Location: Harkins Hall 310
Confidentiality of Student Educational Records
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”) of 1974, as amended, is a federal law governing the privacy of personally identifiable information in student educational records that provides specific rights to students with respect to those records. A student is any person who attends or has attended the College. Education records are any records (in handwriting, print, tapes, film, computer, or other medium) maintained by the College or an agent of the College that are directly related to the student. Education records include financial aid, academic, disciplinary and health records, and other personally identifiable information.
A personal record kept by a faculty or staff member if it is kept in the sole possession of the maker of the record, is not accessible or revealed to any other person except a temporary substitute for the maker of the record, and is not used for purposes other than a memory or reference tool, is not an educational record. Grades on peer-graded tests or assignments before they are collected and recorded by a faculty member are not educational records. A record created and maintained by the Office of Safety and Security for law enforcement purposes is not an educational record. An employment record of a person whose employment is not contingent on the fact that he or she is a student is not an educational record. A record made or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional, if the records are used only for treatment of a student and made available only to those persons providing the treatment, is not an educational record (other laws protect the confidentiality of medical or treatment records). An alumni record that contains information about a student after he or she is no longer in attendance at the College and that does not relate to the person as a student is not an educational record.
A student has the following rights: to inspect and review his or her educational records; to request an amendment to a record that the student believes is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA; to provide written consent before the College discloses personally identifiable information from the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent; and to file a complaint with the Family Policy Compliance Office of the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the College to comply with the requirements of FERPA. In accordance with FERPA, the College provides annual notice to students regarding these rights.
The College’s policy is to release information from a student’s educational record directly, and only, to that student. There are a number of exceptions to this non-disclosure policy, including one for health or safety emergencies. The law permits the College to disclose otherwise private and confidential information from an education record to appropriate parties in an emergency situation if knowledge of the information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals. Appropriate parties may include school officials, parents, law enforcement authorities, emergency responders, public health officials, medical personnel, and other members of the community.
The College is permitted, with or without a student’s consent, to inform parents when their student has violated any law or College policy regarding the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance if the student is not yet 21 years of age. The College is permitted to disclose to anyone the final results of a disciplinary proceeding conducted against a student who is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense if it is determined that the student committed a violation of the College’s own rules or policies with respect to such crime or offense. In any disciplinary proceeding alleging a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense, both the accuser and the accused will be informed of the final results and any sanction imposed against the accused.
The College is permitted to disclose any and all education records, including disciplinary records, to another institution at which a student seeks or intends to enroll if that information is related to the student’s enrollment or transfer; this includes but is not limited to updated or corrected information.
The College discloses education records without a student’s prior written consent under the FERPA exception for disclosure to school officials with a legitimate educational interest in the records. A school official is a person employed by the College in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including Safety and Security staff and Student Health Center staff); a person or company with whom the College has contracted as its agent to provide a service instead of using College 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 in the educational record if the official needs to review the record in order to fulfill his or her job-related responsibilities.
Disclosure without consent is permitted when the College is returning records to the apparent creator (e.g., of a transcript or letter) to verify authenticity. Disclosure without consent is permitted to comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena, provided the College makes a reasonable effort to notify the student of the order or subpoena prior to release unless the subpoena specifies that notice is prohibited.
Disclosure without consent is permitted to lending institutions in connection with an application for or receipt of financial aid. Disclosure without consent is permitted to Veterans Administration officials.
As of January 3, 2012, the U.S. Department of Education’s FERPA regulations expand the circumstances under which education records and personally identifiable information (PII) contained in such records — including Social Security Numbers, grades, or other private information — may be accessed without the student’s consent. First, the U.S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or state and local education authorities (“Federal and State Authorities”) may allow access to student records and PII without the student’s consent to any third party designated by a Federal or State Authority to evaluate a federal- or state-supported education program. The evaluation may relate to any program that is “principally engaged in the provision of education,” such as early childhood education and job training, as well as any program that is administered by an education agency or institution. Second, Federal and State Authorities may allow access to education records and PII without the student’s consent to researchers performing certain types of studies, in certain cases even when we object to or do not request such research. Federal and State Authorities must obtain certain use-restriction and data security promises from the entities that they authorize to receive a student’s PII, but the Authorities need not maintain direct control over such entities. In addition, in connection with Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems, State Authorities may collect, compile, permanently retain, and share without student’s consent PII from education records, and they may track participation in education and other programs by linking such PII to other personal information about the student that they obtain from other Federal or State data sources, including workforce development, unemployment insurance, child welfare, juvenile justice, military service, and migrant student records systems.
