This policy statement is issued on behalf of the University by the Provost. A statement on student records was originally published by the University in 1977. Since then, the statement has been modified from time to time to reflect changes in federal law and regulations on student records. The University currently makes available the current text of the policy statement on the Yale Bulletin & Calendar website. Inquiries concerning the statement should be addressed to the Office of the General Counsel, 2 Whitney Ave., (203) 432-4949.
I. Summary of Statement
Yale University has a long-standing and firm policy of preserving the confidentiality of student records. This statement confirms and renews this policy in accordance with the terms of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended (also known as "FERPA" or the "Buckley Amendment" and hereinafter referred to as the "Act"). The statement has two chief purposes. The first is to describe the nature of a student's right to review his or her educational record; the second is to describe the University's policy of confidentiality in the maintenance of student records.
For the purposes of this statement of policy, "student" means any individual who is or who has been enrolled in Yale College or in any other school of the University. The term does not include a person who applied for admission but who never registered at Yale University. A person who applied for admission to, but who never registered at, a school or division of the University, even if that person is or was registered at another school or division of the University, is not considered to be a student in that school or division to which only an application for admission was made.
For example, a student in Yale College who applied for admission to the School of Architecture, but never registered at that school, is considered to be a student only of Yale College and not of the School of Architecture.
Finally, a student registered in a particular degree program who applies for admission to another degree program within the same department or school, but never registers for that program, is considered to be a student of the department or school only in the degree program for which he or she is registered.
University records subject to the Act (hereafter referred to as "education records") include those records maintained by or on behalf of the University relating directly to a student or former student, but do not include the following:
(1) records that are kept in the sole possession of the maker, are used only as a personal memory aid, and are not accessible or revealed to any other person except a temporary substitute for the maker of the record;
(2) law enforcement records created and maintained by the University Police Department;
(3) medical records of the University Health Services or the clinical departments of the Yale School of Medicine that are maintained by medical personnel for the sole purpose of treating a student patient;
(4) employment records of students (except those pertaining to students employed through the "College Work/Study Program" or as a result of their status as students) that are made and maintained in the normal course of business, relate exclusively to the individual in his or her capacity as an employee, and are not available for use for any other purpose;
(5) records containing only information that relates to a person after that person has ceased to be enrolled as a student at the University and that does not relate to the person as an enrolled student at the University. An example would be information concerning the accomplishment of alumni.
III. Annual Notice
Each year, the University will inform students of their rights under the Act, the federal regulations published under the Act, and relevant University policy.
Such notice shall be provided on the Yale Bulletin & Calendar website (or another similar publication of University-wide distribution) during the academic year. Students will be informed of the notice's availability via an announcement in the Yale Bulletin & Calendar.
The notice will include the following:
(1) a statement of the procedure to be followed by a student requesting to inspect and review his or her education records;
(2) the times at which such records will be available for inspection;
(3) a schedule of fees for copies of such records;
(4) a listing of the types and locations of education records and the titles and addresses of the persons responsible for maintaining them;
(5) a statement explaining under what circumstances the University is obliged to disclose personally identifiable information from the education records of a student without the student's prior consent;
(6) a statement advising students of that personally identifiable information which the University has designated as "directory information" and their rights with regard to that information;
(7) a statement advising students of their right to seek correction of their education records, the procedure to be followed for such correction, and their rights upon refusal of the University to correct education records as requested;
(8) a statement advising students of their right to file complaints concerning alleged failures of the University to comply with the requirements of the Act.
IV. Inspection and Review
The University permits students to inspect and review their education records to the full extent permitted by the Act and federal regulations.
B. Types of Education Records and Locations
Education records are maintained on each student at various locations within the University. Following is a list of the types and locations of education records maintained by the University and the titles of the officials responsible for the maintenance of those records.
(1) Academic Records
(a) Graduate and Professional School Students
Academic records are maintained on each student by the Registrar of the school in which the student is or has been enrolled. The registrars of the Graduate and professional schools maintain the following types of academic records: the application for admission and supporting documents such as standardized test scores, transcripts of undergraduate or other prior study, and letters of recommendation; registration forms, grade cards, course schedules, petitions filed by the student, and any other documents or correspondence pertaining to the student's academic work or status within the school. The following is a list of the titles and addresses of the University officials responsible for these records:
Registrar, Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS)
(b) Students in Yale College
The FAS Registrar maintains the following types of academic records: the student's matriculation data record, a transcript of Yale grades, and actions of Yale College committees affecting the student.
