Registration: Policies

Registration Policies

Adding and Dropping Courses
Appeals for Late Drop/Withdrawal
Class Cancellation Refund
Grading
Immunization Policy
Withdrawal
FERPA Notice to Students
FERPA FAQs




Adding and Dropping Courses

Download Enrollment Change Form

ADDING COURSES

Definition: A Course Add is an action taken by a student prior to or during the start of the term to add a course to his/her schedule during the course Add Period. This period begins on the first day of online registration for the semester until the end of the second week of classes. Any changes made after the second week of the semester must be approved by the Advising Center.

Adding Classes during the Online Registration Period

Students may add classes to their schedules through their MyLIU portal during the online registration period. Online registration ends after the second week of classes for the fall and spring terms.  Nontraditional terms and sessions will have customized add dates. See Tuition Liability Policy for additional details. Some classes may be blocked for online registration because they require proof of approval. If online registration is unavailable, the student must submit a completed Enrollment Change Form to the Office of Enrollment Services with approval signatures.  Please see the section on Departmental Consent below for additional information.

After the Second Week of Classes

Beginning with the third week of classes, course additions may require the approval of the following persons and / or departments before the Office of Enrollment Services will process the change (please note that additional penalties and fees may apply):

  • Instructor (required)
  • Dean or Department Chairperson (required)
  • Student Financial Services (for changes in cost of attendance or enrollment status)

Required Consent

The following course adds may require special administrative or departmental consent as follows:

  • Restricted Courses:  occurs if the department has restricted registration.  The student must obtain either a course permission code or signature from the instructor, department chair, or dean, as defined by the academic department.
  • Credit Overloads: occurs at the career level; when a student would like to add a course(s) that will take him/her over 19 credits for undergraduates and 12 credits for graduates for the semester. Full time students who add credit hours over 18 will be charged additional fees for those excess hours. Students wishing to enroll in an overload must obtain the signature of the advisor, instructor and/or chair as defined by the academic department.
  • Closed Courses: occurs when there are no seats available in the course. The student must obtain the signature of the course instructor and/or department chairperson, as defined by the academic department.
  • Time Conflicts: occurs when two courses take place during the same or overlapping time period.  The student must obtain the signature of one or both instructors and/or the dean, as defined by the academic department.
  • Requisite Overrides: occurs when the student does not have the required pre- or co-requisite for the course.  The student must obtain the signature of the advisor, instructor, and/or chairperson, as defined by the academic department.
  • Service Indicator Overrides: occurs when a student has a hold on their account that prevents them from engaging in an enrollment activity.  Students are advised to check for registration holds in their MyLIU portal Student Center page to determine the origin of each hold. The student should contact that office noted and remedy the situation so as to have the hold either removed from their account or obtain approval for the hold to be overridden.

DROPPING COURSES

Definition: A Course Drop is an action taken by a student prior to or during the start of the term to remove a course from his/her transcript. Students may drop one, some or all of their classes though the drop/add period without receiving any grade. However, students who fail to drop a course or wish to withdraw from a course after the designated drop/add period for a term but before the designated withdrawal deadline must follow the Official Withdrawal procedures. See Withdrawal Policy for details on Withdrawals.

Dropping Classes Prior to the Third Week of the Term

Students can drop classes up through the second week of the term with no penalty as follows:

  • Drop one or more courses online using their MyLIU portal
  • Drop courses at the Office of Enrollment Services
  • Drop courses through their Academic Advisor

Students may have their financial aid reduced if the student's enrollment status changes from full-time to part-time, or from full-time or part-time to below half-time. Students will have their financial aid cancelled if the student drops all courses and does not incur any liability, or fails to meet satisfactory academic progress standards as a result of the cancellation of enrollment.  Financial aid for future terms will also be cancelled.  See Appeals Policy for Student Withdrawals and Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy for additional details.  Students receiving Veterans benefits should meet with the Veteran's Certifying Official to determine if drops will affect their current and future benefits when they; add or drop any course, withdraw from or terminate enrollment at the University.

