The Financial Aid Office complies with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974, the Higher Education Act (HEA), and the Privacy Act. FERPA is a federal law that was enacted to protect the privacy of students and their educational records. Records created and maintained by the Financial Aid Office are considered to be education records and may not be disclosed without the student’s consent.
The HEA authorizes the federal student aid programs and Section 483(a)(3)(E) specifically restricts the use of Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) data, and states that data collected on the FAFSA shall be used only for the application, award, and administration of aid awarded under Title IV student aid programs, state aid, or aid awarded by eligible institutions or such entities as the Education Department (ED) may designate.
Lastly, the Privacy Act (5 U.S.C. § 552) governs the collection, maintenance, and use of records maintained by federal agencies and generally prohibits agencies from disclosing data contained in those records. The Privacy Act can impose restrictions on institutions as well if a federal agency lawfully provides records or access to records to an institution.
The Financial Aid Office is required to provide student information in cooperation with agencies and individuals involved in conducting an audit, program review, investigation, or other review authorized by law.
Students have the opportunity to inspect and review their Financial Aid records within 45 days of the receipt of a request. The request must be made to the Financial Aid Office in writing.
Students can also authorize release of Financial Aid information to a parent, scholarship provider, or tribal organization by submitting the request in writing. Students may revoke that authorization at any time afterward by putting the request in writing. Requests that are not submitted in person must be notarized. Most other types of Financial Aid data sharing are disallowed by federal rules.