The residential college deans maintain student academic records which include the student's matriculation data record; a transcript of Yale grades; actions of Yale College committees; the student's application for admission to Yale College; reports of the student's freshman counselor; and other documents or correspondence pertaining to the student's academic work or to the student's status within the University. These files do not contain letters of recommendation for admission to Yale College or letters of recommendation from members of the faculty or other members of the University. The latter evaluations are maintained in a placement file in the office of the residential college dean (see Section IV, (B)(2).
The Yale College Dean's Office maintains academic records which include the student's matriculation data record; a transcript of Yale grades; actions of Yale College committees; and records concerning enrollment in special programs and other documents or correspondence pertaining to the student's academic work or to the student's status within the University.
In addition, certain academic records of the student may be maintained by the masters of the residential colleges. These records may include copies of the materials also in the files of the Registrar or residential college deans, such as a matriculation data record and transcript, and miscellaneous correspondence with or about the student. These records are the responsibility of the residential college masters.
The Undergraduate Admissions Office, under the Dean of Undergraduate Admissions, maintains the following types of admissions records for members of the current entering class: a secondary school counselor recommendation and evaluation of the student, two secondary school teachers' recommendations for the student, and letters of recommendation by various other persons for the student.
Following is a list of the titles and addresses of University officials responsible for these records:
A complete list of the addresses of the residential college deans and masters can be found in the Yale University Directory issue of the Bulletin of Yale University.
(c) Departmental Academic Records
In addition, academic records of a graduate or professional school student or an undergraduate student may be maintained by departments or programs within the University in which a student is or was enrolled. These records may include copies of materials also in the files of the registrars or residential college deans, in addition to information about student performance, faculty evaluations of the student, major field of interest, dissertation topic, and miscellaneous correspondence with or about the student. These records are the responsibility of the chairmen, directors of graduate studies, and directors of undergraduate studies of the various departments and programs.
A complete list of the addresses of these officials can be found in the Yale University Directory issue of the Bulletin of Yale University.
(2) Student Placement Files
Placement files contain letters of evaluation solicited by the student and maintained at the student's request. They are kept separately from academic records maintained for the purposes of Yale College or the several graduate or professional schools. The letters of evaluation contained in these files are of two sorts:
(a) confidential evaluations that may not be read by the student or any other person not explicitly designated by the student and (b) other evaluations that are confidential in the sense that no one not designated by the student may read them but that are available to the student for review. Placement files are compiled for the purpose of forwarding letters of evaluation at the student's request to other educational institutions, prospective employers, or organizations awarding fellowships or for other purposes designated by the student.
Placement files for undergraduate students are maintained in the offices of the residential college deans. Placement files for students applying for health-related postgraduate study, especially in medicine, and placement files for some scholarships and fellowships are maintained by the Undergraduate Career Services, 55 Whitney Ave. Placement files for graduate and professional school students are maintained either in placement offices within the several schools or by the Undergraduate Career Services, 55 Whitney Ave. The address of the placement office of each graduate or professional school can be found in the Yale University Directory issue of the Bulletin of Yale University or the catalogue of each school.
(3) Financial Aid Records
Financial aid records for all students include an application for financial aid, financial statements submitted by students and/or their parents, the University's analysis of the application, letters to and from the student concerning financial aid awards, and loan documents detailing the type, amount, and interest rate of loans.
Financial aid records for Yale College students are maintained by the Undergraduate Financial Aid Office, 246 Church St. Financial aid records for graduate and professional school students are maintained by a financial aid officer in each school or, in the case of the Graduate School, in the Office of the Dean. The names and addresses of these officers are listed in the Yale University Directory issue of the Bulletin of Yale University and in the catalogue of each school. Certain student loan documents are also maintained by the University Student Loan Office, located at 246 Church St. Documents relating to the collection of student loans are maintained by the Office of Student Loan Accounting and Collection (a department of Student Financial and Administrative Services), located at 246 Church St., and the Office of University Adjustment Services (also a department of Student Financial and Administrative Services), located at 246 Church St.
(4) Student Employment Records
Student employment records are maintained by the Student Employment Office, 246 Church St. In the case of graduate and professional school students who serve as teaching fellows, records of this employment are maintained in the financial aid office of each school. The address of these offices can be found in the Yale University Directory issue of the Bulletin of Yale University.
(5) Student Financial Account Records
The Office of Student Accounts, which is a department of the Office of Student Financial Services, 246 Church St., maintains records regarding students' financial accounts with the University, including information on tuition charged, scholarships received by students, payments received by the University, amounts owed to the University and correspondence regarding the accounts.
The Student Loan Accounting and Collection Department, located at 246 Church St., maintains records on student loan defaults.
