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Privacy Act may hamper graduation verification

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Colorado State University-Pueblo’s Admissions and Records Office advises students of their rights to their education records within the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

Katie Velarde, registrar of the records office, sent an e-mail to students on Sept. 2 informing students about their rights to their education records.

The e-mail said FERPA allows students the opportunity to check their records, however the students must send a written request to a dean, head of an academic department, registrar or university official.

“If a student has elected to block their directory information we would not print them in the commencement program,” Velarde said.

She said it also means the university can not disclose to prospective employers if a student attended, or graduated, from CSU-Pueblo if the students has not made the information public.

Velarde said the university can give a student’s directory information to third parties. This means an institution can disclose a student’s information to a relative or parent. She said a University official would disclose the student’s directory information for valid reasons under FERPA.

Velarde said students cannot use FERPA to change a grade on a transcript because CSU-Pueblo has a grade appeal policy in the university’s catalog.

Students have the right to change a part of their record, she said in the e-mail. The students must write to a university official what they want changed and why it should be changed. A university chooses to adjust the record and inform the students. The students can propose a hearing to make the correction on their education record.

Some of the directory information includes student names, addresses, telephone numbers, date and place of birth, classification (student level), major field of study, dates of attendance and potential graduation date.

Velarde said students can sign a Withhold Release Information form which allows students to remove the block from their record. The form is available at the Admissions and Records Office.

The e-mail from Velarde stated students are allowed to file a complaint to the FERPA office. Students should file a complaint when the university does not fulfill requirements of the act.