Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
On this page:
- About your student record
- Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
About your student record
All students have access to their own education records. You may contribute to your student record if you feel there is a need for clarification. To be useful, your student record must be accurate and complete.
The officials who maintain your student record are in charge of the functions reflected in the records and the offices where the records are kept. In FAS these officials include:
- FAS Registrar's Office
- Officers of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Update your personal information
The my.harvard student information system contains directory information for each student such as your:
- Phone number
- Emergency contact
- Missing person contact
You can update this information at any time via my.harvard via the Personal Information tab. We highly recommend reviewing your personal information every three months.
LEARN HOW TO UPDATE YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION
Access your student record
- Step 1: If you would like to view your student record, please email your request to the GSAS Office of Student Affairs. They will gather the appropriate records and give you access within 45 days of receiving your request.
Guidelines for viewing your student record
- When a record contains information about more than one student, the student requesting access may inspect and review only the portion of the record relating to them.
- You are not permitted to view letters and statements of recommendation to which you waived your right of access, or that were placed in your file before January 1, 1975.
You should direct any questions you have about the accuracy of your education records to the person in charge of the office that maintains the records. If you still have questions, please contact email@example.com. If you are unable to resolve issues through informal communications, you may need to resolve challenges concerning the accuracy of records during a hearing.
Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, (FERPA) is a federal law that gives students certain rights with respect to their education records.
We routinely maintain records that describe and document your work and progress as a student in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Your education records generally include information such as:
- Permanent and local addresses
- Admissions records
- Enrollment status
- Course grades
- Reports and evaluations
- Completion of requirements and progress toward the degree
- Records of disciplinary actions
- Letters of recommendation
Directory information is information that under FERPA can be made available to the general public.
Faculty of Arts and Sciences Directory Information
All FAS students have the following directory information in their record:
- Full name
- Reported date of birth
- Dates of attendance
- Degree Program
- Class year
- Digitized image (please note that while Harvard classifies photos and images as directory information, these are rarely released to parties outside the University without your permission)
- Local or campus residence address and telephone number
- University email address
- Undergraduate college
- Hometown or city at the time you applied for admission
- Original class at the time of matriculation
- Degree candidate status
- Date of graduation (actual or expected)
- Degree(s) received with field of concentration and level of honors granted (if any)
- Department of study
- University prizes, fellowships, and similar honors awarded
- In certain cases, your and your parents' or guardians' home addresses and telephone numbers
Student employees, in certain circumstances, may have additional directory information in their record including:
- Job title
- Teaching appointment (if applicable)
- Employing department and dates of employment
Harvard University Directory Information
Please note that Harvard University's definition of directory information may include additional components and that University-level directory information requests may therefore include additional pieces of information.
You may prevent FAS from disclosing your directory information—this is called a FERPA block. If you would like to enable a FERPA block, you must inform the FAS Registrar's Office, ordinarily in person (view business hours).
Possible consequences of enabling a FERPA block include:
- Missed mailings, messages, and announcements
- Not being able to verify your enrollment or degree status
- Not being included in the Harvard Commencement program
If you have previously chosen to enable a FERPA block, you can reverse your decision by emailing the Registrar's Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other disclosures permitted under FERPA
In addition to permitting the disclosure of directory information, FERPA allows FAS to disclose education records without your knowledge or consent under certain circumstances. For example, disclosure is permitted to Harvard officials with a legitimate educational interest in the records. This means that the person needs your information in order to fulfill their professional responsibilities including instructional, supervisory, advisory, administrative, academic or research, staff support, or other duties.
Harvard officials include:
- Clerical employees
- Professional employees
- Harvard University Health Services staff members
- Harvard University Police Department officers
- Agents of the University, such as independent contractors or vendors performing functions on behalf of FAS or the University
- Members of Harvard's governing boards
- Students serving on an official FAS, College, GSAS, or University committee or assisting other Harvard officials in performing their tasks
Your education record also may be shared with parties outside the University under certain conditions, including, for example, in situations involving a health and safety emergency. Additionally, the FAS Registrar's Office will forward your education records to other agencies or institutions that have requested your records and in which the student seeks or intends to enroll or is already enrolled so long as the disclosure is for purposes related to your enrollment or a transfer to another institution.
If the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences finds that you have committed a disciplinary violation involving a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense, then FAS also may, if legally permitted and appropriate in the judgment of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, disclose certain information about the disciplinary case.
The disclosure may include:
- Your name
- Violation committed
- Sanction imposed
Student rights under FERPA
Under both Harvard policy and FERPA, as a student or former student you may inspect and review certain components of your education records maintained by Harvard. You may:
- Exercise limited control over other people's access to your education records
- Seek to correct your education records if you believe them to be inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of your FERPA rights
- File a complaint with the US Department of Education if you believe Harvard has not complied with the requirements of FERPA
- Be fully informed of your rights under FERPA
Complaints regarding alleged violation of rights of students under FERPA may be submitted in writing within 180 days to the Family Policy Compliance Office, US Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20202-5920.
Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences Registrar's Office
Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Campus Center
1350 Massachusetts Avenue, Suite 450
Cambridge, MA 02138
Email: email@example.com with student record or FERPA questions
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org to submit your Student Record Request Form