrawn. Records maintained include documents submitted during the admission process, grades, documentation of requests, and forms.
If a student needs to make a change in relation to their name, address, or contact information, they are able to do so. Contact information can be updated in the MyACE Portal. Changes in names or other identification forms are completed through the Registration Office. Students can access the required form via the MyACE Portal.
ACE will not adjust records for students without prior approval except in rare instances when incorrect information is recorded and requires adjustment per the request of the individual outside of ACE. When this occurs, ACE will make all attempts to contact the student to correct the misinformation. If no response can be obtained from the student, documentation of the procedure will be included in the student’s file.
Application materials submitted to American College of Education become the property of the College and will not be returned to the applicant.
As per Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, no ACE student shall be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any academic, extracurricular, research occupational training or other education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.
Title IX applies to gender-based discrimination, such as denying a student the ability to take specific action due to his gender, and gender-based harassment. Gender-based harassment occurs where a student is harassed either for exhibiting what is perceived as a stereotypical characteristic for their sex, or for failing to confirm to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity. Harassment constitutes a Title IX violation when it is sufficiently serious that it creates a hostile environment and such harassment is encouraged, tolerated, not adequately addressed, or is ignored by school employees. Students who reasonably believe they have a claim under Title IX should contact ACE dedicated Title IX Coordinator (See “Title IX Coordinator ”). It should be noted that ACE prohibits intimidating, threatening, coercive or discriminatory behavior against any individual because that individual made a compliant or participated in any manner in any investigatory or hearing proceedings resulting from a Title IX complaint.
Verification of Student Identity
Students are assigned a unique user account and password combination that grants them access to specific facets of their personal information for editing and maintenance purposes. Students are directed to reset their own passwords through functionality built into the portal. It is school policy; student account information is not shared with others