Drops that change a student's enrollment status from full-time to part-time, or from full or part time to below half-time, may have their Federal, State, and/or University aid adjusted.  The University may also be required to report the student's change in enrollment status to lenders, which can trigger the repayment of student loans.  Students will be notified in these cases via writing.

After the Second Week of Classes

Drops after the second week of classes must be officially processed as a partial or full withdrawal. Please see Withdrawal Policy and/or Appeals Policy for additional details.

Required Consent

The following course drops may require special administrative or departmental consent as follows:

  • Co-Requisite Overrides: occurswhen the student is attempting to drop a course which is a co-requisite of another course not being dropped.  The student must obtain the signature of the advisor, instructor, and/or chairperson, as defined by the academic department.
  • Student Athletes: NCAA regulations require that student athletes must be full-time degree seeking students to participate in intercollegiate athletics.  Student Athletes must be enrolled in a minimum of 12 credits per term.  If a student athlete falls below 12 credits, they are immediately ineligible to practice or compete.  Athletes are advised to speak with the athletic department before dropping courses.
  • Residential Life: Undergraduate resident students are expected to maintain full-time enrollment status each term.  Undergraduate residents are advised to speak with the Office of Residence Life before dropping classes.
  • Service Indicator Overrides: occurs when students have one or more holds on their account that prevents them from performing a course drop.  Students are advised to check for registration holds in their MyLIU portal Student Center page to determine the origin of each hold. The student should contact that office noted and remedy the situation so as to have the hold either removed from their account or obtain approval for the hold to be overridden.
▲ Back to Top

Appeals for Late Drop or Withdrawal

Download Appeal for Late Withdrawals Form

An appeal may be granted due to circumstances beyond the student's control that prevented him/her from dropping or withdrawing from a course(s) within the published deadlines. The circumstances must have interrupted the student's ability to attend classes for a substantial length of time, complete the semester, or adhere to the usual drop, withdrawal or refund policy.

DEADLINE FOR FILING A LATE DROP OR WITHDRAWAL APPEAL

Students will be given one year following the end of the semester in which a course(s) was taken to petition a drop/withdrawal retroactively. Financial Aid adjustments will not be made after July 31 of the following year in accordance with regulations set forth by the Department of Education. 

STUDENT ACTION

A student may appeal in person, by fax, or email by submitting a signed and completed Student Appeal Request Form along with the required documentation to the Office of the Registrar by the appropriate appeals deadline.   All appeal requests must be submitted by the student. Appeals submitted by a parent, legal guardian or spouse will be accepted only if the student is incapacitated.

REQUIRED DOCUMENTATION

  •  A written statement from the student: must clearly state the request, the reason for the request and the type of resolution they are seeking. The statement must explain why the appeal request is justified. In addition, information regarding extenuating or unusual circumstances that impacted his/her situation must be included.
  • Supporting documentation: may include the following
    • Proof of attending another Institution
    • Proof of deployment
    • Death Certificate or obituary statement
    • Documentation of medical diagnosis and visit dates
    • Records of hospitalization, mental health or drug treatment
    • Other supporting documentation supporting the inability to follow the normal drop/withdrawal deadlines

UNIVERSITY ACTION

The Office of Enrollment Services will work with other departments on campus to gather information, review the appeal, and make a determination based on the merits of the information provided. Students will be informed of the outcome of their appeal in writing.

IMPACT ON STUDENT RECORD, TUITION AND FEES, FINANCIAL AID

Approval Impact

  • Late Drop:   If approved, course(s) will be removed from the student's transcript. This action may result  as a total cancellation of the student's record. If the drop changes the student's status, financial aid will be adjusted accordingly.
  • Late Withdrawal: If approved, a "W" grade will be assigned for the course or courses and will appear on the student's transcript. Students who wish to have their tuition and fee charges adjusted must file a tuition and fee appeal.
  • Tuition and Fee Refund: Students requesting a review of tuition and fee liability due to a late drop or withdrawal must provide compelling evidence that prohibited the student from dropping or withdrawing during the Tuition Refund period. If approved, tuition and fee liability will be recalculated based on the date of the official withdrawal or drop. Any financial aid received will not be adjusted.  If a Return of Title IV calculation was already performed prior to the appeal, aid will not be adjusted.  

