A. General Policy
Policies and procedures concerning student records are based on respect for the privacy of the individual. To minimize the risk of improper disclosure, academic records are maintained separately from disciplinary records. (During the time of disciplinary suspension, the notice is placed in the student’s permanent file.) The conditions for access to each are set forth in the Institutional Student Handbook and complies with federal and state statutes and with registered student organization guidelines. The procedures set forth below apply to all persons formerly or currently enrolled at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso. See HSCEP OP 77.13 Student Education Records.
B. Address of Record
Students must maintain an accurate permanent and local physical address with the Office of the Registrar. The address and school issued email account is used for official notifications including, but not limited to, grade reports, billing and notification of official university requirements and other university correspondence. Students must also maintain a current telephone number with the Office of the Registrar. Students may have holds placed on their student accounts until updated information is received.
C. Student Access to Educational Records
All current and former students of the university have the right to access their educational records as provided by law.
Notification of Rights under FERPA for Postsecondary Institutions
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy ACT (FERPA) affords eligible students certain rights with respect to their education records. (An “eligible student” under FERPA is a student who is 18 years of age or older or who attends a postsecondary institution.) These rights include:
- Right to Inspect and Review
The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days after the day Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso receives a request for access.
A student should submit to the Office of the Registrar a written request that identifies the record(s) the student wishes to inspect by completing HSCEP OP 77.13 Attachment B Student Request To Access Education Records.
* The school official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the school official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
Generally, if the Education Record is covered under FERPA, the student may inspect or review the education record at the Office of the Registrar, but does not have the right to receive copies of the education record unless a student is effectively prevented from onsite inspection or review of his/her education record. The student may then have a right to receive copies of the education record at the student’s expense after evaluation of the circumstances by the Office of the Registrar.
Official copies of academic records or transcripts will not be released for students who have a delinquent or unpaid financial or institutional obligation to the University, have a “hold” at the University, or have an unresolved disciplinary action pending at the University, provided that applicable law does not otherwise require disclosure of the records.
- Right to Provide Consent
The right to provide written consent before the university discloses personally identifiable information (PII) from the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
The school discloses education records without a student’s prior written consent under the FERPA exception for disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by TTUHSC El Paso in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit 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 TTUHSC El Paso who performs an institutional service of 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 PII 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 TTUHSC El Paso.
- Filing a Complaint
The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by TTUHSC El Paso to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA is:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202
- Personally Identified Information (PII)
Personally identifiable information related to academic outcomes such as rank in class, grade point average, academic progress, etc., shall not be released to non-authorized personnel without the written consent of the student.
D. Records Not Accessible to Students
The following records are not accessible to students:
- Records of instructional, administrative and educational personnel that are kept in the sole possession of the maker, are used only as a personal memory aid, and are not accessible or revealed to any other person except a temporary substitute for the maker of the record;
- Records of the Texas Tech Police Department, subject to the provisions of 34 C.F.R. 99.8;
- Records relating solely to an employee of TTUHSC El Paso in his/her capacity as an employee that are not available for any other purpose, unless the student is employed as a result of his/her status as a student;
- Student medical and counseling records created, maintained, and/or used only in connection with providing medical treatment or counseling to the student, that are not disclosed to anyone other than the individuals providing the treatment; and
- Alumni records or other records that contain information about an individual after he/she is no longer a student at that agency or institution (e.g., information gathered on the accomplishments of alumni).
