Access to Student Records / FERPA

Annually, Smith College is required to inform students of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). Following is a brief summary of the rights afforded to all students under the Act. More specifically, Smith College School for Social Work's policy concerning this Act and information regarding procedures for accessing records are printed in the Smith College School for Social Work Handbook. Copies of the school's policy can also be obtained from the SSW Registrar's Office in Lilly Hall and that office's website.

Currently enrolled students should be aware that certain information, designated as "directory information," may be released without your prior consent. Such information at Smith College includes name, home address (while in college), college address and telephone, email address, dates of attendance, major, degrees (including dates) and awards, extracurricular activities (if known), previously attended institutions and pictures. You may withhold the release of this information by completing the appropriate form available annually at Central Check-In or in the SSW Registrar's Office in Lilly Hall. Written authorization to withhold directory information must be made each academic year and must be submitted within three days of the start of the summer academic session in order to ensure non-disclosure in printed materials.

Please note: Student pictures are available through the Smith online directory. As is the case with faculty and staff photos, the photos are accessible to campus users only. If you have a concern and wish to block the display of your picture from the online directory, you may do so by completing the necessary form in the SSW Registrar's Office.

Questions concerning FERPA may be referred to the SSW Registrar's Office.

Student Rights

FERPA affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. These rights are:

  • The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days of the day the institution receives the request for access. Students should submit to the appropriate college official (registrar, director of career development, director of health services) written requests which identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The college official will notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed. 
  • 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 amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing. 
  • The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception which permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the institution in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the institution has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee or assisting 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. 
  • The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Smith College to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the office that administers FERPA are:

Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
600 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202-4605

Requesting Copies

Students with a valid Smith ID may see their files (through staff in the SSW Registrar's Office) and may request copies of anything in the file, except for transcripts from other institutions. Please make the request for copies in writing (email is acceptable) at least 48 business hours in advance.

Access to Student Record Form