Release of Student Information

Release of Student Information

SUMMARY

The Release of Student Information Policy establishes the circumstances in which information may be disclosed to students about their own records, and third parties about students.

The Guideline provides examples to staff and students about when student information may be released / accessed, and when it is not appropriate to do so.

POLICY

Purpose

To outline the circumstances in which information may be disclosed to:
  • students about their own records, and
  • third parties about students.

Overview

The University collects, holds and uses information about students for the purpose of conducting the business of the University. This includes collecting, holding and using information related to a student’s admission to and enrolment in a course or unit of study at the University. In some instances the University must provide information to government agencies, such as the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) or where there is a legal requirement for the University to provide it.

The University is subject to the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (NSW). To manage its risk in relation to the provision of information, the University has developed a Privacy Statement that outlines the principles that the University must adhere to when handling student information. Within this legislative and regulatory framework, this policy outlines the circumstances in which information may or must be disclosed either to or about past or present students of the University.

Scope

All student records, regardless of format, held by or on behalf of the University.

Policy

DISCLOSURE TO STUDENTS
Students of the University have the right to request access to their official records. Students do not have the right to access the records of any other student – past or present.

An employee of the University will be present on all occasions during any inspection by a student of their official record. Students will, on submission of a signed request and payment of the appropriate fee, have the right to receive official transcripts of their own academic record. Students who owe money to the University will not receive copies of their official transcript.

Access to student academic records will be managed through Student Connect.

DISCLOSURE TO STAFF AND COMMITTEES OF THE UNIVERSITY
University staff and/or committees may access information held about present and past students for the purpose of conducting the business of the University. This could include, but is not limited to, for purposes associated with a student’s admission, enrolment, attendance and progress through their course of study.

DISCLOSURE TO THIRD PARTIES

Public Information
The University publishes graduation information each year, including the full name of the graduating student, the award conferred, and the date of conferral. The University regards this as public information.

Non-public Information
Apart from the publicly available information referred to above, the University will not release information about present or past students to third parties without the written consent of the student. This means that requests for information by any third party including, but not limited to, parents, spouses, work colleagues, friends, employers or credit bureaus will not be approved. Information is to be provided to the police and other law enforcement agencies where there is a legal requirement to do so.  The University General Counsel must be contacted when such a request is made. Personal information will only be provided to the person who is the subject of the information.

Exceptions
There are limited circumstances where the University may or must release information to a third party, such as:
  • where there is written authority and consent from the student concerned to provide specific information to a specified third party
  • when the student has signed an agreement with a third party, where one of the conditions is to allow that third party to have access to specific information about them (e.g. financial aid)
  • where in the opinion of one of the following officers the disclosure of specific information is required to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to the health, safety or wellbeing of the student or other persons:
    • Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students and Registrar)
    • Manager, Health and Safety
    • Director, Campus Wellbeing and Support Services
    • Campus Security Manager
  • where a request has been made under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (NSW) or similar legislation and an exemption does not apply
There are also limited exceptions where the University must release information to a third party, such as:
  • where the University is required by law to release the information (eg in response to a court order or subpoena).

In such cases, the third party will be given information specific to the request / agreement / purpose/ court order/ subpoena only.

COMPLIANCE AND BREACHESThe University may commence applicable disciplinary procedures if a person to whom this policy applies breaches this policy (or any of its related procedures).

Policy Information

Contact OfficerPVC Students
Date Approved8 June 2010
Approval AuthorityDeputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Registrar
Date of Commencement8 June 2010
Amendment History19 Sep 2017 – updated approval authority and contact officer in accordance with the Delegations of Authority
8 January 2014 – updated to reflect name change to ‘Student Connect’
7 September 2012 – clarification regarding who can release information to a third party
June 2011 – updated to clarify student access to transcripts
July 2010 – updated to reference Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (NSW)
Date for Next ReviewJune 2013
Related Documents

Ethics Framework
Privacy Statement
Release of Student Information Guideline (see tab above)

Legislation
Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (NSW)
Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (NSW)
Policies / Rules Superseded by this Policy

Nil

KeywordsStudent, Information, Privacy, Public Access, Release

GUIDELINE

PurposeTo provide examples to staff and students about when student information may be released / accessed, and when it is not appropriate to do so.

Guideline

Information about a student is not to be provided to such people or organisations as parents, spouses, work colleagues, friends, employers or credit bureaus without the written consent of the student. Information is to be provided to the police and other law enforcement agencies where there is a legal requirement to do so. You must contact the University General Counsel when a request is made by a law enforcement agency.

A staff member who:
  • is also a student must not use their staff privileges to access their student record
  • has a family member who is also a student must not use their staff privileges to access their family member’s student record
  • has a friend who is also a student must not use their staff privileges to access their friend’s student record
  • has a work colleague who is also a student must not use their staff privileges to access their work colleague’s student record.

For a student to access information about themselves, they must provide photo identification.

A staff member must not use their staff privileges to access a student record where an applicant for a position at Macquarie University is also a current or previous Macquarie student. In these cases, if the applicant’s Macquarie records are relevant to the position selection process then the applicant is to be requested to provide a copy of their academic transcript to the selection panel as part of the selection process.

TRANSCRIPT/ACADEMIC RECORD
A staff member may print out an internal student transcript to advise a student about their program of study. They may give the transcript to the student for no charge.

A student who wants a copy of their official transcript may purchase a copy via Student Connect.

A student who wants access to their official grades can do so via eStudent.

A past student may contact a staff member about enrolling in another program of study, and the staff member may wish to access that student’s record in order to give advice.

A past or present student may ask an academic for a reference, and the academic may wish to access the student’s record in preparing the reference.

PROOF OF STATUS
A student who needs to prove they are a student at Macquarie University for employment, visa, accommodation or similar purposes is to provide the organisation with a copy of their transcript or a Status Letter. The University will not provide proof of student status directly to an organisation, except where the student has provided written authorisation for the release of this information to the specific organisation.

RESEARCH
In conducting research, researchers may wish to access student records to contact past and/or current students in a particular program. This would require Ethics Committee approval.

Aggregated student data may be used for internal purposes (i.e. not for publishable research purposes) such as evaluating programs, reviewing correlations between educational background and mode of study, performance on the basis of English-language level on entry and so on. In these cases, individual students will not be identifiable.

WHOLLY OWNED SUBSIDIARIES
There are limited occasions where student information may be released to wholly owned subsidiaries of Macquarie University, such as Campus Life. In these cases:
  • the information request must be for the purpose of conducting the business of the University
  • there must be an agreement between Macquarie University and the wholly owned subsidiary binding it to the University's privacy policy and guidelines

An example is the provision of limited student information to Campus Life for their student online academic dress ordering system.

EXCEPTIONS
There is a very limited number of specific exceptions – refer to the Release of Student Information Policy for details and the conditions that must be met.

Guideline Information

Contact OfficerPVC Students
Date Approved8 July 2010
Approval AuthorityDeputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Registrar
Date of Commencement8 July 2010
Amendment History19 Sep 2017 – updated approval authority and contact officer in accordance with the Delegations of Authority
8 January 2014 – updated name change to ‘Student Connect’
Date for Next ReviewJuly 2013
Related Documents

Release of Student Information Policy
Ethics Framework
Privacy Statement

Legislation
Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (NSW)
Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (NSW)
KeywordsStudent, Information, Privacy
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