Academic Regulations

The Board of Trustees vests responsibility for curriculum, instruction, and the regulation of academic affairs with the President and the Faculty. They in turn allocate this responsibility and implement it through various committees and individuals.

Three committees are chiefly responsible for regulating the academic program. The Educational Program Committee, which includes students in its membership, is responsible for the overall academic program, including requirements for the degree and departmental offerings. The Foundations Curriculum Committee, which also includes students in its membership, is responsible for the overseeing coursework that satisfies Foundations requirements. The Standards and Standing Committee has broad responsibility, subject to faculty review, to frame and implement procedures to insure that the instructional standards and aims of the College are met.

The regulations that follow are not comprehensive but are included here for the sake of easy reference by faculty and students. Any variation from academic regulations requires the formal approval of the Faculty. Students submit requests for variations from academic regulations to the appropriate faculty committees that make recommendations to the faculty. Requests for reconsideration of faculty decisions in light of new evidence will be considered by the committees making the initial recommendations.

Registration and Course Load

All students are required to register for classes during the Pre-Registration/Registration processes held prior to the first day of classes each semester. No late registrations will be accepted after the end of the Drop/Add period in any semester or summer term.

Fall or Spring Semester Registration and Course Load

Qualification as a full-time, degree student requires registration for a minimum of twelve (12) credits in a semester. A normal course load for a full-time student is 16 credits. Registration for fewer than 12 or more than 19 credits by a full-time student must be approved in advance by the Standards and Standing Committee. Students must be aware that in order to earn the total credits for a degree, sixteen credits in each of the eight semesters is needed. Less than 16 credits in any one semester must be matched by more than 16 credits in another semester or by summer session credits.

Degree-seeking students who register for eleven (11) credits or less in any one semester are classified as part-time students. It should be noted that students living in the residence hall must pay the full comprehensive tuition, regardless of the number of credits taken in the semester. Part-time students are not eligible to live in the residence halls; however, pending the availability of rooms and approval by the Dean of Students, part-time students may be allowed residence in College residence halls. Part-time status also affects eligibility for financial aid and intercollegiate athletics.  Computation of the total credits permitted per semester includes directed inquiries and concurrent enrollment at other consortium institutions. Direct registration at another institution may not be counted toward the full-time enrollment status.

First-year students may take up to four 4-credit courses and up to three additional credits each semester of their first year. A year’s residence with satisfactory grades is the usual prerequisite for taking more than the maximum number of courses.

Degree students may obtain permission to audit no more than one course per semester, without payment of fee, by agreement with the professor concerned. Audited courses are not included in the number of credits carried, nor are they recorded on the permanent record. Special, non-degree students (those students not seeking a degree) may enroll in more than eight (8) credits only with the permission of the Dean of Admission.

Summer Term Registration and Course Load

Students may register in 4 credits in each 5-week session of summer term.  Registration in more than 4 credits in a 5-week session requires approval by the Registrar.  Students may carry no more than 12 credits in a summer term.

Foundation Courses

Only certain courses in the Rhodes curriculum and in each department are approved to meet Foundation requirements. Each of these courses is designated in the course description in this catalog and on the class schedule for each semester online. It is the student’s responsibility to be aware of what courses in which they may be enrolled satisfy foundation requirements. Such courses are submitted by faculty members to the Foundations Curriculum Committee for approval. It is not possible for students to request foundation credit approval by the Committee for any coursework with the exception of Foundation 11. Self-initiated requests for F11 credit for certain coursework or experiences may be requested using the appropriate form available online.

Course Prerequisites and Co-requisites

Course prerequisites and co-requisites are requirements for entry into a course that state the background, experience, or related coursework that is needed for success in that course and to establish a relative order in which certain courses need to be taken.

These requirements are set by the department based on experience and judgment. Students are responsible for knowing the prerequisites or co-requisites of any courses for which they register. Students who register for courses for which they do not meet such prerequisites may be asked to drop those courses from their schedules.

A prerequisite is a requirement that must be met in advance of taking the course. If the prerequisite is stated as a course by number, then that course must have been completed satisfactorily at Rhodes or accepted by Rhodes as transfer credit from another institution before the student can enroll in the desired course.

