Virginia Military Institute complies with the provision of federal laws governing the privacy and disclosure of cadet information in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). Under the federal laws, all cadets have a number of rights concerning his/her records at VMI. These policies are outlined as follows, or click here.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.
FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children's education records. These rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level. Students to whom the rights have transferred are "eligible students."
- Parents or eligible students have the right to inspect and review the student's education records maintained by the school. Schools are not required to provide copies of records unless, for reasons such as great distance, it is impossible for parents or eligible students to review the records. Schools may charge a fee for copies.
- Parents or eligible students have the right to request that a school correct records which they believe to be inaccurate or misleading. If the school decides not to amend the record, the parent or eligible student then has the right to a formal hearing. After the hearing, if the school still decides not to amend the record, the parent or eligible student has the right to place a statement with the record setting forth his or her view about the contested information.
- Generally, schools must have written permission from the parent or eligible student in order to release any information from a student's education record. However, FERPA allows schools to disclose those records, without consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions (34 CFR § 99.31):
- School officials with legitimate educational interest;
- At the discretion of the institute, VMI may release selected information to outside contracted agencies such as Parkhurst Dining, Follett Corporation, National Student Clearinghouse, VMI Alumni Agency, VMI Foundation and other affiliated agencies. This information pertains only to data considered to be needed to support contracted obligations as designated under the legitimate educational interest guideline.
- Other schools to which a student is transferring;
- Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes;
- Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student;
- Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school;
- Accrediting organizations;
- To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena;
- Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies; and
- State and local authorities, with a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific State law.
Schools may disclose, without consent, "directory" information such as a student's name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors and awards, and dates of attendance. However, schools must tell parents and eligible students about directory information and allow parents and eligible students a reasonable amount of time to request that the school not disclose directory information about them. Schools must notify parents and eligible students annually of their rights under FERPA. The actual means of notification (special letter, inclusion in a PTA bulletin, student handbook, or newspaper article) is left to the discretion of each school.
In accordance with the new Department of Education guidelines effective January 8, 2009, the VMI Post Police serves as the official law enforcement unit of the institute. The VMI Post Police may, at the discretion without consent, disclose any investigative reports and other records created by the law enforcement unit to anyone, including local policy other law enforcement authorities. For more information on the Cleary Act, please see Clery Act Information and Statistics.
For additional information or technical assistance, you may call (202) 260-3887 (voice). Individuals who use TDD may call the Federal Information Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339. Or you may contact the Family Compliance Office at the following address:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-4605
Complete information on the overview of all Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) policies and guidelines found by contacting the Family Policy Compliance Office, Washington, DC.