Denial Impact

No adjustment will be made to the student's record, tuition, fees and financial aid.

ACCEPTABLE REQUESTS

  • Student illness or medical emergency - may occur when a student is diagnosed with a major medical illness or injury that significantly interfered with the student's ability to officially withdraw from the University. Supporting documentation must be on physician letterhead (including phone number).  Physician statement must be signed and dated. A statement must also include that the medical situation is preventing the student from attending classes for a substantial length of time, completing the semester and/ or prevent the student from adhering to the usual withdrawal procedures.
  • Involuntary Call to Military Duty - may occur when a student in the U.S. Reserves or in the National Guard is called to active duty or when an International student is called to active duty in his/her home country.  Students should submit copies of orders that clearly indicate the date of deployment.
  • Death of a student or immediate family member - Immediate family member is defined as: parent, spouse, sibling or child. Students must submit a death certificate, obituary, or death notice. If not clearly stated, documentation is needed to indicate the relationship to the student. 
  • Other extraordinary events

▲ Back to Top


Class Cancellation Refund

The University reserves the right to cancel undersubscribed courses. When it does so, there is no program change fee.


▲ Back to Top


Grading

All instructors at the campuses of Long Island University may assign the following grades for undergraduate and graduate courses:

Grade Point Value
A 4.00
A- 3.67
B+ 3.33
B 3.00
B- 2.67
C+ 2.33
C 2.00
C- 1.67 (undergraduate only)
D 1.00 (undergraduate only)
F 0.00
W Official Withdrawal (not used in GPA computation)
UW Unofficial Withdrawal (not used in GPA computation)
INC Incomplete (not used in GPA computation)

If you have additional questions please contact your department chair or academic and career counselor.


▲ Back to Top


Immunization Policy

Long Island University (LIU) is dedicated to ensuring the overall health and wellness of our campus community. Therefore, compliance with New York State Public Health Laws 2165 and 2167 is strictly enforced. Accordingly, all students born on or after January 1, 1957 who are enrolled for at least six (6) semester hours or equivalent per semester must provide written proof of 2 doses of measles, 1 dose of mumps, and 1 dose of rubella, also referred to as MMR. Additionally, LIU shall distribute information about meningococcal disease to all students and maintain a signed record documenting receipt of this information, as well as proof or waiver of vaccination.

Students must submit complete documentation for NYSPHL §§ 2165 and 2167 using the LIU MMR/Meningitis form prior to or upon registering for classes. All students who register on or after the first day of classes without satisfying these requirements will have a H02/H09 block placed on their accounts, preventing any additional enrollment activity until compliant immunization records are received. Students with either the H02 or H09 block may not remain in campus housing unless, within seven days after the first day of classes, they submit proof of (a) at least one measles vaccination or (b) submit proof of having undergone blood tests for immunity (titers).

Students whose complete immunization documentation is not received within 30 days of the first day of classes will be suspended from campus. Such students will not be allowed on campus until cleared by their campus student health program. Students who are suspended from campus due to immunization noncompliance must discuss all academic requirements directly with their academic program administration(s) and will be responsible for all financial obligations including, but not limited to full tuition, applicable fees, room and meal fees, and/or loss of access to campus services.


▲ Back to Top


Withdrawal

DEFINITIONS

Official Withdrawal
An Official Withdrawal refers to an action taken by a student to discontinue enrollment after the drop period has expired.  The course is recorded on the transcript with a grade of W.

  • Course Withdrawals/Partial Withdrawals - when a student withdraws from one or more classes, but remains enrolled in at least one class.
  • Term/Session Withdrawals/Complete Withdrawals - when a student drops or withdraws from all of his/her courses in a current term. This can occur at one time or over a period of time within a term.

