The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 is a federal law stating (a) that a written institutional policy must be established and (b) that a statement of adopted procedures covering the privacy rights of students be made available. The law provides that institutions will maintain the confidentiality of student education records.
UHCL accords all the rights under the law to students who are declared independent. No one outside the institution shall have access to, nor will the institution disclose, any information from students' education records without the written consent of students except to personnel within the institution, to officials of institutions in which students seek to enroll, to persons or organizations providing students' financial aid, to accrediting agencies carrying out their accreditation function, to persons in compliance with a judicial order and to persons in an emergency in order to protect the health or safety of students or other persons. All these exceptions are permitted under the act.
Within UHCL, only those members individually or collectively acting in students' educational interest are allowed access to student education records. These members include personnel in the office of the president, senior vice president and provost, vice president for administration and finance, deans, associate deans, student services, computing services, cashier, accounting, career and counseling services, student life, health center, financial aid, member of academic, grade and honesty appeal committees and academic personnel within the limitations of their need to know.
At its discretion, the University of Houston-Clear Lake may provide "directory information" to the general public without student consent.
Directory information is defined by University of Houston-Clear Lake as follows (within guidelines of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974):
- Student name
- Telephone number
- University e-mail address
- Date and place of birth
- Major field of study
- Dates of attendance
- Hours enrolled
- Date of graduation
- Degrees and awards received
- Most recent previous educational agency or institution attended
- Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
Students who do not wish that public information (including their name, address and phone number) be released can go online at www.uhcl.edu/eservices and select all information to be restricted from release (with the noted exceptions for Release to Publications) according to Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 guidelines and policies.
The law provides students with the right to inspect and review information contained in their education records, to challenge the contents of their education records, to have a hearing if the outcome of the challenge is unsatisfactory and to submit explanatory statements for inclusion in their files if they feel the decisions of the hearing panel to be unacceptable. To review records, a student must make a request in writing to the Office of Academic Records. The request must identify the record or records he or she wishes to inspect. In compliance with FERPA, UHCL will provide the student's records for review within 45 days from the day the university receives the request.