Privacy, Confidentiality and FERPA

We take seriously our commitment to protect the privacy of our students and their education records. In addition to upholding the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), we have taken further steps to protect privacy by extending similar benefits afforded to enrolled students under FERPA to individuals who are applying for admission.

Nothing in this policy may be construed to prohibit the University from disclosing information provided to the institution under the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act concerning sex offenders who are required to register.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA)

FERPA is a federal law designed to protect the privacy of students’ educational records. Educational records include any information or documentation that is recorded in any way, including records produced by handwriting, computer, email, audio and video. Educational records contain information directly related to a student, and are maintained by Rush University or any party acting on its behalf.

FERPA has strict instructions and limitations governing the release of information about students. Though FERPA contains exceptions for the release of “directory information” without a student’s prior written consent, students have the right to request that even such directory information be withheld from disclosure to third parties.

Given the restrictions of FERPA, faculty and staff should assume that all students must provide written consent that follows the format specified in FERPA before any educational records may be released to anyone other than the student. Information cannot be released to any third party, including students’ parents, relatives and friends. Particularly sensitive information includes students’ Social Security numbers, race or ethnicity, gender, nationality, academic performance, disciplinary records, financial aid information and grades.

Privacy during the admissions process

Rush University has chosen to take additional steps to privacy by extending to individuals who are applying for admission similar benefits afforded to enrolled students. This privacy protection covers all applicants and their application materials throughout the admissions process.

The application process exists between the applicant and a Rush University admissions office; therefore, any communication about a candidate’s application status to parties beyond these entities is not acceptable, unless a school official has a legitimate educational interest to know this information to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities. All those involved in the admissions process (e.g., admissions committee members, interviewers, admissions staff, etc.) must adhere to these guidelines.

Directory information

Rush University may establish categories of information known as directory information and release this information without student consent, upon request. Rush University designates the following personally identifiable information contained in a student’s educational record as directory information:

  • Address (local and permanent)
  • Dates of attendance and graduation, and degrees received
  • Date and place of birth
  • Degrees earned at previous schools
  • Honors and awards received
  • Major and minor field(s) of study, including the college, division, department and/or program in which the student is enrolled
  • Photograph or other electronic images*
  • Previous schools attended
  • Rush email address
  • Rush Medical College postgraduate appointment (program/institution/state)
  • Rush pager number (relevant to third- and fourth-year Rush Medical College students only)
  • Student’s classification (e.g., junior, senior, etc.)
  • Student’s full name
  • Telephone number (local and permanent)

*Rush University records, both visually and audibly, many campus events and daily activities such as classes, commencement, convocations, student events and other public occasions. These images, as well as other information about students, are published (e.g., print media, Rush website) regularly as part of the University’s coverage of campus life and portrayal of the University to a variety of audiences. The University’s policy is to restrict the use of any photograph or image to the representation, marketing or promotion of Rush activities only.

Students may restrict the release of their directory information by completing and submitting the directory information restrictions form. The decision to restrict directory information will apply to all requests from third parties (other than those who have legal access to these data elements already), including prospective employers. A student must formally rescind a restriction of directory information by submitting a subsequent directory information restrictions form.

Annual notification of student rights under FERPA

FERPA affords students certain rights with respect to their educational records. These rights include the following:

  1. The right to inspect and review the student’s educational records within 45 days of the day the University receives a request for access. If an educational record contains information about other students as well, the requesting student may inspect and review only the specific information which pertains to him or her.

    Students should submit to the University registrar, dean, head of the academic department, or other appropriate official, written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The University official 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 University official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.

    The University may deny a request for copies of educational records when the requester refuses to furnish proper identification and/or information required by the University.
     

  2. The right to request an amendment of the student’s educational records if the student believes there is an inaccuracy.

    Students may ask the University to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate. They should write the University official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, specify why it is inaccurate and provide the accurate information. If the University decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the University will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his or her 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.
     

  3. The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.

    One exception, which permits disclosure without consent, is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the University has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee (such as a disciplinary or grievance committee) or assisting 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 responsibility.
     

  4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Rush University to comply with the requirements of FERPA.

    The following are the name and address of the office that administers FERPA:

    Family Policy Compliance Office
    U.S. Department of Education
    400 Maryland Ave., SW
    Washington, DC 20202-5901

Commencement/graduation activities

The intent to graduate form signals that a student is ready to graduate. By signing the form, the student is giving permission to the University to print the following information in any Rush graduation program and announce this information at any Rush graduation ceremony: the student’s name as indicated on the intent to graduate form, any honors or awards received, the Rush degree and major the student is earning, previous colleges or universities attended, and degrees earned at those previous colleges or universities.

If a directory information restrictions form was previously submitted, the student’s signature on the intent to graduate form temporarily releases (for graduation ceremony and program purposes only) the directory information restrictions enacted by the student so that the information can be published in any Rush graduation program and announced at any Rush graduation ceremony.

In addition, the student’s signature permits Rush University to release the student’s name and address to the external photography vendor with whom Rush contracts, and to have the vendor place graduation photographs of the student on its website. The student’s signature also allows the University to publish the student’s picture in a picture composite and the student’s image in a commencement ceremony video. The recording of the graduation ceremony may also appear on the Rush University website and social media sites, including but not limited to YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Finally, if the student is a medical student, the student’s signature permits publication of the student’s name, photograph, previous degrees earned and other information in the Rush Medical College yearbook.

If there are questions about how the information will be used for graduation or commencement purposes, please speak with the Office of the Registrar before signing and submitting the intent to graduate form.

Educational records

Rush University does not maintain educational records in one central office. Educational records are maintained in the Office of the Registrar, and in the respective college and department offices. Other educational records are maintained in the Office of Student Financial Aid (financial aid information, student employment), Office of Student Financial Affairs (financial account payment information), Office of International Services and other offices. Questions regarding individual student records should be directed to the appropriate location.

Rush University will not issue copies of transcripts received from other institutions to anyone, including the student.

Deceased student records

Rush University may, upon the death of a student, release a student’s educational records to a third party. This is done at the sole discretion of Rush University.

Mailing lists

Rush University does not release student directory information in mailing lists, except to comply with the federal Solomon Amendment.

Additional questions

The Office of the Registrar is the compliance office at Rush University for FERPA. If there are additional questions, please contact the Office of the Registrar:

600 S. Paulina St., Suite 440
Chicago, Illinois 60612
(312) 942-5681

registrars_office@rush.edu