What is FERPA?
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) is a Federal law designed to protect the privacy of student education records. FERPA governs the release of education records and access to education records. The FERPA policy is intended to ensure students have the right to inspect and review their education records, the right to amend their education records as appropriate, and the right to control access to their education records.
Who is Protected Under FERPA?
Current or formerly enrolled students are protected under FERPA. Students who have applied but have not attended PIU are not protected. Students are considered to be enrolled and in attendance as of the first day of a term.
What Are Education Records?
Education records are defined as records, files, documents, and other materials in handwriting, print, tape, film, electronic, or other media that contain information that are directly related to a student and are maintained by PIU or a party acting for PIU. Education records do not include post-attendance records, law enforcement records, employment records, medical records and records possessed only by the maker of the records.
What Rights Do Students Have?
Students have the right to: (1) inspect and review their education records, (2) request amendment to their education records, (3) consent to disclosures of non-directory information, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent, and (4) file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by PIU to comply with FERPA requirements.
How Can Students Access Their Records?
Students may access their records by providing a signed, written request to Western Governors University Records office. In addition students may request this information by sending an email to [email protected] from their personal PIU email account. Emails from other locations will not be accepted. The request needs to identify, as precisely as possible, the records the student wishes to inspect. PIU will send copies of records within 45 days. A fee of $.50 per page may be assessed for copying educational records.
How Can Students Amend Their Records?
Students have the right to request that their records be amended if they believe the content is inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of their privacy rights. Students should write the Registrar identifying the part of the education record they want changed and specifying why it is inaccurate or misleading. Students are sent a response within 30 days of receipt of the written request. If the request is granted, the amendment will be made. If the University decides not to amend the record as requested, students have a right to a formal hearing on the matter and will be informed about procedures to request a hearing. Students must make the request for a formal hearing in writing to the Registrar within ten school days of the denial of the request.
Note: The right to challenge grades does not apply under FERPA unless the grade assigned was inaccurately recorded, under which condition the record will be corrected.
To Whom May Records Be Released without Written Consent?
PIU will disclose information from a student’s education records only with the written consent of the student, except in the following cases:
- To the Student
- To anyone if the University has obtained the prior written consent of the student (the FERPA Authorization to Release form can be found in the Student Services section on the Student Support tab of the student portal)
- To anyone in response to requests for directory information (see below)
- To University employees who have a legitimate educational interest in the records
- To officials from other colleges or universities in which a student seeks or intends to enroll
- To certain officials of the U.S. Department of Education, the Comptroller General, and state and local educational authorities, and Department of Veterans Affairs in connection with certain state or federally supported education or assistance programs
- To agents acting on behalf of the University (e.g., clearinghouses, degree/enrollment verifiers)
- To third-party service providers under contract to provide educational services to the University
- To organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the University
- To accrediting organizations to carry out their functions
- To parents/legal guardians when their children (under age 21) are found to have violated the alcohol or drug policy of the institution (Warner Amendment)
- To comply with a judicial order or a lawfully issued subpoena.
- To an alleged victim of any crime of violence or the results of a disciplinary action regarding the alleged perpetrator of that crime with respect to that crime
- To anyone requesting the final results of a disciplinary hearing against an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense (Foley Amendment)
- To the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) for purposes of the Coordinated Interagency Partnership Regulating International Students (CIPRIS)
- To military recruiters who request “Student Recruiting Information” for recruiting purposes only (Solomon Amendment). Student Recruiting Information is name, address, telephone listing, age (or year of birth), level of education, and major (conditions exist).
- To the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for purposes of complying with the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997
- To appropriate parties to protect the health and safety of students and other persons or to assist in resolving an emergency
What Is Directory Information?
Student record information is confidential and private. In accordance with both federal law (FERPA) and PIU policy, the University does not release student record information without prior written consent of the student. The one exception to this rule under FERPA is that PIU may release certain “directory information” without prior student consent. Directory information is defined as information which, if disclosed, is not generally considered harmful or an invasion of privacy, however all students may direct the University not to release directory information.
Designated directory information at PIU includes the following:
- Student Name
- City/town and state/province of residence
- Class level
- Enrollment status (full-time, part-time, or not enrolled) and current status
- Program of study
- Degrees and/or certificates earned including date of conferral
- Dates of attendance
- Awards and honors
How Can Students Restrict Disclosure of Directory Information?
Currently enrolled students may request that the University not release any directory information, and the institution must comply with the request. To restrict the release of information, students must complete a FERPA Authorization to Release/Revoke Form, found in the Student Services section on the Student Support tab of the student portal. Directory information is then withheld indefinitely until the Records office receives in writing a revocation of the request for nondisclosure.
Students who wish to restrict directory information should realize that restricting this important information will make it unavailable to all, including employers, loan agencies, scholarship committees, University publications and government and licensing agencies. Usually, it is to a student’s advantage to have directory information available to these important constituents.
Where Can I Get More Information About FERPA?
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue SW
Washington, D.C., 20202-4605
POLICY ON DIVERSITY AND NON-DISCRIMINATION
Diversity. In all environments, PIU seeks to create an atmosphere in which all believers, regardless of race, color, national origin, gender, age, economic status or physical ability, can pursue knowledge and personal development as they strive toward academic and spiritual maturity.