A student has the right to block the release of directory information. Directory information is student data not generally considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed; the College, at its discretion, may release directory information. Currently, directory information is limited to the following: name; address (local and permanent); telephone listing (local and permanent); e-mail address; date and place of birth; major field of study; class year; participation in officially recognized activities and sports; height/weight of members of athletic teams; enrollment status (e.g., full-time or part-time); dates of attendance; degrees and awards received; and previous education institutions attended. A student may, to the extent permitted by FERPA, block the release of directory information by filing timely, written notice with the Office of Enrollment Services.
All personally identifiable information not included as directory information is confidential. That information includes, but is not limited to, the following: name of a student’s parent(s) or other family members; address of a student’s family; a personal identifier such as social security number or student number; race/ethnicity; gender; a list of personal characteristics; academic evaluations and grades; transcripts and other academic records; scores on tests required for a new student; and a student’s class schedule.
If a student wishes to authorize disclosure of confidential information to parents/guardians or any other designated individual, institution, or entity, a Release of Information Authorization Form must be filed with the Office of Enrollment Services, Harkins Hall, Room 310. Once the appropriate written authorization by the student is received in this office, designated individuals may be informed of the student’s status at Providence College with respect to grades, academic standing, and financial obligations; this authorization remains in effect for as long as the student is enrolled at the College. If at any time after submission of the form the student wishes to revoke consent or modify the list of individuals, institutions, or entities authorized to receive confidential information, a new authorization form must be completed and submitted to the Office of Enrollment Services.
Students may obtain more detailed information about FERPA, including the procedures for exercising their rights, in the Office of Enrollment Services, Harkins Hall, Room 310.
Report of Grades
Grades are issued twice each semester. Mid-semester grades are advisory in nature. Grades awarded at the end of the semester become part of the student’s official record.
Grades, once submitted to the Office of Enrollment Services, will not be changed without the written approval of the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate and Graduate Studies. Students are entitled to access their mid-semester and final grades via the CyberFriar online system provided all administrative, disciplinary, and/or financial obligations to the College have been fulfilled. Official final grade mailers are sent to student mailing addresses by request only. Students have the option of requesting a grade mailer for a given semester or every semester. A “Final Grade Mailer Request” form must be completed in the Office of Enrollment Services. Official transcripts may be obtained directly from the Office of Enrollment Services or requested online via CyberFriar. For detailed information on ordering transcripts, please visit the Enrollment Services Web site.
Upon notification of each semester’s course offerings, students should immediately contact their faculty advisors to arrange a meeting to discuss their academic programs and course schedule options. Through the College’s Web-based registration system (CyberFriar), students must enter a Registration Alternate Personal Identification Number (alternate PIN) in order to register for courses or make any adjustments to their schedule for a given term. Students must obtain this alternate PIN from their faculty advisor. After meeting with their advisors, students should refer to the Office of Enrollment Services’ Web site for registration procedures.
Online Adjustment Period
Beginning with the registration period for a new semester and until each course has been able to meet for at least 3 contact hours, students are able to add/drop courses without penalty and manage their own schedules via the CyberFriar online registration. Online registration activity will not be possible when course registration overrides are required (e.g., overenrollment, prerequisites, courses with instructor permission). Students should consult with their faculty advisors prior to creating and adjusting their course schedules.
Once each course has met for at least three contact hours, all online add/drop functionality for students will cease. In all cases, permission at varying levels will be required to add/drop courses.
Administrative Adjustment Period
During the second week of classes, students who wish to change their course schedules must complete a “Course Registration Adjustments” form. Forms are available in the Office of Enrollment Services and in the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate and Graduate Studies. Written authorization from both the instructor and department chair/program director are required to officially register for the course. Completed forms must be returned to the Office of Enrollment Services, Harkins Hall, 310.
Beginning the third week of the semester, any changes to student schedules must be done in consultation with the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate and Graduate Studies. Changes will not be processed in the system until the student understands all of the potential ramifications of dropping a course; these may include a “WD” grade or no refund. Adding a course after it has met for three contact hours requires written authorization from the instructor and department chairperson/program director of the course. Once a course has met for six contact hours, all schedule changes will additionally require approval from the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate and Graduate Studies. Students are subject to a $100 late registration fee for each course. This fee will be added to the tuition bill unless sufficient reason for late registration is provided.
