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2023-24 Student Handbook 

APSU Student Rights & Responsibilities

Students hanging out in hammocks

FERPA is the acronym for the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Originally enacted in 1974 as part of a bill extending the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, FERPA was enacted as a series of civil rights legislation, designed to assert and protect the rights of students and their parents. Its primary purpose was two-fold: to assure parents of students’ access to their education records and to protect such individuals’ rights to privacy by limiting the transferability of their records without their consent. To review comprehensive FERPA information please visit this link. 

Yes. Austin Peay State University is permitted to disclose information from education records to parents if a health or safety emergency involves their son or daughter.
Yes. APSU is permitted to inform parents of students under the age of 21 of any violation of law or policy concerning the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance.
Austin Peay may disclose information from “law enforcement unit records” to anyone —including parents or federal, State or local law enforcement authorities — without the consent of the eligible student. Many colleges and universities have their own campus security units, just as Austin Peay State University does. Records created and maintained by these units for law enforcement purposes are exempt from the privacy restrictions of FERPA and can be shared with anyone.
Under FERPA, schools may release any and all information to parents, without the consent of the eligible student, if the student is a dependent for tax purposes under the IRS rules or if the student voluntarily provides the University with a waiver providing parents access to their educational records.
Nothing in FERPA prohibits a school official from sharing with parents information that is based on that official’s personal knowledge or observation and that is not based on information contained in an education record. Therefore, FERPA would not prohibit a professor or other school official from letting a parent know of their concern about the student based on his or her personal knowledge or observation.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a law passed by Congress intended to establish transaction, security, privacy and other standards to address concerns about the electronic exchange of health information. However, the HIPAA Privacy Rule excludes from its coverage those records that are protected by FERPA at school districts and postsecondary institutions that provide health or medical services for students. This is because Congress specifically addressed how education records should be protected under FERPA. For this reason, records that are protected by FERPA are not subject to the HIPAA Privacy Rule and may be shared with parents under the circumstances described above.
  1. The right to inspect and review the content of and obtain copies thereof at a reasonable cost the student’s education records within 45 days of the day the University receives a request for access. Students should submit to the Registrar, dean, head of the academic department or other appropriate official a written request that identifies the record(s) they wish to inspect. The University official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the University official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall refer the student to the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.

    The right of access of a student may not include access to:
    (1) Financial records of the parents of the student or any information contained therein;
    (2) Confidential letters and statements or recommendations concerning admission, employment or the receipt of an honor, which were placed in the records prior to Jan.1,1975, or concerning which the student has signed a waiver of access;
    (3) Administrative and educational personnel records ancillary thereto, which are in the sole possession of the maker thereof and which are not accessible to any person except a substitute;
    (4) Records of law enforcement officials;
    (5) Records relating exclusively to a person’s employment at the institution when the person is not in attendance as a student of the institution; and records maintained by professional or paraprofessional health-related personnel which are made in connection with the provision of treatment of a student and not available to persons other than the health-related personnel.
  2. The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes to be inaccurate, misleading or otherwise in violation of the student's privacy rights under FERPA.
    A student who wishes to ask the school to amend a record should write the University official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the University decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the University will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of their right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
  3. The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception which permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the University has contracted (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 disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility. Upon request, the University discloses education records without consent to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
  4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Austin Peay State University to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is: Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20202.

FERPA requires that Austin Peay State University (APSU), with certain exceptions, obtain the student's written consent prior to the disclosure of personally identifiable information from their education records. However, APSU may disclose appropriately designated “directory information” without written consent, unless the student has advised APSU to the contrary in accordance with APSU’s procedures.

“Directory information” includes the following: the student’s name, address, telephone listing, date and place of birth, major field of study, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, the most recent previous educational agency or institution attended by the student and degrees and awards received by a student. The University provides each student the opportunity to restrict disclosure of the designated directory information. The student will be given this opportunity at the beginning of each academic term or must notify APSU in writing by the first day of classes for the semester in which they are attending. (Forms may be obtained from the Office of the Registrar.)