Unofficial Withdrawal
An Unofficial Withdrawal refers to a student who fails to attend or ceases to attend one or more classes without officially withdrawing from the University.   The course is recorded on the student's transcript with a grade of UW.

Course Drop
A Course Drop is an action taken by a student prior to the start of, or during the term. The dropped course does not appear on his/her transcript. Please refer to the Add/Drop Policy for details on course drops.

OFFICIAL WITHDRAWAL DEADLINES

  • Complete Term/Session Withdrawals - Students may officially withdraw from the University prior to the start of finals.
  • Summer Session Withdrawals - Students may officially withdraw from the University prior to the start of finals for the session.
  • Winter Session Withdrawals - Students may officially withdraw from the University on or before the seventh day of the session.
  • Course Withdrawals/Partial Withdrawals - Students may officially withdraw from one or more classes through the 10th week of the term. Please refer to the Academic Calendar in the Campus Bulletin on the University website for specific dates in each term.

WITHDRAWAL METHODS

The University permits students to withdraw from a course, session, or term in the following manner:

Submit Completed Withdrawal Application Form
A student may withdraw in person, by fax, or by email by submitting a signed and completed Withdrawal Application Form to the Office of Enrollment Services by the withdrawal deadline.  Forms are processed upon receipt.  Any forms faxed outside business hours, during weekends or holidays will be processed the following business day.

Process through MyLIU

  • Course Drop - Students can use their MyLIU portal to drop courses online through the second week of the term.  Please refer to the Add/Drop Policy for details on course drops.
  • Email to Office of the Registrar - A student may notify the Office of Enrollment Services of their intent to withdraw from the University via their MyLIU e-mail account.  Due to FERPA regulations, the University will not respond to requests from outside email sources.  In the body of the email, the student must state their intent to withdraw from a course, session, or term.  Please include your Student ID number and direct contact information.

WITHDRAWAL IMPACTS

Effective Date of Withdrawal

  • Official Withdrawals: The withdrawal date will be recorded with an effective date when all forms are completed, signed and returned to the Office of Enrollment Services.  The University has a published Appeals Policy for students who wish to appeal their official withdrawal date.
  • Unofficial Withdrawals: The withdrawal determination date for students who do not officially withdrawal will be recorded as the last date of the term.  For Federal financial aid purposes, it will be assumed that the student unofficially withdrew at the midpoint of the term.  See Grading Policy for additional details.

Tuition Liability/Refund

  • Official Withdrawals and Drops: The effective date of drops and/or withdrawal will determine the student tuition liability due or refund due to the student. See Tuition Liability Policy for additional details, including refunds for room and/or board charges.  The University has a published Appeals Policy for students who wish to appeal tuition charges and fees due. 
  • Unofficial Withdrawals: The student is responsible for all associated tuition charges and fees.

Transcript/Grades

  • Official Withdrawals: A grade of W will be assigned for the course or courses and will appear on the student's transcript.
  • Unofficial Withdrawals: A grade of UW will be assigned for the course or courses and will appear on the student's transcript.
  • Drops: The course will not appear on, or will be removed from the student's transcript.

Credits Attempted/Earned

  • Official Withdrawals: The course or courses will be considered attempted but not earned.
  • Unofficial Withdrawals: The course or courses will be considered attempted but not earned.
  • Drops: The course or courses will neither be considered attempted nor earned.

Grade Point Average
Withdrawn or dropped courses do not affect a student's grade point average.

Financial Aid Adjustments

  • Change in Student Status: Students who change their enrollment status from full-time to part-time, or from full or part-time to below half-time, due to a partial drop or withdrawal, may have their Federal, State, and/or University aid adjusted.  The University may also be required to report the student's change in enrollment status to lenders, which can trigger the repayment of student loans.  Students will be notified in these cases via writing.
  • Cancellation of Financial Aid: Students will have their financial aid cancelled if the student drops all courses and does not incur any liability, or fails to meet satisfactory academic progress standards as a result of the withdrawal.  Financial aid for future terms may also be cancelled.  See Appeals Policy and Satisfactory Academic Progress for additional details.
  • Return of Federal Funds: The University is required to return funds for students who stop attending all courses before completing 60% of the term.  The student will be notified by mail of the unearned amounts returned to the Federal financial aid programs.  The return of Federal funds may result in a balance due to the University, particularly if the student previously received and cashed a refund check.  See Return of Federal Funds Policy for additional details. 

