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MUSC Bulletin | Academic Policies

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

The federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of (FERPA) governs release of and access to Student education records. Academic records considered to be official are maintained by Enrollment Management for all students at MUSC. This office acts as custodian of these records. A student has the following rights:

  1. The right to inspect and review your education record within a reasonable time after the University receives a request for access. If you want to review your record, contact the University office that maintains the record to make appropriate arrangements. You may request contents of the file that is maintained by Enrollment Management to be photocopied by staff at the published fee (delivery within 45 days, by law) excluding confidential letters and recommendations for which you have waived your rights to inspect, and excluding parental financial information.
  2. The right to request an amendment of your education record if you believe it is inaccurate or misleading. If you feel there is an error in your record, you should submit a statement to the University official responsible for the record, clearly identifying the part of the record you want changed and why you believe it is inaccurate or misleading. That office will notify you of their decision and advise you regarding appropriate steps if you do not agree with the decision.
  3. The right to consent to disclosure of personally identifiable information contained in your 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 has a legitimate educational interest if the official has a “need to know” information from your education record in order to fulfill his or her official responsibilities. Examples of people who may have access, depending on their official duties, and only within the context of those duties, include: university faculty and staff, agents of the institution, public safety, students employed by the institution or who serve on official institutional committees, and representatives of agencies under contract with the University.
  4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the University to comply with the requirements of FERPA.

Educational Record Release form - pdf

In general, access by non-University persons is allowed only upon prior written authorization by the student. There are, however, some exceptions. For example, directory information may be released without the student’s consent and may include the following: name, addresses (postal and e-mail), telephone numbers, digital images, dates of attendance, field of study, degrees received, status (including current enrollment, full-time/part-time, withdrawn), honors received, and previous educational institutions attended. Please note that you have the right to withhold the release of directory information. To do so, you must complete a “Directory Information Withhold request form” below, which is also available from the Office of the Registrar, or your college dean's office.

Directory Information Withhold Request Form - pdf

Please note two important details regarding placing a “No Release” on your record:

  1. The University receives inquiries for directory information from a variety of sources outside the institution, including friends, parents, relatives, prospective employers, the news media and honor societies. Having a “No Release” on your record will preclude release of such information, even to those people.
  2. A “No Release” applies to all elements of directory information on your record. MUSC does not apply a “No Release” differentially to the various directory information data elements.

All MUSC Students are notified of their rights by the Office of Enrollment Management on an annual basis. Annual FERPA notifications are sent via email on the first day of classes of the fall semester.


As of January 3, 2012, the U.S. Department of Education's FERPA regulations expand the circumstances under which your education records and personally identifiable information (PII) contained in such records — including your Social Security Number, grades, or other private information — may be accessed without your consent. First, the U.S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or state and local education authorities ("Federal and State Authorities") may allow access to your records and PII without your consent to any third party designated by a Federal or State Authority to evaluate a federal- or state-supported education program. The evaluation may relate to any program that is "principally engaged in the provision of education," such as early childhood education and job training, as well as any program that is administered by an education agency or institution. Second, Federal and State Authorities may allow access to your education records and PII without your consent to researchers performing certain types of studies, in certain cases even when we object to or do not request such research. Federal and State Authorities must obtain certain use-restriction and data security promises from the entities that they authorize to receive your PII, but the Authorities need not maintain direct control over such entities. In addition, in connection with Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems, State Authorities may collect, compile, permanently retain, and share without your consent PII from your education records, and they may track your participation in education and other programs by linking such PII to other personal information about you that they obtain from other Federal or State data sources, including workforce development, unemployment insurance, child welfare, juvenile justice, military service, and migrant student records systems.

A copy of the Act, may be obtained here

Questions concerning FERPA should be referred to the Office of the Registrar.

Melissa A. Freeland, MSM
Medical University of South Carolina

Last Published with Edits:April 3, 2017 8:45 AM
Last Comprehensive Review: August 2016

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