C. Procedure for Inspection and Review
A student desiring to inspect and review his or her education records should address a written or electronic dated request to the official, listed above, who is responsible for maintaining the records to which the student desires access.
Within forty-five (45) days of the date of the receipt of a student's request, the responsible official will notify the student of the time and place when the records sought may be reviewed. The opportunity to inspect and review education records will be confined to normal business hours on days when the University is open.
At the time of review, the official responsible for the records or a member of his or her staff will be available to respond to requests to explain the education records.
D. Copies of Records
The student's right to inspect and review his or her education records does not automatically entitle the student to a photocopy of the records reviewed, although the student may take handwritten notes while reviewing his or her records.
Requests by the student for photocopies of education records must be made in writing to the official responsible for the records and must specify the records to be copied. The official responsible for the records shall respond to a request within forty-five (45) days. In the case of a student of Yale College, copies of the student's transcript are available only from the FAS Registrar. In each transcript order, the charge for the first transcript is $7, with a charge of $3 for each additional transcript ordered at the same time. Each year the FAS Registrar provides in each student's registration packet, free of charge, a copy of the student's academic record to date.
The University reserves the right to refuse to make photocopies of education records when a student or former student resides within normal commuting distance of the University and is physically able to travel to the campus to review the records. Copies will be provided at the expense of the student or former student. The charge for copies will be 20 cents per page. If a student can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the appropriate official that such a charge would effectively prevent the student from exercising his or her right to inspect and review his or her education records, the official will provide copies of records free of charge.
E. Limits on Inspection and Review
No student will be given access to the following education records:
(1) Financial records and statements of parents or any information contained therein unless the student's parents have explicitly permitted such access.
(2) Letters of recommendation submitted on behalf of a student before Jan. 1, 1975, with the author's understanding that they were confidential. Such letters have been used only for the purpose for which the author wrote them and will remain confidential unless the author directs otherwise.
(3) Confidential letters or statements of recommendation submitted on or after Jan. 1, 1975, concerning applications for admission, employment, or honors and prizes for which a student has signed a waiver of his or her right to inspect and review those letters and statements. A student will, upon request, be notified of the name of each person who has submitted such a confidential letter or statement. The University uses the letters or statements only for the purpose for which they were written. Waivers of a right to inspect such letters or statements are not required as a condition of admission to any service or benefit from the University.
F. Access Only to Personal Records
Should education records contain information on more than one student, a student may inspect and review only the specific information relating to himself.
G. Destruction of Records
The Act and federal regulations do not change previous laws or University policies governing the destruction of records, except to preclude destruction where there is an outstanding request to inspect and review the records.
The University reserves the right to destroy education records as provided by law. Education records which are not destroyed and are not maintained by their usual custodians may be maintained by University Archives.
V. Amendment of Education Records
The University will provide a student who believes that information contained in his or her education record is inaccurate, misleading, or violates his or her privacy, with an opportunity to seek correction of his or her education record.
A student who wishes to challenge part of his or her education record should discuss the matter with the University official exercising control over the record. If the challenge cannot be resolved through informal discussion within seven (7) days of the request, the student should submit a written request or amendment to the Dean of the School in which the student is or was enrolled explaining the basis for the request. Within seven (7) days of this formal request, the responsible dean shall decide whether to amend the education records in accordance with the request.
A student whose request is denied shall be informed that he or she may, in writing, request a hearing before the Secretary of the University or a person designated by the Secretary of the University. A hearing may not be requested to contest the assignment of a grade, but may be requested to contest whether or not an assigned grade was recorded accurately.
The Secretary of the University or the person designated by the Secretary of the University will hold the hearing within a reasonable time after receipt of a request; in no case will the hearing be held more than forty-five (45) days after the request has been made. The student will be given notice of the date, place and time of the hearing not fewer than ten (10) days before the hearing. The hearing will be conducted by the Secretary of the University or a designee who does not have a direct interest in the outcome of the hearing. In accordance with applicable federal regulations, the student will be entitled to present evidence at the hearing and be assisted by individuals of his or her choice at his or her own expense, including an attorney. The Secretary or his or her designee shall make a decision in writing within thirty (30) days of the conclusion of the hearing, which decision shall be based solely on the evidence presented at the hearing and shall include a summary of the evidence and reasons for the decision. This decision will be the University's final decision.
If, as a result of the hearing, the University decides that the information is not inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the privacy of the student, the student may place in his or her education records a statement commenting upon the information in the education records and/or setting forth any reasons for disagreeing with the decision of the University. This statement will become a part of the education record and be disclosed whenever the contested portion of the education record is disclosed.