Residential Life
Students residing in on-campus housing must contact the Office of Residence Life upon withdrawal from the University. Students must follow proper check-out procedures and must vacate their campus housing within 48 hours of the effective withdrawal date.  Students who drop or withdraw from a future term must vacate their campus housing after completion of finals.  Room and board charges must be cancelled through the Office of Residence Life.  Liability for these charges will be pro-rated and assessed at the time of cancellation. 

Future Enrollment
Students who withdraw from all courses may be subject to readmission.  Students who withdraw from the University must be in good financial standing in order to  register for future classes or have access to their official and unofficial transcript.

Special Program Participation

  • Athletics: In accordance with NCAA regulations, all intercollegiate athletes must notify the Athletic Department and the Office of Admissions when partially or fully withdrawing from the University.
  • Veterans: In accordance with VA regulations, students receiving veteran's benefits must notify the VA Certifying Official on campus when partially or fully withdrawing from the University.
  • HEOP: Students participating in the Arthur O. Eve Higher Education Opportunity Program must notify the HEOP Program Director when partially or fully withdrawing from the University.
  • Honors: Students participating in the Honors Program must notify the Honors Program Director when partially or fully withdrawing from the University.

ALTERNATIVES TO WITHDRAWAL

Schedule adjustment
When contemplating a withdrawal due to scheduling conflicts, students should discuss their situation with their academic advisor, academic dean, or the Office of Enrollment Services to see if accommodations can be made.

Incomplete Grades
For some students, receiving an incomplete grade and finishing the coursework at a later time may be a better option than withdrawing from the University.  Students should be advised to discuss this option with their instructor, academic advisor or academic dean.


▲ Back to Top


Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

Every year, Long Island University informs students of their rights under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended. Long Island University complies with this federal statute which affords students over 18 years of age, or attending a post-secondary institution ("eligible students") certain rights with respect to their educational records.

These rights include:

  1. The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days of the day the University receives a request for access. Students should submit to the Office of Enrollment Services written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The Office of Enrollment Services will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records requested are not maintained by the University, Enrollment Services shall advise the student of that fact. If the records are maintained by another University official, Enrollment Services will advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
  2. The right to request the amendment of the student's education records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading. Students may ask Enrollment Services to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. They should write Enrollment Services , clearly identifying the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the University decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the University 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.
  3. 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. An exception which permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the University has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Long Island University Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance FERPA committee; or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility.
  4. In accordance with the Act, the following directory information will be released upon request, unless a written notice to the contrary is received by the Office of Enrollment Services:

    ● Name
    ● Dates of Attendance
    ● Enrollment Status
    ● Class
    ● Major
    ● Awards
    ● Honors
    ● Degrees conferred
    ● Past and present participation in officially recognized sports and non-curricular activities
    ● Physical factors (height, weight) of athletes
    ● Previous educational institutions most recently attended

  5. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the University to comply with FERPA. The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA is:

    Family Policy Compliance Office
    U.S. Department of Education
    400 Maryland Avenue, S.W.
    Washington, D.C. 20202-4605

This notice is not intended to be fully explanatory of students' rights under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Copies of the Long Island University Compliance Policy and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act are available from the Office of Enrollment Services.


▲ Back to Top


FERPA FAQs

The following FAQs are designed to elucidate the scope of the law and are based on materials prepared by the National Association of College and University Attorneys.

Question: What does FERPA restrict?

Answer: FERPA limits the disclosure of information from student "education records".

