Distance Learning Privacy Protections

The privacy of distance learning students shall be addressed two-fold:  1) ensuring that the person logging in to course resources is the student registered for the course; and 2) ensuring that the person participating in the course is the student registered for the course.

To verify that the person logging in to the course is the student registered for the course, each online student shall be provided a unique username and password for accessing College resources, including, but not limited to, Course Connect, Major Portal, and email.  Student identity shall be verified though Multifactor Authentication (MFA).  Moreover, all distance courses shall be offered through Course Connect to ensure that all information is protected through the College’s security measures.  Consequently, through the enhanced protection of MFA, the student shall be the only person with access to the student’s information.

To ensure that the person participating in the course is the student registered for the course, faculty shall require students to turn on their camera to ensure that the student participating is the student registered.  Instructors shall confirm the identity of participating students by comparing participants to college-issued identification.

FERPA Policy

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA or the “Buckley Amendment”) of 1974 guarantees Millsaps students the right to review, inspect, and challenge the accuracy of their educational record. It also ensures that records cannot be released without the written consent of the student by protecting the confidentiality and privacy of student records. Below are some of the following exceptions:

  • Records may be released to school officials who have a legitimate educational interest. See definitions below.
  • Records may be released when the information is classified as “directory information.” The following categories of information have been designated by Millsaps College as directory information: name, email address, major field of study, participation in officially recognized activities including sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, photograph, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, the most recent previous educational institution attended by the student, and information needed for honors and awards. Students who do not wish such directory information released without their consent should notify the Office of Records in writing.
  • Violations of drug and alcohol policies may be disclosed to parents of students who are under the age of 21.
  • Disciplinary proceedings of violent crimes or non-forcible sex offenses may be disclosed to the victims of the crime regardless of the outcome of the proceedings. They may also be disclosed if the accused was found to have violated the College’s rules or policies.
  • Records may be released to a court if a parent or student has initiated legal action against the College or if the College has begun a legal action against a parent of a student. Records may be released to the Mississippi Office of Student Financial Aid if a student’s legal residence is in the state.

If students would like their parents to have access to their records, they must give written consent in the Office of Records or a parent can show proof of claiming their child/student as a dependent on their most recent tax filing.

Definition of Terms

  • Legitimate educational interest: A school official has a legitimate educational interest when the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her responsibility on behalf of the college, such as when the official is performing a task that is specific in his or her job description or by a contract agreement or other official appointment; performing a task related to a student’s education; performing a task related to the discipline of a student; or providing a service or benefit relating to the student or student’s family, such as health care, counseling, job placement, or financial aid.
  • School official: A person employed by Millsaps College in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position, including volunteers or contractors performing a service or function for which the college would otherwise use its employees, and who are under the direct control of the college with respect to the use and maintenance of personally identifiable information from education records (e.g., an attorney, auditor, or vendor; the National Student Clearinghouse); individuals serving on the Board of Trustees; and students conducting college business (e.g., serving on official committees, working for Millsaps, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks).

For more information about this law, contact the Office of Records.

FERPA Documents