VI. Waiver of Rights
A student may, in a signed written statement, waive his or her rights under the Act, as provided by law; but the University does not require that a student waive any or all of these rights as a condition for admission to any service or benefit from the University.
VII. Disclosure of Personally Identifiable Information from Education Records
A. The University will refuse to disclose to any third party whatsoever personally identifiable information from the education record of a student without the student's prior written or electronic consent. The only exceptions to this firm and long-standing policy are described as follows:
(1) As a public service, the University may disclose directory information of the following kinds concerning present and former students:
(a) the name of a student who is or has been in attendance;
(b) dates of attendance;
(c) school or residential college affiliation;
(d) local and other addresses and local telephone number;
(e) electronic mail address;
(f) the date and place of birth;
(g) the major field of study;
(h) participation in University-sponsored extracurricular
activities and sports;
(i) the height and weight of members of athletic teams;
(j) degrees and awards received;
(k) previous educational institution(s) attended;
(l) name and address of parent or guardian;
(m) picture and video.
(n) University person identifier (UPI)
A student may refuse to permit the designation as directory information of any or all of the personally identifiable information listed above. Such a request must be made in writing to the Registrar of the school in which the student is enrolled by Oct. 1 in a given academic year or the deadline specified by the Registrar, whichever is earlier. In the absence of receipt by the relevant registrar of a written request, it will be assumed that the above information may be disclosed for the current academic year. A new request for nondesignation must be completed each academic year.
(2) The University may disclose personally identifiable information without the prior written consent of the student to other University and school officials, including faculty members, who, in the opinion of the University, are determined to have legitimate educational interests.
(a) The term "University and school officials" means fellows of the Yale Corporation, non-trustee members of Yale Corporation committees, and members of the faculty, administration, and staff of the University (including the University Police Department) and of the school in which the student is or has been enrolled. In addition, students who are members of faculty/student disciplinary committees or grievance panels and the like will be considered University officials for the limited purpose of fulfilling their committee responsibilities. In addition, outside consultants retained by the University or a school to advise the University or the school on a matter of legitimate educational interest as to which the consultant has expertise needed by the University or school will be considered University or school officials for the limited purpose of the consultation.
(b) The term "legitimate educational interest" refers to any action or interest which would directly affect the student's standing in the University or be necessary for a thorough evaluation of a student's academic work and any action or interest relating to the planning, execution and evaluation of academic, administrative, employment or financial programs of the University.
(3) The University may provide personally identifiable information without prior student consent to officials of state educational agencies and federal agencies auditing federally supported education programs, as provided by law. However, unless the student has given written consent for the disclosure or the collection of personally identifiable information as specifically authorized by federal law, the information collected for those purposes must be protected so as not to permit personal identification of individuals by anyone except the federal or state officials and the information must be destroyed when no longer needed for the purposes for which it was collected.
(4) In connection with financial aid for which a student has applied or which a student has received, the University may disclose personally identifiable information without prior student consent to third parties for the purpose of determining eligibility for, or the amount or conditions of, financial aid and for the purpose of enforcing the terms or conditions of financial aid.
(5) The University may at its discretion disclose personally identifiable information without prior student consent to parents or guardians of a dependent student, as defined in section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, but except in extraordinary circumstances such disclosure will be limited to information about a student's official status at the University. Parents or guardians of a dependent student will thus be notified in the following cases:
(a) when a student has voluntarily withdrawn from the University or has been required by the University to withdraw for academic or for disciplinary reasons;
(b) when a student has been placed on academic warning;
(c) when the student's academic good standing or promotion is at issue;
(d) when a student has been placed on disciplinary probation or restriction.
For students who are dependents, grades are not disclosed to parents or guardians without the student's consent (given annually at the time of registration) except in the case of withdrawal from the University, or in the case in which a student is placed on academic warning, or in the case in which the student's academic standing or promotion is at issue.
Unless otherwise indicated by the student at the time of registration, or thereafter by the student in writing, the University will presume that a full-time student at Yale College is such a dependent.
(6) The University may disclose personally identifiable information without the prior written consent of the student in order to comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena. Before such compliance, the University will make a reasonable effort to notify the student of the order or subpoena unless the court, in the case of a federal grand jury subpoena, or a court or other issuing agency, in the case of other subpoenas issued for a law enforcement purpose, has ordered the University not to disclose to any person the existence or contents of the subpoena or any information furnished in response to the subpoena.
(7) The University may disclose personally identifiable information to outside attorneys and other third parties in the course of legal proceedings without the prior written consent of the student when the student has sued the University.
(8) The University may disclose personally identifiable information to a court without prior written consent of the student, when it is relevant to legal proceedings brought by the University against the student.