E. Disclosure of Education Records
FERPA permits the disclosure of PII from students’ education records, without consent of the student, if the disclosure meets certain conditions found in §99.31 of the FERPA regulations. Except for disclosures to school officials, disclosures related to some judicial orders or lawfully issued subpoenas, disclosures of directory information, and disclosures to the student, §99.32 of FERPA regulations requires the institution to record the disclosure. Eligible students have a right to inspect and review the record of disclosures. A postsecondary institution may disclose PII from the education records without obtaining prior written consent of the student in accordance with the following;
- To other school officials, including teachers, within Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso whom the school has determined to have legitimate educational interests. This includes contractors, consultants, volunteers, or other parties to whom the school has outsourced institutional services or functions, provided that the conditions listed in §99.31 (a)(1)(i)(B)(1) - (a)(1)(i)(B)(2) are met. (§99.31(a)(1))
- To officials of another school where the student seeks or intends to enroll, or where the student is already enrolled if the disclosure is for purposes related to the student’s enrollment or transfer, subject to the requirements of §99.34. (§99.31 (a)(2))
- To authorized representatives of the U. S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or State and local educational authorities, such as a State postsecondary authority that is responsible for supervising the university’s State-supported education programs. Disclosures under this provision may be made, subject to the requirements of §99.35, in connection with an audit or evaluation of Federal-or-State-supported education programs, or for the enforcement of or compliance with Federal legal requirements that relate to those programs. These entities may make further disclosures of PII to outside entities that are designated by them as their authorized representatives to conduct any audit, evaluation, or enforcement or compliance activity on their behalf. (§§99.31 (a)(3) and 99.35)
- In connection with financial aid for which the student has applied or which the student has received, if the information is necessary to determine eligibility for the aid, determine the amount of the aid, determine the conditions of the aid, or enforce the terms and conditions of the aid. (§99.31 (a)(4)).
- To organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, the school, in order to: (a) develop, validate, or administer predictive tests; (b) administer student aid programs; or (c) improve instruction. (§99.31 (a) (6)).
- To accrediting organizations to carry out their accrediting functions. ((§99.31 (a)(7))
- To parents of an eligible student if the student is a dependent for IRS tax purposes. (§99.31 (a)(8))
- To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena (§99.31 (a)(9))
- To appropriate officials in connection with a health or safety emergency, subject to §99.36. (§99.31 (a)(10))
- Information the school has designated as “directory information” under §99.37. (§99.31 (a)(11))
- To a victim of an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense, subject to the requirements of §99.39. The disclosure may only include the final results of the disciplinary proceeding with respect to that alleged crime or offense, regardless of the finding. (§99.31 (a)(13))
- To the general public, the final results of a disciplinary proceeding, subject to the requirements of §99.39, if the school determines the student is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense and the student has committed a violation of the school’s rules or policies with respect to the allegation made against him or her (§99.31 (a) (14)).
- To parents of a student regarding the student’s violation of any Federal, State, or local law, or of any rule or policy of the school, governing the use of possession of alcohol or a controlled substance if the school determines the student committed a disciplinary violation and the student is under the age of 21. (§99.31(a)(15))
F. Student Request to Amend Records
Students have the right to request an amendment of their educational records and information directly relating to them. This section does not include procedures for student challenging individual grades. Grade appeals and grievance procedures are set forth in the individual Student Handbooks for each school. The procedures set forth below are to address inaccurate, misleading or otherwise inappropriate records or information requiring amendment.
- Student who believes that his/her Education Records are inaccurate or misleading, or that the records violate his/her privacy rights, must first request an informal discussion regarding the questionable item with the Office of the Registrar, who may or may not honor the request.
- Written Request to Amend Records: If the result of the informal discussion with the Office of the Registrar (Records Custodian) is not satisfactory to the student, and the student still wishes to have the record corrected, the student should complete the online form, Student Request to Amend Education Records HSCEP OP 77.13, Attachment C, Student Request To Amend Education Record, via the Office of the Registrar. The request shall clearly identify the part of the record the student believes should be changed, and specify why it should be changed. [Note: The substantive judgment of a faculty member regarding a student’s work, expressed in grades or evaluations, is not within the purview of the right to seek amendment of Education Records under this section. See also grade appeal and grievance procedures as set forth in the individual student handbooks for each School.]
- Review: After receiving the written request from the Student for a change in their Education Records, the Assistant Vice President for SSSE or designee shall request, and the Office of the Registrar shall provide, a written statement that explains why the request for the change in the Education Record was denied at the informal stage. After reviewing the request by the Student and the response of the Office of the Registrar (Records Custodian), the Assistant Vice President for SSSE or designee will provide written notification to the student whether or not TTUHSC El Paso will implement the change. If not, the Vice President for Academic Affairs or designee will notify the student of the right to a hearing to challenge the information believed by the student to be inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the student’s rights.