"Education records" include virtually all records maintained by an educational institution, in any format, that are "directly related" to one or more of its past or present students. A record is "directly related" to a student if it is "personally identifiable" to the student. A record is "personally identifiable" to a student if it expressly identifies the student on its face by name, address, ID number, or other such common identifier. A record is also personally identifiable if it includes "other information that, alone or in combination, is linked or linkable to a specific student that would allow a reasonable person in the school community, who does not have personal knowledge of the relevant circumstances, to identify the student with reasonable certainty" - in other words, if it contains enough demographic or other information that it points to a single student. For example, a disciplinary record about an unnamed male student likely would not, without more, be personally identifiable, but a disciplinary record about an unnamed male sophomore political science major who lives in Smith Hall, plays on the soccer team, and is a resident of Huntington likely would "name" the particular student.

Despite the name "education records," there is no requirement that a record be "educational" or "academic" in nature to qualify. Thus, the term includes not only registrar's office records, transcripts, papers, exams and the like, but also non-academic student information database systems, class schedules, financial aid records, financial account records, disability accommodation records, disciplinary records, and even "unofficial" files, photographs, e-mail messages, hand-scrawled Post-it notes, and documents that are publicly available elsewhere or that the student herself has publicly disclosed.

Question: When may information from education records be disclosed?

Answer: In general, information derived from a student's education records may be disclosed only if: (1) it is "directory information;" (2) the student has consented to the disclosure or (3) the law provides an exception that permits disclosure without the student's consent.

Question: What is "directory information"?

Answer: FERPA allows institutions to designate certain classes of information as "directory information" that may be released to anyone without a student's consent. At LIU, directory information includes each student's name; dates of attendance; enrollment status; class; major; awards; honors; degrees conferred; past and present participation in officially recognized sports and non-curricular activities, physical factors (height, weight) of athletes and previous educational institutions most recently attended.

Students may "opt out" and block the release of their own directory information, by making a formal request to the Office of Enrollment Services. Even if a student has chosen to block the release of directory information, the institution may nevertheless continue to disclose that student's directory information under any other exception that may be applicable or with the student's case-by-case consent.

Question: May information from student education records be shared with others on campus?

Answer: Yes. Under one of FERPA's many exceptions, campus personnel are free to share information from student education records with other "school officials" who have "legitimate educational interests" in the information. The Family Policy Compliance Office ("FPCO"), the office within the U.S. Department of Education charged with overseeing and enforcing FERPA, offers the following model definitions:

A school official is a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the University has contracted as its agent to provide a service instead of using University employees or officials (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 for the University. For example, a student of faculty member concerned that a student's statements or behavior evidence a potential threat could - and should - share relevant information with the dean of students, the judicial affairs office, the campus counseling center, the campus law enforcement unit, or other appropriate "school officials" whose job it is to deal with such issues.

Question: May information from a student's education records be disclosed to protect health or safety?

Answer: Yes. FERPA permits the disclosure of information from student education records "to appropriate parties, including parents..., in connection with an emergency if knowledge of the information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals." For example, if a student sends an e-mail to his resident assistant saying that he has just been diagnosed with a highly contagious disease such as measles, the institution could alert the student's roommate, and perhaps others with whom the student has come in close contact, to urge them to seek appropriate testing and medical care. Safety concerns warranting disclosure could include a student's statements about suicide, unusually erratic and angry behaviors, or similar conduct that others would reasonably see as posing a risk of serious harm.

In general, and when reasonably possible, the initial disclosure should be made to professionals trained to evaluate and handle such emergencies, such as campus mental health or law enforcement personnel, who can then determine whether further and broader disclosures are appropriate. Depending on the particular circumstances, disclosure under this exception may be made to law enforcement, parents, threat assessment teams or professionals, individuals who may have information necessary to determine the extent of a potential threat (such as friends, roommates, and prior schools attended), and potential victims and their families. If the concerns are of a more urgent nature, school officials should immediately contact campus or local police. FERPA permits each of these communications.

Question: When may the university disclose information from a student's education records to the student's parent or legal guardian?

Answer: Once a student is attending LIU, all rights provided by FERPA rest with the student, even if the student is younger than 18 years old. Education record information may therefore be disclosed to the parent of a college or university student only with the student's consent, or when one of the exceptions to FERPA permits disclosure. Two exceptions specifically address communications to parents.