(9) The University may disclose personally identifiable information without prior written consent of the student to appropriate parties in a health or safety emergency, where the health or safety of a student or other individuals is seriously threatened and the parties to whom the information is disclosed are in a position to meet the emergency.
(10) The University may disclose to a parent or legal guardian of a student information regarding any violation of any federal, state or local law or any rule or policy of the University, governing the use or possession of alcohol or drugs if the student is under the age of 21 and the University determines that the student has committed a disciplinary violation with respect to such use or possession.
(11) The University may disclose personally identifiable information without prior written consent of the student to accrediting organizations as necessary and to organizations conducting studies for the purpose of developing, validating, or administering predictive tests, administering student aid programs or improving instruction; provided, however, that the studies are conducted in a manner which will not permit the personal identification of students by persons other than the representatives of the organizations and that the information will be destroyed when no longer needed for the purposes for which the study was conducted. If an organization fails to destroy information when no longer needed for the purpose for which the study was conducted, the University will not permit that organization access to information from education records for at least five years. Any official responsible for education records who is asked to transmit personally identifiable information of this sort should obtain the advice of the Secretary of the University before acting.
(12) The University may disclose to an alleged victim of any crime of violence (including a forcible sex offense) and any non-forcible sex offense the results of any disciplinary proceeding conducted by the University against the alleged perpetrator of such crime with respect to such crime.
(13) The University may disclose the outcome of any University disciplinary proceeding brought alleging a crime of violence (including a forcible sex offense or a non-forcible sex offense), so long as the University has determined that the student has committed a violation of Yale's rules or policies with respect to the allegation.
(14) The University may disclose to University and school officials and to teachers and school officials in other universities and schools who have legitimate educational interests in the behavior of a student personally identifiable information concerning disciplinary action taken against the student for conduct that posed a significant risk to the safety or well-being of that student, other students, or other members of the University community.
(15) The University may forward any and all of a student's education records to other agencies or institutions that have requested the records and in which the student seeks or intends to enroll.
(16) The University may disclose personally identifiable information without the prior written consent of the student in order to comply with an ex parte order, issued by a court of competent jurisdiction, in connection with an investigation or prosecution being conducted by the U.S. Attorney General's office regarding terrorism crimes.
(17) The University may disclose personally identifiable information of students attending the University on F-1, M-1 or J-1 visas to the INS, in accordance with the provisions of Form I-20 or similar forms.
B. In all other cases, the University will obtain the prior written or electronic consent of the student before disclosing to a third party personally identifiable information from the student's education record. This written consent must be signed and dated by the student giving the consent and shall specify the records to be disclosed, the purpose of this disclosure, and the parties to whom the disclosure may be made. Upon request, the University shall provide to the student a copy of the record which is disclosed to the third party.
C. Except for disclosures of directory information, the University shall inform the party to whom a disclosure of personally identifiable information from the education record of a student is made that no further disclosure of such information shall be made without written consent of the student.
For this purpose, the following written statement (or one of a similar nature) will accompany disclosure of personally identifiable information: "Federal law provides that personal information about a student may be released outside the University only on condition that the party receiving the information not permit further disclosure of the information without the written consent of the student."
If a party outside the University to whom the University discloses personally identifiable information (other than directory information) violates that restriction, the University will not permit that third party to have access to information from education records for at least five years.
VIII. Record of Disclosures
The University will maintain a record of requests for access to education records and of disclosures of personally identifiable information from education records and the reasons for such disclosures, as required by law, except that a record will not be kept of requests and disclosures in the following instances:
(1) requests by or disclosures to a student;
(2) if there is written consent of a student when the consent specifies the parties to whom disclosure is to be made;
(3) requests by or disclosures to University and school officials under section VII (A)(2) above;
(4) requests for or disclosures of directory information under section VII (A)(1) above;
(5) requests for or disclosures of information pursuant to an ex parte order under section VII (A)(15).
This record of requests and disclosures may be inspected by the student, a University official (or the staff of such an official) responsible for the custody of the records, and other parties entitled to review education records.
A student has the right to file a complaint concerning alleged failures by the University to comply with the requirements of the Act and the applicable regulations. A complaint must be filed within 180 days of the date of the alleged failure or of the date that the student knew or reasonably should have known of the alleged failure. Complaints should be submitted in writing to: Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, Washington D.C. 20202-4605.
X. Availability of Policy Statements and Regulations
A copy of this policy statement shall be available to the student from the officials responsible for education records. Each of the officials will also make available a copy of the Act and the federal regulations for the inspection of the student.