Family Education Rights and Privacy Act
The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act protects the privacy of your student education record and gives you certain basic rights of inspection and review. You also have the right to request an amendment of the record if you believe it is inaccurate or misleading. This notice is being mailed to you in response to the Department of Education's revised regulation that stipulates annual notification of your rights.
Disclosure of personally identifiable information, referred to in the Privacy Act as "directory information," is permitted without your prior authorization if it is included below:
name; class year; home address and telephone number; college address and telephone number; college e-mail address, schedule of classes; major and minor field(s); identification photograph; date and place of birth; dates of attendance at Wellesley College; degrees, honors and awards received; weight and height of student athletes; participation in officially recognized sports and activities; previous educational institution most recently attended. In addition, student photographs are part of a college photograph directory that resides on the Campus-Wide Information System. This directory is accessible only on campus.
You may place limitations on the release of any of the above information by notifying the Registrar's Office in writing by July 1 of each year for the following academic year. In practice, the college discourages the indiscriminate release of any information about individual students. College directories and lists are for use within the college community itself.
Disclosure of your academic record without your express written permission is protected, with the following exceptions:
- Parents of dependent children (as defined by the Internal Revenue Service code) may have access. At Wellesley, we assume that all traditionally aged students are dependent children of their parents, which means that we could release information from your record to your parents. In practice however, we send your grades to you, not to your parents, and we notify your parents only if your academic status changes. If you are not a dependent child of your parents, as defined by the U.S. tax code, you may declare this by completing a "Notice of Non-Dependency" form which is available in the Registrar's Office, Room 334 Green Hall. If you are a dependent child of your parents or a Davis Scholar, you do not need to take any action.
- Student records may be released to College officials and staff who are responsible for the maintenance of those records. They may also be released to other College officials, including members of the faculty, who have legitimate educational interests in such records. A College official is:
- a person employed by the College in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research or support staff position.
- a person elected to the Board of Trustees.
- a person employed by or under contract to the College to perform a specific task, including, but not limited to attorneys and auditors.
A school official is acting in the legitimate educational interest of the student if the official is:
- performing a task that is specified in his or her position description or by a contract agreement.
- performing a task related to a student's education.
- performing a task related to the discipline of a student.
- providing a service or benefit relating to the student or student's family, such as health care counseling or financial aid.
Requests to inspect a record should be submitted in writing to the head of the office which is responsible for the maintenance of that record. Each office determines its own access procedures, which may include the requirement that the record be inspected only in the presence of a designated College official. Under the Privacy Act, a properly presented request for access must be honored within 45 days. The Registrar can advise you of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
Requests for amendment of material contained in a record should be made in writing to the head of the office responsible for the record. If the head of the office accepts the validity of the student's petition, he or she will arrange for correction of the record. If the head of the office and the student cannot reach mutual agreement concerning amendment of the student's record, the student will be notified of her right to a hearing to challenge the information believed to be inaccurate, misleading or in violation of the student's rights. Upon request the College will arrange for a hearing which shall be conducted by the Academic Review Board. If a decision is made against granting the student's request to amend the record, the student shall be given an opportunity to place with the record a statement commenting upon the challenged content of the record and/or setting forth any reasons for disagreeing with the decision. This statement will be maintained with the record as long as the contested portion of the record is maintained by the College and will be disclosed to any third party to whom the contested portion of the record is disclosed.
Questions concerning procedures to be followed in challenging and/or correcting student education records at the College should be directed to the Registrar.