All eligible students desiring to take a course on a pass/fail basis must notify the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate and Graduate Studies no later than the deadline, as noted in the College’s official Academic Calendar. Once a student elects the pass/fail grading option it is final and cannot be retroactively changed back to a standard letter grade. (see Academic Calendar ).
There will be no retroactive change of a standard to a pass/fail course.
- Only one course per semester (with a maximum of four courses in total) may be taken on a pass/fail basis (option for freshmen begins with the second semester).
- A student’s cumulative grade point average for the previous semester must be at least 2.0.
- Any course taken on a pass/fail basis must be selected from free electives.
- Credits earned on a pass/fail basis will not be averaged in a student’s grade point average.
- Credits failed in a pass/fail course will be averaged as an “F” with quality grade points 0.00.
Courses excluded from pass/fail designation:
- All courses designated as fulfilling Core Curriculum requirements.
- All courses taken within a major or minor, either required or elective, that constitute the total credit hours required by the department (unless the course is only offered on a pass/fail basis).
A major or minor course taken as a free elective beyond the required credit hours for the program may be designated as pass/fail.
Students who attend class without the obligation of fulfilling class requirements and without credit are called auditors. Written approval of the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate and Graduate Studies and permission of the instructor must be obtained by any students who wish to enroll as auditors. The status of auditor must be determined within the first two weeks of the semester in which the course is taken. Normally, there is no charge for auditing a class.
Students are able to take an extra course free of charge with permission of the class dean on a space available basis.
Fees for additional courses will be based on current credit hour charges (see special fees in Financial Information section).
Juniors and seniors may, with sufficient academic justification and the expressed written consent of the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate and Graduate Studies, elect to take a maximum of one course per semester at another accredited institution of higher education. This option may be exercised only under the following conditions:
- The total credit hours accumulated per semester normally shall not exceed fifteen (15).
- The course must be justified academically as a reasonable extension of the student’s academic program. Students must obtain written permission from their academic department chair or program director and then must seek final approval from the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate and Graduate Studies prior to enrollment.
- The course may not be one offered by Providence College in any of its several divisions (undergraduate, graduate, or School of Continuing Education).
- The full tuition must be paid to Providence College, and any cost incurred beyond the current cost per credit charge of Providence College must be borne by the student. No refund will be granted should the cost per credit be less than that charged by Providence College.
- Students must be in good academic standing and, in the judgment of the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate and Graduate Studies, suitably prepared to benefit academically from this experience.
- Students are not permitted to enroll in non-credit courses for cross-enrollment.
- Courses completed through cross-enrollment registration are subject to the College’s transfer credit policies (see Admission ).
The Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Rhode Island (AICU Rhode Island) offers a Language Consortium program to students currently enrolled full-time in an undergraduate degree program at one of Rhode Island’s private institutions of higher education (Brown University, Bryant University, Johnson and Wales University, Providence College, Roger Williams University, and Salve Regina University). This program gives our students the opportunity to enroll at any of the consortium schools (on a “space available” basis) in language courses which are not offered at the home institution.
Repeating a Course
A student may repeat any course taken at Providence College. Various courses are defined as repeatable for credit such as performance-based courses or special topic courses where the content changes each semester. In all other cases, consultation with the class dean is required prior to registration to repeat a course with an earned grade from a previous semester. In these cases, only the most recent grade will be used to calculate the overall GPA. Students considering repeating a course should be aware that the most recent grade will be recorded whether or not it is higher than the earlier attempt. A repeated course is noted on the transcript with an “I” (included in GPA) or an “E” (excluded from GPA) to designate the relationship of the course to the student’s academic record.
Students may withdraw from courses beginning in the third week of the semester until one week before the last day of classes with the approval of the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate and Graduate Studies in consultation with the respective instructor. The dean will not allow a student to withdraw to circumvent a stated course policy which imposes a course grade of ‘F’ for academic dishonesty or other serious violations of course conduct. Appeals for withdrawals after this deadline will be adjudicated by the Committee on Academic Status.
Approved course withdrawals will appear on the student’s official record with a grade of “WD.” Course withdrawal forms to be completed by the student and the appropriate faculty member may be obtained through the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate and Graduate Studies.
Students who choose to withdraw from courses may find it necessary to enroll in summer school or additional courses to make up academic credits. Students should consult with the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate and Graduate Studies prior to enrolling in such course work. Students whose scholarship agreements require a minimum number of credits should consult with the class dean prior to requesting a withdrawal.
Return to: Academic Information