Hope College upholds the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, ensuring that student records are confidential.
General Guidelines Governing Keeping of Student Records
Records are kept in the various offices of the college in the interest of its students and alumni. It is the intention of the college that the data entered and the documents kept in each student file as well as any subsequent release of information contained within it should be determined by what is in the best interest of the student. Hope College determines to reflect this attitude in its record-keeping policies and consequently has adopted the following guidelines for the creation and maintenance of student records in it offices.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA, also known as the Buckley Amendment) was passed by Congress in 1974 to protect the confidentiality of student records and information.
Hope College’s policy on student records incorporates the rights guaranteed by FERPA.
Students are notified of their FERPA rights annually through publication in the Hope College Catalog and the student handbook. They are also notified at the beginning of each semester when they are required complete
an attendance confirmation form.
Questions about FERPA policy as it relates to Hope College should be directed to the Registrar’s Office.
- FERPA FOR STUDENTS
Your FERPA rights begin when your admittance to Hope is accepted through payment of your enrollment deposit. You have the right to:
- Inspect and review your education records
- Request and amend your education records
- Limit disclosure of personally-identifiable information, known as “directory information”
- File a complaint with the Department of Education concerning an alleged failure by the institution to comply with FERPA
Education records include any information directly related to you, including (but not limited to) academic, student employment, student development, and alumni records.
Your family may only access your educational records with your written consent. Release forms are available in the Registrar's Office.
If you are a dependent student, your parents/guardians have access to your financial and financial aid records, unless you have requested in writing that access to these records be restricted.
Education records are kept by the following offices:
Type of Record Custodian of Record Academic Registrar Advising Faculty Advisor and Registrar Alumni Alumni and Family Engagement Application Admissions Career Services Boerigter Center for Calling and Career Financial Financial Aid Medical Health Center Psychological Counseling and Psychological Services Student Employment Human Resources Student Development: Judicial, Housing, Residence Life Student Development
Public/directory information is information that is contained in your educational records, which would not be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if the information were disclosed. This information includes:
- Address, including permanent, local and email
- Name of parents or guardians
- Previous schools attended
- Dates of attendance
- Awards and honors received
- Degrees awarded and dates of degrees
- Majors and minors
- Official Hope College ID photo
- Class standing
- Enrollment status (full time/part time)
- Athletes: statistics (weight, height, etc.), included on team activity sheets
Your directory information is available to others unless you request it to be restricted (more below). Hope College exercises restraint in the release of this information and keeps your welfare in the forefront as it determines whether to release directory information. We will only release directory information to a third party (outside of the college) if the college receives a Freedom of Information Act (open records) request.
WITHHOLDING DIRECTORY INFORMATION
You may request that the college restrict the release of your directory information. To do that, print the Authorization to Withhold Directory Information Form. Complete and sign it by hand. Return the form to the Registrar's Office by dropping it off, or emailing it to email@example.com. If you have any questions or would like to discuss this process further, email the Registrar's Office.
Hope College is required by law (the Solomon Amendment) to provide the name, address and other demographic information of all students to any legitimate military recruiter who makes such a request in writing to the Registrar’s Office. According to the Solomon Amendment, this release must be honored even if a student has submitted a request to withhold directory information.
Information other than directory information is considered confidential and its confidentiality is guaranteed.
There are a few instances where some confidential information may be released. These include:
- Hope College faculty and staff who have a legitimate educational interest
- Pursuant to a court order or subpoena
- The National Student Clearinghouse and the National Student Loan Data System (for financial aid purposes)
- The protection or safety of you or others
In other instances, no confidential information will be released without your written consent.
- FERPA for Families
Sending students to college is a life transition for families, not just for the students themselves.
One of the transitions involves how information is communicated. In elementary, middle and high school, your student probably brought home lots of graded work. You may have attended parent-teacher conferences, been sent quarterly report cards and been notified about disciplinary issues. You may even have been able to track your student's grades and assignments through an online account.
Under FERPA regulations, when a student goes to college, the right to see such information transfers from family members to the student.
