By Margaret Mitschke*
This blog is part of our 60 Laws in 60 Minutes update to the SHSU community.
Prior to HB 4046, the law did not define what constituted a student record. The bill changes this and defines a student record as:
- Information that constitutes education records as that term is defined by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (20 U.S.C. Section 1232g (a) (4)); or
- Information in a record of an applicant for admission to an educational institution, including a transfer applicant.
The first definition is defined by FERPA (20 U.S.C. Section 1232g (a) (4) (1974)):
- For the purposes of this section, the term “education records” means…those records, files, documents, and other material which—
- Contain information directly related to a student; and
- Are maintained by an educational agency or institution or by a person acting for such agency or institution.
This bill also closes a gap in the federal privacy law, which offered protection and confidentiality to student records that were enrolled in a university, but not to students that had applied but had not enrolled. The bill fixes this, and applicants to the university may have their records available upon request by:
- Educational institution personnel;
- The student involved, the student’s parent, legal guardian, or spouse; or
- A person conducting a child abuse investigation.
The final change clarifies the content of the student records that may disclosed. The bill states:
(e) If an applicant for admission to an educational institution described by Subsection (b) or a parent or legal guardian of a minor applicant to an educational institution described by Subsection (b) requests information in the record of the applicant, the educational institution shall disclose any information that:
- Is related to the applicant’s application for admission; and
- Was provided to the educational institution by the applicant.