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A Quick Guide to FERPA

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords 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:


  1. The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days after the day The Boston Conservatory receives a request for access.  A student should submit to the Registrar’s Office a written request that identifies the record(s) the student wishes to inspect.  The Registrar 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 Registrar’s Office, that office shall advise the student of the correct office 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, 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.


  1. The right to provide written consent before the Conservatory discloses personally identifiable information (PII) from the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.

 

The Conservatory 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 the Conservatory 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 the Conservatory who performs an institutional service or 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 the Conservatory.  Upon request, the school also discloses education records without consent to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.


In addition, the Conservatory will disclose education records without the student’s consent in the following instances:


  • 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 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.

  • To military recruiters in compliance with the Solomon Amendment.  

  • 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.  

  • 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.  

  • To accrediting organizations to carry out their accrediting functions.  

  • To parents of an eligible student if the student is a dependent for IRS tax purposes.  

  • To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena.  

  • To appropriate officials in connection with a health or safety emergency.

  • 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.


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

Family Policy Compliance Office

U.S. Department of Education

400 Maryland Avenue, SW

Washington, DC  20202


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