This clear-cut regulation can be frustrating for families who have previously had frequent and easy access to their student’s education records. How can families know whether their student is attending classes? What grades they are earning? What progress are they making toward completing their degree? Here are answers to frequently asked questions from families:
Do I have a right to access my student's records?
When a student begins attending a postsecondary institution, FERPA rights no longer automatically extend to the parents. This is the case regardless of the student’s age. Your student may grant you access to their records by sharing their ID and password to their secure student records account, plus.hope.edu.
Can I get a copy of my student’s grades?
Our goals for your student are the same as yours: to foster academic success, independence, self-reliance, good judgment and mature relationships with others. For this reason, we encourage students to communicate with their families about important academic issues. We recommend making a plan before the semester starts about what information will be shared, how it will be shared and how often it will be shared.
The quickest, easiest way for parents to receive information about their student’s grades is for the student to provide it. Students can look up information on plus.hope.edu. Additionally, many classes, but not all, use Moodle to track grades for individual assignments.
Another way to get a copy of your student’s grades is to have your student share their plus.hope.edu login information with you.
Can I call or email Hope College and receive information about my student’s education record?
Hope College places a high value on the privacy of our student records. Telephone and email is not a secure method of sharing confidential information. Hope College will never release information from a student's educational record over the phone or by email.
Can I request to receive progress reports?
Progress in a course, deficiencies in a subject area, final grades, grades on exams and other information about academic progress are examples of the confidential information that make up part of a student’s educational record. This information is protected under FERPA and parents do not have access to it.
Course schedules and pacing are developed by each individual instructor for their class(es). As such, progress varies per course. However, instructors provide all enrolled students with a course syllabus that details the following:
- Major course assignments and weight or value of assignment toward final grade
- Grading scale (grading policy; description of how final grade will be determined)
- Specific course attendance/ participation policy
- Final exam date
My student gave me access to their records. Can you email me a copy of their transcript?
Hope College does not release confidential information over the phone or by email. Your student needs to request a paper or electronic transcript by following the process outlined on the transcript request page.
If your student shared their plus.hope.edu login information with you, you can access their academic record there.
Does Hope College notify parents if a student is put on academic probation or is subject to academic dismissal?
No. Information about academic standing is emailed directly to students.
I have a family emergency and NEED TO find out where my student is at this moment. Can you tell me where they are?
No. For safety purposes, a student’s class schedule is not directory information. If your student has shared their plus.hope.edu login information with you, you can view their schedule there.
In a case of crisis or emergency, you should contact Hope College Campus Safety. Campus Safety determines if non-directory information is needed to protect or resolve a crisis or emergency and will obtain the required non-directory information by contacting the correct college administrator.
- FERPA for Faculty and Staff
Maintaining the confidentiality of students’ records is everyone’s responsibility — because it’s the right thing to do and because the federal government requires it through FERPA.
If a student has a confidentiality hold, absolutely no information may be given out or verified to anyone (even within the college) without the student’s express permission.
PROTECTING EDUCATION RECORDS
Students’ education records are confidential and may not be released without the written consent of the student. In practical terms, this means that students’ class schedule, grades or progress in a class or program should not be shared with others, including family members. Grades should not be posted publicly (by name, ID number or other personal identifiers); graded materials should not be put in places where others can see the grades; class lists should not be shared with others outside the college. Faculty and staff have access to students’ education records only if they have a legitimate need to know.
If you have designated any student workers (paper graders, TAs, etc.) as “teachers” or “non-editing teachers,” you are responsible for making sure they understand these basic rules of confidentiality.
If you are purging old documents with students’ confidential information on it, make sure to shred it, or bring it to the Registrar’s Office and we will shred it for you.
In some cases, faculty or staff may be asked for student information for accreditation, etc. Remember that only directory information may be shared, but even that should be provided only on an as-needed or specifically-requested basis. Use caution when sharing data outside of the college. If you have doubts about sharing information, contact the Registrar’s Office.