Non-Discrimination. Pacific Islands University will admit students of any race, national or ethnic background to any of its programs. An admitted student is granted all of the privileges and services associated with PIU, as well as the responsibilities of belonging to this academic community. Thus, PIU maintains a policy of non-discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex or age as required by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Age Discrimination Act of 1975 (approved, Board of Trustees, April 2, 1992). PIU is eligible to accept foreign students as approved by the US Department of Homeland Security under the F-1 designation.
As a private religious institution, PIU reserves the right to exercise preference on the basis of its biblical beliefs and conduct in all of its employment practices and student admissions.
A Counselor provides personal growth and development counseling. Students experiencing adjustment problems, stress, anxiety, difficulties in relationships with others, or other symptoms of emotional distress may receive individual counseling on an appointment basis, or in some cases immediately. Our Counselor may refer students to services in the community. The University Counselor is a trained professional, and all information related to the person receiving counseling is confidential and may be released only with the written permission of the student seeking counseling.
Personal spiritual growth is a basic purpose of PIU. The faith, attitudes and behavior of all members of the PIU family need to grow more like Christ inside and outside the classroom. This means that each individual at PIU must submit to the Word of God as the authoritative standard by which all aspects of the University is to operate.
In addition, it is important to learn to live in a community. God calls staff and students from different cultural and church backgrounds. This complicates daily life, for Christians are not in agreement about some aspects of Christian life. The Board of PIU has carefully considered cultural and ecclesiastical concerns and agreed upon some standards of behavior for PIU students and staff members. For the sake of maintaining a healthy community, PIU expects students to live lives that are consistent with biblical principles. We understand drunkenness, sexual immorality, gossip, slander, profanity, ethnic or cultural discrimination, dishonesty, stealing, plagiarism, etc. to be inconsistent with biblical living. We expect all PIU students to be active participants in the life of a local church and to strive for academic excellence. PIU will attempt to deal with these issues firmly and redemptive. These and other important standards are described further in the Student Handbook and must be followed by each student.
When necessary, there is a policy for rebuke and discipline, also described in the Student Handbook. Any discipline will be based on scriptural principles with the purpose of correcting the quality of our relationships with Christ and with one another. The key to all of this is Christian love, which compels us to submit to God and to one another.
The grade of “W” (Withdrawal) is only given to a student who initiates a Student Withdrawal from a course after the first week and before the tenth week of classes or before the twenty-eighth (28th) class hour on a normal semester length, or the equivalent for intensive courses taught in shorter durations. No grade points are entered for the course.
A Student Withdrawal after the ninth week (or equivalent for intensive courses taught in shorter duration) of classes will result in a grade other than “W” and will be based on assessments before the withdrawal and the unfulfilled requirements after the Student Withdrawal. The grade points associated with the grade will be counted toward determining the cumulative GPA.
A student may be subject to an Administrative Withdrawal for failing to attend campus classes or failing to participate in online activities, according to the Campus and Online Attendance Policies.
A student may also be subject to a Discipline Withdrawal if the student is dismissed for disciplinary reasons at any time during the semester. The procedures for determining the student’s grade for the term apply, according to the Campus and Online Attendance Policies.
The PIU Grievance Policy will be used if a student feels unfairly treated or is in conflict with another student. Grievance action may be initiated by a student in regard to another student, an instructor, an administrator, any member of the PIU staff, or persons from ministry centers where students do outreach and field training.
Some reasons a student might file a grievance include:
Unfair treatment by prejudice
Harassment or intimidation
Verbal or physical aggression
Any violation of the PIU standards
Step 1. Try to work out the problem directly with the person involved. If this does not solve the problem, one or two others should be brought along for a second attempt. (Matt. 18:12-16)
Step 2. If the situation does not get resolved after step one, report the situation to the Dean of Student Development. If the problem involves the Dean of Student Development or Student Development staff, the student should report the incident to the Academic Vice President.
Step 3. If this institution remains unresolved through informal discussion, request in writing a formal meeting and give the request to the Academic Vice President for additional action. The written request should be forwarded to the Academic Vice President within (5) five normal business days (Monday through Friday). The written request must include the time, place, the basic problem, and a list of witnesses.
Step 4. If the Dean of Student Development is not involved in the incident a Student Grievance Committee will be formed and convened within (5) business days after receipt of the request. If the Dean of Student Development is party to the incident, the Academic Vice President shall within (5) business days convene the Student Grievance Committee. This committee shall be chosen by either the Dean of Student Development, or if necessary by the Academic Vice President and consist of:
One student from the Junior and Senior academic class level.
The Student Council President.
Two members of the faculty or staff.
Note- the accused person may be present or represented by a person of his/her choice. The accuser must be present to explain the charges.
Step 5. The Student Grievance Hearing Committee has the authority to meet with the conflicting parties in hopes of graciously resolving the issue. In the effort to best understand the situation, all people involved will have the opportunity to speak about the situation, and after thorough and fair discussion, the committee will make a written recommendation at the end of the Grievance Hearing, to the Dean of Student Development or Associate Vice President and once approved, will be implemented.