The institution protects the security, confidentiality, and integrity of student records and maintains special security measures to protect and back up data. (Student records)

Compliance Judgment

X     In compliance     Partially compliant     Non-compliant


Francis Marion University has established and implemented policies that protect the security, confidentiality, and integrity of student records throughout the University. All University policies regarding student records management are compliant with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The University’s FERPA Policy Statement is available on the Registrar’s Office’s web page [1].

Notifying Students, Faculty, and Staff of Rights and Responsibilities Under FERPA

The University states its records policies in the following sections of the Student Handbook 2016-2017, a resource that is available to all students, faculty, and staff:

  • FERPA/Directory Information
  • What Constitutes a Student Record
  • Disclosure of Educational Record Information
  • Social Security Number/Student Identification Number
  • Privacy Rights of Students
  • Review of Academic Records [2].

The university also communicates it policies regarding the confidentiality and security of students’ educational records to students, faculty, and staff in the following resources available to all students, faculty, and staff:

  • University Catalog: Privacy of Student Educational Records [3]
  • Course Schedules/Bulletins: Disclosure of Directory Information and Use of Social Security Number [4]
  • Registrar’s Office webpage: FERPA and Directory Information [5].

Security Measures to Protect and Backup Records

Security for electronic records is maintained by password-protecting employee workstations and securing removable data storage devices when they are not in use.  Students may access the university’s student portal after they are accepted to the university. Access to the student portal is password-protected [6].

To ensure the security of electronic information, Francis Marion’s Campus Applications and Data Services (CADS) uses an IBM eServer i5 Series 520 to hold all administrative departments’ data.  The backup procedure for all records is completed daily, every Monday through Friday at 1:00 A.M. [7]. In case disruption occurs within the eServer, Francis Marion has a written disaster recovery plan, which includes recovery procedures for the administrative data processing functions [8].

Maintaining Educational Records

The security of students’ educational records is primarily the responsibility of the Registrar’s Office. To maintain the security of the student database, the Registrar assigns faculty and staff access to student records stored within the records database based on the employee’s job duties; for example, advisors are only assigned access to the academic records of those students assigned to their advisor number. Hard copy student educational records are stored in a locked fire-proof room housed in the Registrar’s Office. The Registrar trains staff upon hire on FERPA compliance, and each staff member signs a Statement of Understanding and a FERPA Compliance document at the close of the training and before they handle any student records [9]. The Registrar trains student works on FERPA compliance during the student worker’s orientation prior to beginning work [10]. At the close of the orientation, each student worker signs a Statement of Understanding [11]. Records are purged as appropriate following an established records retention policy [12].

Other Records

The Student Handbook 2016-2017 identifies records maintained by Admissions, Financial Assistance, or Students Affairs as student records that are governed by the same rules as the records housed in the Registrar’s Office [13]. The offices of Admissions, Financial Assistance, and Student Affairs adhere to FERPA standards and guidelines to protect the security, confidentiality, and integrity of student records.

Athletic Records

The athletics department maintains records for student athletes. Medical information is housed in the sports medicine office, which is kept locked. After 10 years, the records are destroyed in accordance with NCAA and state policy. Scholarship and eligibility records are maintained by the Director of Compliance. The records are stored in locked file cabinets. The files are destroyed after six years in accordance with NCAA policy.


  1. FMU FERPA Policy Statement
  2. Student Handbook 2016-2017, p. 13-14
  3. Catalog 2016-2017, Privacy of Student Educational Records, p. 59
  4. Course Schedule Fall 2017, p. 4-5
  5. FMU Website, FERPA
  6. Swampfox Login Information
  7. Backup Procedures and Recovery
  8. Disaster Recovery Plan
  9. FERPA Compliance in the Registrar
  10. FERPA Orientation Basics
  11. Statement of Understanding of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
  12. Record Retention and Purging Schedule for the Registrar
  13. Student Handbook 2016-2017, Registrar, p. 12