Information concerning educational records which is personally identifiable with a particular student, other than directory information, shall not be released to persons, agencies or organizations other than those herein described unless:

1. There is written consent from the student specifying the records to be released, the reason for the release and to whom the information is to be released, with a copy to the student, if requested, or

2. Such information is furnished in compliance with a judicial order or a subpoena, provided that advance notice of the receipt of the order of subpoena shall be provided to the student prior to compliance if possible. Personally identifiable education records may be released to other school officials of the institution, including members of the faculty, who have legitimate educational interests.

Visit www.apsu.edu/policy for the Confidentiality of Student Records Policy.

Additional APSU disclosures can be found at: https://www.apsu.edu/about-apsu/institutional-disclosures.php. Upon request, the disclosure information can be provided in paper copy.

Anyone enrolling at Austin Peay State University is entitled to all rights granted to them by the Constitution of the United States and is entitled to the full protection of the law. Apart from those rights and duties enjoyed by nonstudents, enrollment in the University carries with it special privileges and imposes special responsibilities. The University has established regulations and certain due process procedures essential to an atmosphere of mutual respect which is sensitive to the rights of all individuals.

The APSU policies listed below can be found at www.apsu.edu/policy.  If you have questions, please contact the Student Affairs office at 931-221-7341.

    1. Students have the right to enjoy the educational opportunities afforded by the University without discrimination because of age, race, sex, sexual orientation, disability, veteran status or national origin. 
    2. Students are entitled to the right of due process as provided and explained by the University’s Code of Student Conduct. 
    3. Students are entitled to freedom from unreasonable search and/or seizure regarding their person, their residence and their personal property. 
    4. Students have a right to privacy, including the maintenance of confidential records in accordance with the provision of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act as amended and as qualified by the Tennessee Public Records Act. 
    5. Students have the right of access to campus crime statistics and graduation rates, as defined by the Student Right-to-Know and Campus Security Act, as amended.
    6. Students have the right to affiliate with officially registered student organizations if the membership requirements of those organizations have been met and the right to establish through official procedures additional student organizations of their choosing. 
    7. Students have the right to participate in University governance through the Student Government Association, student organizations and representation on University committees. 
    8. Students have a right to peaceably assemble in accordance with federal, state, local and Austin Peay State University regulations. 
    9. Students have the right of reasonable access to the University campus and facilities. 
    10. Students have the right to expect:
      1. A campus environment conducive to learning and working that is free of any racial, sexual or other form of harassment;
      2. A drug-free University environment;
      3. To not be required to believe or endorse a specific ideology or political viewpoint;
      4. Accurate information concerning institutional services, regulations, policies and procedures in published form;
      5. Sound and accurate academic advice, including such matters as courses required for graduation, course and program prerequisites and course sequence;
      6. Reasonable notice of any changes in academic requirements for programs and assurance that such changes will not be made in a way that unduly impedes the academic progress of a student already enrolled;
      7. Flexibility in course scheduling (by dropping and adding) or withdrawing within University guidelines;
      8. Information about the various types of financial assistance available;
      9. Freedom to evaluate courses, programs and services and provide input to appropriate segments of the campus administration; and
      10. Classes to meet in various modalities as scheduled with minimal exception, and course and program requirements clearly stated.

Austin Peay State University recognizes that students should, and do, participate in institutional decision making. Through the advice of the Student Affairs staff and through Austin Peay State University policies, the University exercises responsibility in directing student activities and student organizations. The Student Government Association (SGA) is an active and vital organization that serves as a link between the student body and the administration. The SGA (of which all students are members) addresses student issues to the administration on a regular basis and serves as a governing body through the executive officers, the SGA Senate and the Student Tribunal. The SGA president recommends student appointments for University standing committees, special committees and search and selection committees. These recommendations are made through the SGA adviser to the Provost. The student voice is an active component of the University’s decision-making process.