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Student Privacy / FERPA

Confidentiality of Academic Records

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA, or U.S. Public Law 93-579) guarantees individuals’ rights to the access of their academic record. This federal law also provides guidelines as to third-party access and the appropriate security of the education record. FERPA stipulates that students have the right to:

  • inspect and review their academic record;
  • control disclosure (designate confidentiality); and
  • request an amendment to the educational record if an error is recorded.

Student Records

Student records at Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine are defined as any portion of the educational history of a student in which a student can be personally identified and that is maintained by the school for the purpose of sharing with other academic officials and is intended to support the academic progress of the student.

Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine follows the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (U.S. Public Law 93-579) (FERPA) with respect to the confidentiality of student records and access to that information.

In addition to guaranteeing the individual’s rights to access, FERPA also provides guidance for third party access to the records.

Sole Possession Records

These are defined as records (notes maintained by a faculty member) that are not shared with any other educational official. Notes maintained in a sole possession record are not subject to the guidelines of FERPA. Sole Possession records that are merged with the academic record require full disclosure per FERPA guidelines.

School Officials and Student Privacy

School officials may view student academic records if they have a demonstrated, specific educational interest prior to the granting of access to the student record. School officials at Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine are defined as a person employed or appointed by Virginia Tech Carilion in in these positions:

  • administrative staff;
  • supervisory staff;
  • academic staff, including Medical Student Performance and Promotion Committee (MSPPC) members, Physician Thought Leader Community members, and student-designated advisors;
  • research staff;
  • support staff, including security personnel and health staff;
  • a person or company with whom the school has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor or collection agent);
  • a person serving on the Board of Directors;
  • a duly appointed agent or representative of the school acting within the scope of his or her appointment; or
  • a student serving on an official committee, such as the MSPPC or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks, e.g. a faculty member or student on an ad hoc committee investigating unprofessional behavior under the auspices of the MSPPC.

Third-Party Disclosures

Third-party disclosures are prohibited by FERPA without the written consent of the student. Any persons, other than the student, are defined as "third party," including parents, spouses, and employers.

All educational officials are required to secure written permission prior to the release of any academic record information.

Directory Information

FERPA allows for the designation of certain academic record information as "directory" (academic record information not requiring prior written permission to release). Virginia Tech defines directory information as follows:

  • Student's name
  • Student’s photo
  • Local and permanent address
  • Telephone number(s)
  • Major field of study
  • Enrollment status
  • Class (academic) level
  • Student’s National Resident Matching Program results
  • Anticipated graduation date
  • Certification of application for degree
  • Dates of enrollment
  • Degree(s) earned, including date and areas of distinction
  • Participation in officially recognized school activities
  • Weight and height of members of athletic teams

Directory information will be withheld if requested in writing by the student. Such requests may be submitted to the Assistant Registrar, and a copy of the form will be maintained as part of the student’s record.