4.2 Statement on Privacy and Disclosure of Student Information

Macalester College seeks to ensure the privacy of its students and abides by the Federal and State regulations pertaining to student privacy. The College is guided by The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the College's Rights, Freedoms and Responsibilities document in following policies on student information and privacy.
(Also see Campus Policies - Confidentiality)

1. Right to Review Records

Students attending Macalester College and their parents, except parents of independent students, have the right to inspect and review educational records of the College, except that certain records as noted below are excluded from this right of inspection and review.

1.1 The College will comply with a written request to inspect or review educational records within 10 working days of the request.

1.2 The College will give the student or parent a copy of the requested record, if failure to provide a copy would prevent the student or parent from inspecting or reviewing the record.

1.2.1 The College may charge for copies of the record, but it may not charge for searching for the record.

1.3 The College will comply with student or parent requests to explain and interpret what is contained in a record.

1.4 The following records are specifically limited and are not subject to disclosure to the student or parent.

1.4.1 Financial records of the parent, or any information those records contain are not to be disclosed to the student, or in the case of parents who are not married, to the other parent.

1.4.2 Confidential letters and statements to which the student has waived, in writing, the right to inspect and review. Macalester does not require the signing of such a waiver as a condition of consideration of such letters and statements. The College will provide to the student or parent the names of people who have provided such confidential letters and statements upon request.

1.4.3 A faculty member's refusal to write a letter of recommendation without a waiver by the student is considered an action of the individual faculty member, and not of the College.

1.4.4 Information from medical or psychological records will be disclosed to a physician or other appropriate professional upon written request of the student only. The right of the parent is restricted in this case.

1.5 The student will be notified when information is released to a parent under this policy.

2. Directory Information

Certain information shall be regarded as "directory information" and as such may be disclosed outside the College.

2.1 Directory information includes: the student's name, local address, local telephone number, e-mail address, date and place of birth, major field of study, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received and most recent previous educational institution attended.

2.2 The College will disclose to students and their parents annually what information will be considered directory information and the procedures for requesting that directory information not be disclosed.

2.2.1 The student may request in writing that any or all directory information not be disclosed by the College. Such a request must be made each year of a student's enrollment to be effective.

2.2.2 Directory information about former students may be disclosed without annual notice set forth in 2.2.

3. Parental Rights

The College will presume that a student is dependent and grant rights to either parent unless the student has established independent status, or the College has written evidence of a court order or other legally binding document governing parental or guardianship rights. The College reserves the right, per Federal Government regulations, to notify parents when violations of campus alcohol or drug policies occur.

4. Release of Information in the College

Information from the student's educational record may be disclosed to officials of the College who have legitimate educational need to know the information in the record.

4.1 Records of medical or psychological treatment will only be released with the written consent from the student.

5. Release of Information Outside the College

With the exception of directory information, the College must obtain consent from the student or parent to release personally identifiable information to those outside the College.

5.1 In order to have information released outside the College, the student or parent must complete a consent form indicating the record of information to be released and the name of the party to whom the record or information is to be released.
5.1.1 The College may charge reasonable costs to cover the expenses of copying and mailing records to those outside the College.

5.2 In certain cases, the College may release personally identifiable information to those outside the College. In such cases, a statement noting the confidentiality of the information and the purpose for which it has been released shall be attached. Those cases are as follows:
5.2.1 Information may be provided to officials of another college in which the student seeks to enroll. In such cases, the College will notify the student that such information has been released.
5.2.2 Authorized representatives of federal or state government for US Census information, program audit, compliance or enforcement purposes.
5.2.3 Organizations conducting research on behalf of educational agencies for program, testing or instructional development.
5.2.4 Accrediting organizations as part of their functions.
5.2.5 Officers of the court in compliance with subpoena or court order.
5.2.6 Appropriate parties in a health or safety emergency, including the health and safety of the student or others.

5.3 Information that is disclosed to parties outside the College is subject to the condition that it not be "redisclosed" and that it is used only for the purpose for which it is originally disclosed.

6. Access File

The College will maintain an access record of each request and disclosure of a student record, except the following access records need not be maintained:

6.1 Disclosure to the student or parent, or at the request of the student or parent.

6.2 Disclosure to college officials as part of their job.

6.3 Requests for directory information.

7. Right to Challenge Information

A student or parent has the right to challenge false, inaccurate or misleading information contained in the educational record. The procedure for challenging information in the educational record is:

7.1 The student or parent will inform the responsible College administrator of the information which is believed to be false, inaccurate or misleading and request that the record be amended.

7.2 Within thirty days, the administrator will notify the student or parent of its decision as to whether to amend the educational record.

7.3 The student or parent has the right to appeal a decision not to amend the record.
7.3.1 An appeal will first be filed with the administrative officer responsible for the record. If that appeal is denied, the appeal may be filed with the Campus Judicial Forum. Procedures of the Judicial Forum will apply.
7.3.2 If the appeal is denied by the Judicial Forum, the student or parent has the right to place in the educational record notice of an exception to the information in the record. Such a notice will be maintained as long as the educational record is maintained and will be included with the record whenever the record is disclosed.

8. Destruction of Records

As part of its regularly scheduled procedures, the College will destroy records which are more than seven years old.

8.1 A record may not be destroyed when there is a pending request to inspect and review a record.

8.2 Student explanations pertaining to an inaccurate or disputed record will be included whenever the record is disclosed and destroyed with the record.

9. Notification

The College will notify students annually of their rights under this policy, including:

9.1 The right to review the complete text of this policy.

9.2 The right to file complaints with the Department of Education in case violations of these procedures cannot be resolved through College means.


The Counseling Office's Release of Information Policies are in accordance with Minnesota state law, the Rules of the MN Board of Psychology and the Ethical Principles of Psychologists adopted by the American Psychological Association (APA). Private information can be released only with the informed written consent of the student client. Exceptions to this rule are outlined in the MN Board of Psychology Rules of Conduct and in the APA's Principles of Psychologists.


The Macalester College Directory is not a public document. Copies are not to be made public, or to be distributed to anyone but members of the Macalester Community (currently enrolled students, faculty, and staff).

Minnesota Higher Education Services Office (MHESO)

Macalester complies with annual requests from the Minnesota Higher Education Services Office (MHESO) for student information that is personally identifiable. The MHESO has completed a non-disclosure agreement acknowledging its responsibility to treat this information in a confidential manner as required by federal and state privacy laws in a manner consistent with Macalester's own information release policy.