In compliance with the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), Berklee is prohibited from providing certain information from your education records to a third party. The law also restricts Berklee from providing this information to your parents, spouse, or financial sponsor. You may, at your discretion, grant Berklee permission to release education record information by submitting an online FERPA Release Form.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (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 a student who attends a postsecondary institution, regardless of their age.) These rights include:
1. The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days after the day the institution receives a request for access. A student should submit a written request to the Office of the Registrar that identifies the record(s) the student wishes to inspect.
A school official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the record(s) are not maintained by the school official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
2. The right to provide written consent before the institution 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 the institution 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 certain work-study students. In addition, a school official also may include a volunteer or contractor outside of the institution 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, 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 Berklee.
3. 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 to 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.
4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Berklee 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
FERPA permits the disclosure of PII from students’ education records without the consent of the student if the disclosure meets certain conditions found in 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, FERPA regulations require the institution to record the disclosure. Eligible students have a right to inspect and review the record of disclosures. A postsecondary institution may disclose PII from education records without obtaining prior written consent of the student to the following:
- Other school officials, including teachers, within the institution whom the institution 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 the FERPA regulations are met.
- Officials of another school where the student seeks enrollment 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 regulations.
- 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 who is responsible for supervising the university’s state-supported education programs. Disclosures under this provision may be made, subject to the regulations, 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.
- 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 or parents in connection with a health or safety emergency.
- Information the school has designated as “directory information.”
- To a victim of an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or a nonforcible sex offense, subject to the requirements. The disclosure may only include the final results of the disciplinary proceeding with respect to that alleged crime or offense regardless of the finding.
- To the general public, the final results of a disciplinary proceeding, subject to the requirements, 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.
- 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.
- To the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), formerly Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS), upon a specific request to Berklee to verify F-1 status of international students.
The following directory information is considered to be informational in nature and may be released without the student’s permission at the school’s discretion: name; dates of attendance; semester level/term level/class; enrollment status (FT, PT, withdrawn); program of study (master, bachelor, diploma, certificate, or other); field of study (major, minor, institute, instrument); school email address; most recent educational institution attended; dean's list awards; degrees/credentials conferred including honors and date(s) of conferral; performances; class ensemble participation; private instruction teachers; artistic experience; participation in official clubs and activities including Division III sports at Emerson College; photographic and video images; school mailbox number; date of birth; local address; home address; hometown; and phone number. If a student does not wish the institution to disclose directory information from his or her educational records without prior written consent, the student must notify the institution in writing or via the student’s my.berklee.edu account. The student should indicate which data the student does not wish to be released and return the request to the Office of the Registrar. The student’s information will not be disclosed from the time the Office of the Registrar receives the student’s form until the request is rescinded.
As of January 3, 2012, the U.S. Department of Education’s FERPA regulations expanded the circumstances under which your education records and your private personally identifiable information (PII) contained in such records—including your social security number, grades, or other private information—may be accessed without your consent. First, the U.S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or state and local education authorities (“federal and state authorities”) may allow access to your records and PII without your consent to any third party designated by a federal or state authority to evaluate a federal- or state-supported education program. The evaluation may relate to any program that is “principally engaged in the provision of education,” such as early childhood education and job training, as well as any program that is administered by an education agency or institution. Second, federal and state authorities may allow access to your education records and PII without your consent to researchers performing certain types of studies, in certain cases even when we object to or do not request such research. Federal and state Authorities must obtain certain use-restriction and data security promises from the entities that they authorize to receive your PII, but the Authorities need not maintain direct control over such entities. In addition, in connection with statewide longitudinal data systems, state authorities may collect, compile, permanently retain, and share without your consent PII from your education records, and they may track your participation in education and other programs by linking such PII to other personal information about you that they obtain from other federal or state data sources, including workforce development, unemployment insurance, child welfare, juvenile justice, military service, and migrant student records systems.
Students are advised to make copies of any important documents before submitting them to Berklee. In accordance with institutional policy, original documents cannot be returned to students. These may include such documents as immunization records and high school diploma records.
Additional information on procedures or policies relating to Berklee’s compliance with FERPA can be obtained from the Office of the Registrar.
Find answers to frequently asked questions below.
What is FERPA, and why is it important?
FERPA stands for the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. It is a federal law that protects the privacy of a student’s education records. FERPA grants specific rights to current and former students, and provides guidelines on how schools may appropriately use and release education records. All educational institutions such as Berklee that receive funding from the U.S. Department of Education must comply with FERPA.
What are education records?
Education records refer to any record maintained in physical or electronic format by the institution that contains information that is personally identifiable to a student. Grades, transcripts, student course schedules, billing, assessment of tuition and fees, financial aid (including scholarships, grants, and work-study or loan amounts), and student discipline files are examples of education records.
What rights do Berklee students have under FERPA?
Students have the right to:
- inspect and review their education records within 45 days of receipt of the request by Berklee.
- consent to any disclosure of their education records to a third party. (Exceptions to the right to consent for disclosure can be found under “Annual Notification of Rights under FERPA” in the Policy Handbook for Students.)
- request an amendment to education records they believe are inaccurate or misleading.
- file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Berklee to comply with the requirements of FERPA.
Berklee must notify students annually of their FERPA rights.
What is directory information?
Directory information is a list of items that are considered public information (such as a student’s name, major, and dates of attendance) that can be released to third parties at the institution’s discretion without violating a student’s privacy. Each institution establishes what it considers to be directory information.
A student may, however, request that directory information be withheld by opting out of the directory. Berklee’s list of directory information is listed in the full policy above.
Students may request that Berklee not disclose their directory information to any third parties without the student’s written consent by contacting the Office of the Registrar and requesting to opt out of the directory.
When do a student's FERPA rights begin and end?
A student's FERPA rights begin when they enroll at Berklee and end upon their death.
Is Berklee ever allowed to disclose non-directory information to parents or family members?
This is only allowed under one of the following circumstances:
- Information may be disclosed to parents or family members if the student provides a signed consent form allowing Berklee to disclose education record information to those individuals.
- Information may be disclosed to parents when a violation of federal, state, local, or institutional laws/regulations related to substance abuse occurs and the student is under the age of 21, provided that other laws governing the institution, such as state law, do not preclude such disclosures.
- Information may be disclosed to parents or family members during a health or safety emergency. Note that while appropriate non-directory information may be released, Berklee must document what the emergency was and to whom the information was released.
- Information may be disclosed to parents at Berklee’s discretion if a student is a dependent by the Internal Revenue Service definition on either parent’s most recent U.S. tax return.
What is the Solomon Amendment, and how does it affect FERPA rights?
The Solomon Amendment is a federal law superseding most elements of FERPA that requires Berklee to provide lists containing student recruiting information to the Department of Defense when requested for recruiting purposes. This information can include the student's name, addresses, telephone listings, age or year of birth, place of birth, level of education or degrees received, academic major, and the most recent previous educational institution in which the student was enrolled. Students may request that Berklee not release information under the Solomon Amendment by contacting the Office of the Registrar and requesting to opt out of the directory.
Additional information on policies and procedures relating to Berklee's compliance with FERPA can be found in the full policy above or from the Office of the Registrar.