First, FERPA permits disclosures of any or all education record information to a student's parents if the student is their dependent for federal tax purposes. To rely on this exception, the institution must verify the student's dependent status, normally either by asking the student for confirmation or by asking the parents for a copy of the relevant portion of their most recent tax return.

Second, an institution may provide information to a parent or legal guardian about any violation of law or of an institutional rule or policy governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance, if the institution has determined that the student committed a disciplinary violation with respect to such use or possession and the student is under the age of 21 at the time of both the violation and the disclosure.

These exceptions, like the other FERPA exceptions, are independent of each other. Thus, an institution may notify parents about a 19-year-old student's underage drinking violations even if the student is not their tax dependent, and may likewise notify the parents of a 22-year-old student's drug violations if the student is their tax dependent. Similarly, the situation need not rise to the level of a health or safety emergency in order for either of these exceptions to apply.

Question: What about disclosing information from the student discipline process, either to others on campus or to other institutions?

Answer: FERPA expressly permits institutions to include in a student's education records information about disciplinary action taken against the student for conduct that posed a significant risk to the safety or well being of that student, other students, or other members of the community. Such information may be disclosed to any "school officials" who have "legitimate educational interests" in the behavior of the student, and it also may be disclosed as appropriate under the health and safety emergency exception. FERPA also expressly provides that, for purposes of the health and safety emergency exception, the "appropriate parties" to whom disclosure may be made include teachers and officials at other institutions who have legitimate educational interests in the behavior of the student.

In a separate (and again independent) exception, FERPA further permits institutions to disclose to anyone the final result of a university disciplinary proceeding conducted against a student who is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or a nonforcible sex offense. The "final result" is limited to the name of the student who is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence, the violation found to have been committed, and any sanction imposed against the student by the institution.

Question: Is the disclosure of campus law enforcement unit records restricted by FERPA?

Answer: No. Records that are created by the campus law enforcement unit for a law enforcement purpose are not "education records" and, at least as far as FERPA is concerned, may be shared freely with anyone the institution, in its discretion, deems appropriate. For example, FERPA would not prevent a campus law enforcement unit from disclosing to external law enforcement agencies an incident report concerning the unit's response to a student's threatening statements or behavior.

Question: May an employee disclose personal knowledge and impressions about a student, based on the employee's personal interactions with the student?

Answer: Yes. FERPA's disclosure restrictions apply only to information derived from student education records, not to personal knowledge derived from direct, personal experience with a student. For example, a faculty or staff member who personally observes a student engaging in erratic and threatening behavior is not prohibited by FERPA from disclosing that observation. The employee generally should limit disclosure of such information to professionals trained to evaluate and manage it, as other privacy laws conceivably could apply and prohibit broader disclosures, depending upon the circumstances.

Question: What should a faculty member or other university employee do if he or she is concerned about a student?

Answer: If the concern is that a student may engage in violent behavior, toward self or others, and the threat appears to be imminent, the employee should contact the campus police or security office immediately. If the concern is of a less urgent nature, or the employee is not quite sure what to make of a student's comments or conduct, the employee should consult with professionals on campus or associated with the institution, such as the Dean of Students, a campus counseling center, or law enforcement, who may be able to assess the potential threat, identify resources for the student, and provide information that could assist in deciding on an appropriate course of action. In consultation with appropriate campus resources, a collective decision may then be made to contact a family member, an appropriate off-campus resource, or others.

FERPA would not present an obstacle to any of these disclosures. The worst response is to ignore troubling or threatening behavior. School officials should trust their instincts when a student appears to be in trouble and should consult with others on campus.

CONCLUSION

FERPA does not impede the sharing of student information among campus officials or appropriate third parties when there is a legitimate concern relating to campus or personal safety. In the case of an emergency or serious threat to personal safety, any ambiguity about FERPA can - and should - be resolved in favor of protecting the safety of individuals.

If you have any questions about FERPA, please contact the Office of the University Counsel at 516-299-3665.

▲ Back to Top