In this section
What is FERPA?
FERPA (The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974) is a federal law that protects the privacy of personally identifiable information contained in student education records and establishes the rights of students to inspect and review their education records and, in certain circumstances, the right to request the record be amended. The law limits the rights of institutions to disclose education records or information contained in such records without the studentís written consent. There are exceptions when designated personnel within the institution may see the records in order to protect the health or safety of students or other persons. FERPA also requires that campuses notify students on an annual basis. The law also allows an eligible student to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning any failures by the Fashion Institute of Technology (ďFITĒ or ďthe collegeĒ) to comply with the federal requirements of the Act.


This policy responds to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99), a federal law that protects the privacy of personally, identifiable information contained in student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education. 


· All students
· All employees

· All employees: Faculty, Staff and Administrators
· Office of the Registrar

I. Definitions

Directory Information: is the only information available for release to the general public.

Disclosure: to permit access to or the release, transfer, or other communication of personally identifiable information contained in education records to any party, by any means, including oral, written, or electronic means, except the party identified as the party that provided or created the record.

Education Records: are records that contain information directly related to a student, maintained by an education agency or institution (i.e. emails, print-outs, handwritten notes, tests, papers, gradebooks). Contact the Registrarís Office to determine whether records qualify as an education record.

Eligible Student: student who is or has been enrolled at FIT. Once a student is enrolled, FERPA rights take effect. High school students taking college classes at FIT are protected.

Personally Identifiable Information
: includes, but is not limited to, the studentís name, the name for the studentís parent or other family member, the address of the student or studentís family, a personal identifier that can be linked or linkable to a specific student that would allow a reasonable person in the campus community to identify the student with reasonable certainty.

Record: any information recorded in any way, including, but not limited to, handwriting, print, computer media, video or audio tape, film, microfilm, and microfiche.

Legitimate Educational Interest: In accordance with FERPA, a school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his/her professional responsibility. This includes such purposes as:

  • performing a task that is specified in his/her position description or contract;
  • performing a task related to a studentís education or to student discipline;
  • providing a service or benefit related to the student or studentís family; or
  • maintaining safety and security on campus.

Legitimate educational interest does not convey inherent rights to any and all student information. The law discriminates between educational interest, and personal or private interest; determinations are made on a case-by-case basis. Educational interest does not constitute authority to disclose information to a third party.

II. Studentís Rights

The eligible student has the right to have access to his or her education records, the right to seek to have the records amended, the right to have control over the disclosure of personally identifiable information from the records (except in certain circumstances specified in the FERPA regulations), and the right to file a complaint with the Department of Education.

Inspection and Review-The right to inspect and review the student's educational records within 45 days of the day FIT receives a request for access. Students should submit to the registrar, dean, head of the academic department, or other appropriate official, written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The college official will make arrangements for access and notify the students of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the college official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.

Release of Records: The college reserves the right to refuse to permit a student to inspect the following records:
      1. The financial statement of the studentís parents or legal guardian.
      2. Letters and statements of recommendation for which the student has waived his or her right of access, or which were placed in file
          before January 1, 1975.
      3. Records connected with an application to attend FIT if that application was denied.
      4. Those records which are excluded from the FERPA definition of education records.
      5. Records for which access has been waived by the student.

Request Record Amendment: is the right to request the amendment of the student's education records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading. Students may ask the college to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. They should write the college official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the college decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the college will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his or her right to a hearing regarding the request for the amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.

Education Records subject to FERPA: The following educational records are maintained by FIT and are considered as subject to this law:
     1. Admissions records are maintained by the Office of Admissions.
     2. Academic transcripts are maintained by the Office of the Registrar.
     3. Financial records are maintained by Financial Aid and Services.
     4. Judicial records are maintained by the Dean of Students.

Withholding of Directory Information: is the right to request the withholding of directory information disclosure.

File a DoED compliant-The right to file a complaint with the United States Department of Education (DoED) concerning alleged failures by FIT to comply with the requirements of FERPA.

III. FIT Responsibilities FIT is committed to protecting the privacy of personally identifiable information contained in education records in accordance with FERPA.

      1. Students will be notified of their FERPA rights annually by publication in the student handbook.
      2. FIT holds the right to release directory type information to third parties outside the institution, without written consent of the
          student, provided that the student has been given the opportunity to  withhold such disclosure. FIT, at its discretion, will release
          the following as directory information:

          Address, City, State, Zip Code, Country
          Class standing
          Participation in recognized sports
          Height and weight of athletes
          Dates of attendance and enrollment status
          FIT email address
          Degrees, certificates, and/or awards received
          Digitized images

     I. Students who do not wish this information to be released outside of the college must submit written notice to the Office of
        the Registrar.
    II. Rights are granted to the student to challenge the contents of education records on the basis of possible clerical errors.
         Students may also question a possible violation of privacy. If the student believes   that the education record is inaccurate,
         misleading, or in violation of privacy rights, the student may request that the record be changed. If the request for the change
         is denied, the student has a right to a hearing on the issue.
    III. Possible privacy violations should be first addressed with the Director of the Registrarís Office. If necessary, a hearing will
          be held. If the hearing does not resolve the matter, the student may then notify the FERPA Office in Washington, D.C.;
          the address is available in the Registrarís Office.


If you have any questions concerning FERPA, or what can or cannot be released, please contact the Registrarís Office at 212 217.3820.

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