Notification of Rights Under FERPA
Bluffton University Policy on Student Records

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records and affords students certain rights with respect to those records.

FERPA deals with the question of what information is private by directing institutions to list information that is considered directory information and therefore not protected as private.

In accordance with FERPA guidelines Bluffton University has designated the following items as Directory Information:

student name, campus address, home address, cell phone number, home telephone number, e-mail address, major field(s) of study, class, full or part-time status, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, photographs, dates of attendance, degrees, honors and awards granted, date of graduation and previous schools attended.

All information not included in the above list should be considered private. This would include, for example: grades, GPA, class rank, probation or suspension status, and remaining requirements for a degree. You may opt to prohibit disclosure of directory information as well by signing a form available in the registrar’s office. 

As a student, you may release your protected information to whomever you wish. Information may be released electronically through your MyBluffton account, using the “Give permissions to my data” option (found on the Student tab). Students may release specified data through this option to any designated individual. Students may set end dates for the release or may rescind the release at any time. Monitoring information released in this manner is the responsibility of the student.

Alternatively, students may sign a statement in various offices around campus indicating what information is to be released and to whom. Thus, a signed transcript request authorizes us to release a transcript to the address(es) submitted by the student.

To report violations:
Students may report FERPA violations to or request information from Alex Sider, academic dean and VP of academic affairs, sidera@bluffton.edu.

FERPA guarantees students these rights:

  • Right to Inspect: You have the right to inspect and review all of your education records maintained by or at this institution within 45 days of our receipt of your written request. To exercise this right, contact the registrar’s office for instructions at registrar@bluffton.edu or 419-358-3321.

  • Right to Request Amendment: You have the right to seek to have corrected any parts of an educational record you believe to be inaccurate, misleading or otherwise in violation of your rights. This right includes the right to a hearing to present evidence that the record should be changed if this institution decides not to alter the education record according to your request. To exercise this right, contact the registrar's office for instructions at registrar@bluffton.edu or 419-358-3321.

  • Right to Prevent Disclosure: You have the right to prevent disclosure of education records to third parties with certain limited exceptions. It is the intent of this institution to limit the disclosure of information contained in your education records to:
    • those instances when prior consent has been given to the disclosure;
    • items of directory information (see list above) unless you have directed the university in writing to suppress the release of this information. If you would like to suppress the release of directory information, please contact the registrars office;
    • or items under the provisions of FERPA which allow disclosure without prior written consent. This includes information necessary for school officials to perform their assigned tasks, disclosures related to some judicial orders or lawfully issued subpoenas, and some other circumstances as defined by FERPA.

  • Right to File a Complaint with the U.S. Department of Education: If you believe that Bluffton University has failed to comply with the requirements of FERPA or has violated your FERPA rights, you have the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education, Student Privacy Policy Office, 400 Maryland Ave, S.W., Washington, DC 20202-8520 or by emailing FERPA.Complaints@ed.gov. Instructions about filing a complaint and a complaint form are available on their web page.

  • Right to Obtain Policy: You have the right to obtain a copy of this student records policy. You can obtain a copy of the policy from the registrar’s office. You may also contact the registrar’s office with any questions that you have about your FERPA rights.
A school official is a person employed by Bluffton University in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research or support staff position (including security personnel and health staff); a person serving on the board of trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee. A school official also may include a volunteer or contractor outside of Bluffton University who performs an institutional service or function for which the school would otherwise use its own employees and who is under the direct control of the school with respect to the use and maintenance of personally identifiable information from education records, such as an attorney, auditor or collection agent or a student volunteering to assist another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities for the school. 

Notice regarding FERPA rights is emailed to students annually and is available from the registrar’s office.