Student Records & Student Rights
In carrying out their assigned responsibilities, many offices at the University of Michigan collect and maintain information about students. Although these records belong to the University, both University policy and federal law accord you a number of rights concerning these records. The following is designed to inform you concerning where records about you may be kept and maintained, what kinds of information are in those records, the conditions under which you or anyone else may have access to information in those records, and what action to take if you believe that the information in your record is inaccurate or that your rights have been compromised.
Because the University does not maintain all student records in one location, this document contains general information related to student records. By direction of the Regents, however, each office that maintains student records is required to develop a written statement of its policies and procedures for handling those records. For more information about FERPA, visit the University of Michigan Office of the General Counsel's web page at www.umich.edu/~vpgc/faq_student.html.
If you are in any school or college except Rackham, your dean's office or your academic advisor has information concerning your academic progress: admissions application, test scores, letters of recommendation, copy of academic record, notes (if any) made by academic counselors, information about honors awarded and/or academic discipline imposed, and similar items.
Only two offices have records on all students. The Registrar's Office maintains information pertaining to your enrollment (registration) and your official academic record. The Student Accounts Office maintains information about charges assessed and payments made to your account.
The other offices listed at the end of this document will usually have information about you only if you have had dealings with them or utilized their services.
Once you attend, you have the following rights concerning your student records:
1. The right to inspect and review all material in your file(s) except:
a. Professional mental health treatment records to the extent necessary, in the judgment of the attending physician or professional counselor, to avoid detrimental effects to the mental health of the student or of others. These records may, however, be reviewed by a physician or other appropriate professional of your choice.
b. Financial information furnished by your parents in support of an application for financial aid.
c. Confidential letters of recommendation that were placed in your file prior to January 1, 1975.
d. Confidential letters of recommendation concerning admission, employment, or honorary recognition, for which you have waived access. (The University may not require you to sign a waiver in order to obtain services, but a person writing a recommendation may insist on a waiver as a condition for his or her writing it.)
e. Personal notes made by a faculty member or counselor that are accessible only to that person and are not shared with others.
f. Materials in any admissions files, until you have been admitted to, and have attended in the U-M school or college for which the materials were submitted.
Most offices will require you to file a written request if you wish to review your records. Sometimes the response will be immediate, but in most instances you should expect to wait several days; in no case, however, may the response be delayed more than 45 days from the date of your request. Also, once you have submitted such a request, no non-exempt material may be removed from the file in question until the matter is resolved.
NOTE: Federal law requires that an institution make copies of materials available to a student only if the failure to do so effectively prevents the student from reviewing his or her file (for example, if you were at some distance from the campus and could not readily come to the campus). Most offices at the University, however, will provide copies if you need them. You will probably have to wait several days for the copies and you will be charged not more than fifteen cents per page plus any postage involved. In certain instances, you may be directed to obtain copies from the office responsible for maintaining a particular record. For example, most offices will not copy transcripts (whether from U-M or another institution you have attended) that are in their files; rather, you will be advised to obtain them directly from the Office of the Registrar here or at your former school.
2. The right to a hearing if you feel that (a) you have been improperly denied access to your records, (b) your records contain information that is inaccurate or misleading, or (c) information from your records has been improperly released to third parties. Each record-keeping office has a procedure for this purpose. The use of that procedure will result in one of the following:
a. If the head of the office involved agrees with your contention, he or she will see to it that the necessary corrective action is taken.
b. If the head of the office does not agree with your contention, you may request a hearing by a hearing panel or hearing officer designated by the unit's procedures.
c. If the decision of the hearing panel or hearing officer agrees with you, the necessary corrective action will be taken.
d. If the decision disagrees with you, you have the right to submit an explanatory statement, which must be included as a permanent part of your record.
3. The right in most instances to control access to information in your records by persons or agencies outside the University. Within the University, information from your records will be made available to those staff members who demonstrate a legitimate educational interest consistent with their official functions for the University and consistent with normal professional and legal practices.
a. Except for directory information (see d below), however, persons outside the University - including your parents and/or spouse - will be given information from your records only (1) when you authorize it in writing, or (2) in connection with your application for or receipt of financial aid, or (3) in connection with studies conducted for the purpose of accreditation, development and validation of predictive tests, administration of student aid programs, or improvement of instruction, or (4) when disclosure is required in a health or safety emergency or by federal or state law or by subpoena. If information from your record is subpoenaed, you will be notified as quickly as possible. In addition, the results of a disciplinary hearing conducted by the institution against the alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence will be made available to the alleged victim of that crime
b. Each office is required to keep a record of all requests for non-directory information from your records made by persons outside the University, and to make that record available for you to examine.
c. Federal law requires that the University designate what it regards as directory information and which may, therefore, be released to those outside the University without specific authorization. The law also requires that each currently enrolled student be given the opportunity to direct that items designated as directory information not be released without his or her consent.
d. The University of Michigan-Dearborn has designated the following items as directory information:
- permanent and local address and telephone,
- U-M school or college,
- class level,
- major field,
- dates of attendance at the University of Michigan,
- degree received and date awarded,
- honors and awards received,
- participation in recognized activities,
- previous school(s) attended, and
- height and weight of members of intercollegiate athletic teams.
e. You have the right to direct that directory information about you not be released, however, you should carefully consider the consequences of that action before making the decision to do so. Information is not withheld selectively. If you choose to have directory information withheld, it is withheld from everybody who inquires.
f. If you wish the University not to release those items designated as directory information, you must file a written request to that effect with the Registrar's Office not later than ten (10) days from the beginning of the term for which the restriction is to begin. If you elect to have the University not release this information, all items designated as directory information will be withheld.
4.The right to file a complaint to federal officials if you feel that there has been a violation of the rights afforded you under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. The complaint must be submitted in writing within 180 days of the alleged violation to:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202-4605
Telephone (202) 260-3887
TDD (800) 877-8339
Questions about the policies and procedures of any unit should be directed to the head of that unit. Questions about the University's "Policies on Student Records" or about the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 should be directed to:
Vice-Chancellor for Enrollment Management and Student Life
1060 Administration Building
Telephone (313) 593-5151
Student Records Location
Academic Support and Outreach Services
College of Arts Sciences and Letters
College of Business
College of Engineering and Computer Science
Counseling and Support Services
Enrollment Services/Registration & Records
Safety and Security
College of Education, Health, and Human Services
Enrollment Management and Student Life