- Hearing Procedure: Upon receiving a written request from the student for a hearing, the Assistant Vice President for SSSE or designee shall arrange for a hearing and provide written notice to the student reasonably in advance of the date, time and place of the hearing. The hearing will be conducted according to the following procedures:
- The hearing shall be conducted by a hearing official or committee appointed by the VPAA or designee. Such individual(s) must have no direct interest in the outcome of the case and shall decline to serve if a conflict of interest, or an appearance of a conflict of interest, exists with either the student or the Office of the Registrar (Records Custodian).
- At least five (5) days prior to the date scheduled for the hearing, the student and the Office of the Registrar (Records Custodian), shall submit to each other, as well as to the hearing official or committee, any and all pertinent documents and a list of witnesses and advisors who are to be involved in the hearing process. The student may, at his/her own expense, be assisted or represented by one or more individuals of his/her own choice, including an attorney for advisory purposes only. If the student is advised by an advisor, the Office of General Counsel shall represent the University. The student and the Records Custodian are each responsible for presenting relevant information. Therefore, the advisors and/or attorneys for the parties are not permitted to speak or participate directly in the hearing.
- At the hearing, the student shall have the opportunity to present evidence to support his/her position that the content of the relevant educational record is inaccurate, misleading and/or otherwise in violation of the privacy rights of the student.
- Any additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
- Within seven (7) business days after the conclusion of the hearing, the hearing officer or chair of the hearing committee, if applicable, will transmit the decision in writing to the student, the Office of the Registrar, and the Assistant Vice President for SSSE or designee. The decision must include a summary of the evidence and the reasons for the decision. If, as a result of the hearing, the hearing official or committee determines that the information in the Education Record is not inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the privacy rights of the student, the student will be notified of the right to place a statement in the record contesting the information in the record or stating why the student disagrees with the decision of the agency or institution, or both. Any statement provided by the student shall be maintained with the contested portion of the record for as long as the record is maintained. In the event the contested portion of the record is later requested, the statement shall be disclosed with the record to the extent it pertains to the contested portion.
G. Release of Directory Information
The following student information is considered Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso Directory Information:
- Student Name
- Permanent and Local Address
- Previous Institutions Attended
- Major Field of Study
- Dates of Attendance
- Enrollment Status (undergraduate or graduate, full-time or part-time)
- Degrees Conferred (included degrees from previous institutions)
- Awards, and Honors Received (including scholarships)
- Participation in Officially Recognized Activities
- Postgraduate Training/Clinical sites for R.N., M.D., or Ph.D. graduates and degree candidates
This information will be released by various campus offices periodically, or on request, unless the student stipulates that directory information (as defined above) be withheld. Students may request that directory information be withheld by submitting a completed HSCEP OP 77.13 Attachment A, Student Consent to Release Education Records, or by restricting personal directory information in the MyTech-El Paso portal. Follow Directory Profile then select Personal Information to update release of directory information status.
H. Destruction of Records
The university constantly reviews the “educational records” it maintains and periodically destroys certain records. The university will not destroy records if prohibited by state or federal law, see HSCEP OP 77.11 Permanent Student Record for designated permanent records. The student’s basic scholastic record is kept and maintained permanently in the Office of the Registrar. Disciplinary records are maintained for at least seven years in the Assistant Vice President for SSSA office. Student disability records are maintained for three years after the last date of enrollment. Record retention follows the TTUHSC EP Records Retention Schedule, see HSC EP OP 10.09 Records Retention for detailed information.
I. Letters of Recommendation
Students may review recommendations used in application for employment or for admission to any educational agency or institution, or information concerning honors awarded, except when the student waives, in writing, the privilege of examination.
Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act 1974, as amended, the student does not have access to confidential letters and statements of recommendation which were placed in the educational records before January 1, 1975, if the letters or statements are used for purposes for which they were specifically intended.
J. Medical Records
TTUHSC El Paso community is guided by HSCEP OP 52.02 Privacy and Security of Health Information to ensure compliance with the provision of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPPA) and state laws and regulations for the privacy and security of health information. Medical records of students seen by a TTUHSC El Paso faculty member at Texas Tech Physicians are completely confidential and will not be released to another person or institution without written permission of the student unless otherwise authorized by law. Students needing to request a copy of their medical records should contact the office where they received care. See also HSCEP OP 52.09, Confidential Information and HSCEP OP 52.02, Privacy and Security of Health Information.