Academic Policies


FERPA Notification of Rights

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. These rights include the following:

  1. The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days [calendar days] of the day the University receives a request for access.

To gain access, the student must submit a written request to the record custodian, identifying the specific record(s) the student wishes to inspect. This request will be granted within 45 days. The student may ask for an explanation and/or copy of his/her "Education Record". Examination will be permitted under conditions that will prevent alteration or mutilation of the record. The record custodian or a designee will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the requested records may be inspected. The student must present proper identification upon request. Documents submitted by or for the student in support of his/her application for admission or for transfer credit will not be returned to the student or sent elsewhere. Right of Access does not include:

    1. Financial records of parents or any information therein.
    2. Confidential letters and statements of recommendation, which were placed in the "Education Records" prior to January 1, 1975.
    3. "Records" to which access has been waived by a student.
  1. The right to request an amendment of the student's education records that the student believes are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student's privacy rights under FERPA.

If the student believes the "Record" content to be inaccurate, he/she may submit a request for amendment of his/her record. Normally such matters will be satisfactorily settled in the course of informal discussion with the student. When this is not the case, the request and the challenge must be presented in writing to the record custodian who will inform the student of his/her decision within 45 days. If the record custodian decides not to amend the record as requested, the record custodian will notify the student in writing of the decision and of the student’s right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. If the student decides to pursue, he/she may then submit a written request for a hearing to the Registrar or designee, who will (1) appoint an Appeals Committee consisting of four "Record" custodians (none of whom is custodian of the "Record" in question), with one of the four designated as chair, and (2) designate a time and place for the first meeting and inform the student of the same. The Appeals Committee will convene with the student within 45 days from the date of receipt of the request, allowing the student, or his/her parents if the student is a dependent, to present relevant evidence. The student may be assisted or represented by counsel of his/her choice and at his/her own expense. A written decision based solely upon evidence presented at the hearing will be given to the student within 45 days after the conclusion of the hearing, including a summary of the evidence and reasons for the decision and notification of his/her right to place a statement in the "Education Record". Thereupon, the student may submit to the Committee a written explanation to be inserted into the "Record". Note: This procedure does not provide for a hearing to contest an academic grade.

  1. The right to provide written consent before the University discloses personally identifiable information from the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.

The University discloses education records without a student’s prior written consent under the FERPA exception for 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 serving on an institutional governing body; a person or company (vendor) with whom the University has contracted as its agent to provide a service instead of using University employees or officials (such as the National Student Clearinghouse, an attorney, auditor, collection agency, IT service provider, etc.); an organization conducting studies for the University for the purpose of assisting in accomplishing the University’s mission; a volunteer serving the University in a position requiring access to student records, including but not limited to administrators and staff serving at the University; or a student serving on an official committee or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks.

A school official has a legitimate education interest if the official needs access to an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities for the University.

Upon request, the University also discloses education records without consent to:

    1. officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll or is already enrolled,
    2. parents of dependent students when proof of dependency is provided,
    3. appropriate persons in connection with an emergency if knowledge is necessary to protect the health or safety of a student or other persons,
    4. the courts, in compliance with judicial order or subpoena, after the University has made a reasonable effort to notify the student,
    5. accrediting organizations to carry out their accrediting functions,
    6. state and local officials authorized by Tennessee statute adopted prior to November 19, 1974,
    7. federal or state officials as defined in the regulations concerning this law, who may re-disclose such records or personally identifiable information to a third party in connection with program evaluation, research, or data compilation, and
    8. appropriate persons in connection with a student's application for or receipt of financial aid.


  1. The right to file a complaint. Written complaints concerning failure by the University to comply with FERPA should be submitted to Columbia International University, Office of the Registrar, 7435 Monticello Road, Columbia, SC 29203, or to the Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20202-4605.

Directory Information

Directory information is defined by the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) as information contained in a student's education record "that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy" if disclosed. Each institution has the right to define, within the limits of FERPA regulations, the data that it considers to be directory information.

Directory information may be disclosed from a student's education record without prior consent per FERPA regulations. Therefore, at its discretion, CIU may provide "directory information" in accordance with the provisions of FERPA regulations.

Directory information at CIU consists of:

  • Student Name
  • Student Address
  • Telephone Listing
  • E-mail Address 
  • Date 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
  • Most Recent Previous Education Agency or Institution Attended by the Student
  • Student’s Current Enrollment Status (number of enrolled hours, full-time or part-time status)
  • Student’s Classification (level)
  • Cumulative Earned Hours
  • University Student-Employment Status

Instructions for requesting that directory information not be released may be found here. This request should be carefully considered since it could have undesired results. For any student whose directory data is restricted, the University will:

  1. not include the student's name, address, or phone number in the Telephone Directory (Note, the University can only ensure that your information will be withheld from the telephone directory if your request is turned in before the 14th day of Fall classes.)
  2. not include the student's e-mail address in the e-mail directory;
  3. refuse to release any information about the student to any insurance company, current or future employer, media outlet, and non-institutional person or organization;
  4. give no financial aid or personal information over the phone;
  5. state, "We can provide no information on that person" to any request for information.

CIU will honor your request to withhold directory information but cannot assume responsibility to contact you for subsequent permission to release this information. Regardless of the effect upon you, CIU assumes no liability as a result of honoring your instructions that such information be withheld.