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Federal Requirement 4.8.2

4.8 An institution that offers distance or correspondence education documents each of the following: (Federal Requirement 4.8)

4.8.2 has a written procedure for protecting the privacy of students enrolled in distance and correspondence education courses or programs.


√ CompliantNon-Compliant

Narrative

The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) abides by the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) in protecting the privacy and confidentiality of student records. UTMB institutional policy specifically states that “students in attendance at UTMB will be notified annually of their rights pursuant to FERPA” through the Enrollment Services website, in the General Information Catalog, and in each of the four schools’ bulletins. “Attendance,” for the purposes of this policy, “includes, but is not limited to, attendance in person, by paper correspondence, videoconference, satellite, Internet, or other electronic information and telecommunications technologies for students who are not physically present in the classroom.” (1) In keeping with this policy, written information about the Act, and UTMB’s process for complying with its provisions, is published on the Institution’s Enrollment Services website (2) and is publicly available to all students on the inside front and back covers of the General Information Catalog and on all four individual school bulletins (3a) (3b) (3c) (3d) (3e). The information provided informs students that if students believe that UTMB has failed to comply with the requirements of FERPA, they have the right to file a complaint of the alleged violation with the U.S. Department of Education.

All students, including applicants and alumni, have access to mySTAR, a portal where student data is housed. That system includes a link that allows students to restrict or update their privacy settings regarding personal information in publications and directories (4). UTMB’s Institutional Handbook of Operating Procedures (IHOP) spells out all student privacy policies as they apply to all students, those at a distance as well as those located in Galveston (1). In addition, annual privacy compliance training for all faculty, staff, employees, and students reinforces the need to keep passwords secure as well as protecting security for other technology related resources (5).

Sources
1 UTMB Handbook of Operating Procedures, Section 7, Subject 7.1, Policy 7.1.30, Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
http://www.utmb.edu/policies_and_procedures/IHOP/Student/IHOP%20-%2007.01.30%20Family%20Educational%20Rights%20and%20Privacy%20Act%20(FERPA).pdf
2 Enrollment Services FERPA Notice
http://www.utmb.edu/enrollmentservices/ferpa.asp
3a FERPA Notice, General Information Catalog
http://www.utmb.edu/enrollmentservices/pdf/Gen_Info_Catalog_2010-12_web.pdf
3b FERPA Notice, SHP Bulletin
http://www.utmb.edu/enrollmentservices/pdf/SHP_Bulletin.pdf
3c FERPA Notice, SON Bulletin
http://www.utmb.edu/enrollmentservices/pdf/SON_Bulletin.pdf
3d FERPA Notice, SOM Bulletin
http://www.utmb.edu/enrollmentservices/pdf/SOM_Bulletin.pdf
3e FERPA Notice, GSBS Bulletin
http://www.utmb.edu/enrollmentservices/pdf/GSBS_Bulletin.pdf
4 mySTAR FERPA Restrictions Form
http://www.utmb.edu/enrollmentservices/pdf/FERPA_Restrictions.pdf
5 Annual Privacy Compliance Training
http://www.utmb.edu/compliance/OIC%20Training.asp

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