A co-requisite is a requirement that must be met at the same time as the course is being taken if that requirement has not already been met. If the co-requisite is stated as a numbered course, then that co-requisite course must be taken at the same time or credit for the co-requisite course must have already been earned.

A linked co-requisite is a course requirement that must be taken at the same time as the course to which it is linked. In most cases, the linked co-requisite courses will be a three-credit lecture course and a one-credit laboratory. Enrollment in one linked co-requisite course is permitted if the course has been failed previously, or is eligible to be repeated due to a final grade. If enrollment in one linked co-requisite is discontinued either by dropping or withdrawing, a student may not continue enrollment in the other linked course. Successful completion of both linked courses is required in order for a foundation requirement to be met.

In some cases, a prerequisite may not be stated in terms of a numbered course. For example, a prerequisite may be “a designated course or permission of instructor” or “Permission of the department.” In some cases, a prerequisite may require a specific class standing, e.g. “Junior or Senior class standing” or “First-year students only.” These conditions express flexible arrangements that a department may use to manage course prerequisites. “Permission of the instructor” is the most flexible and requires that the student receive the approval of the instructor before enrolling in that course. A student who does not meet a specific course-numbered prerequisite for a desired course must get permission of the department prior to enrolling in that course. Students not meeting a specific class standing requirement may be asked to drop the courses from their schedules.

Class Standing

Under the foundations curriculum, a minimum of 30 credits are required for admission to the Sophomore class, 63 credits for admission to the Junior class, and 96 credits for admission to the Senior class. It should be noted that a minimum of 32 credits must be earned per year in order to accumulate the 128 credits needed for graduation in four years.

Class Attendance

Rhodes, as a residential college of the liberal arts and sciences, considers interactive engagement with other students and the professor, in a structured setting, to be one of the essential and central components of the academic program. Students enrolled at the institution make a commitment to participate fully in their education, which includes attending class. Absenteeism is not to be taken lightly.

Any student who fails to attend the first day of a class without providing prior notice of his or her absence to the instructor of the course or the chairperson of the department may be asked to drop the course upon request of the instructor. The student is responsible for dropping the class officially upon notification that such action has been taken.

Specific attendance policies are set by individual instructors, who state them in the course syllabus and during the first class session. Faculty should be mindful in setting attendance policies that college-sanctioned activities may require participating students to be off campus and consequently miss class. Faculty are discouraged from penalizing students solely for such absence and should normally, at their discretion, accommodate such a student (e.g., an alternate date for a test.) However, it is the student’s responsibility in undertaking college-sanctioned activities (e.g., varsity athletics, internships, and off-campus competitions connected with courses) to understand that their participation may come at the cost of absences from other courses or even forfeiting credit on certain assignments when making them up is not feasible. If, in accordance with the course policies, the instructor determines that excessive absences are jeopardizing a student’s ability to obtain a passing grade in the course, the instructor may make written request to the Dean of the Faculty that the student be removed from the course with a grade of F. If a student is removed from two or more courses in the same semester for this reason, the student may be asked to withdraw from the College.

Mandatory attendance at events outside of the regularly scheduled class period (e.g., lectures, seminars, concerts) will normally be included in the syllabus at the start of the semester, and will usually include some scheduling flexibility so that students may make informed decisions regarding their co-curricular educational and employment commitments. If exams or additional class sessions are scheduled outside of the regular class period, faculty members will give alternative times so that students may honor out-of-class educational and employment commitments if possible.

Class Preparation

A student is expected to spend a minimum of forty-six hours of academic study for every enrolled credit. This principle applies to tutorial and directed inquiry study as well as to regular course work during the academic year. Time spent on a per assignment basis will vary depending on the nature of the class assignments; however, on an average, a minimum of ten hours per week outside of class is expected for active preparation for a four-credit course.

Schedule Changes

During the first week of classes in each semester, or the first two days during a 5-week summer session, courses may be added (based on seat availability) and/or dropped from a student’s schedule. Students may drop full semester classes until the end of the third week of a fall or spring semester, or the 5th day of class in a 5-week summer term session. The drop/add period for those courses that run during one of the 7-week sessions within the semester will be during the 1st week of that session only. No extended drop period exists for these partial semester courses. Approval of a course underload must be obtained if the resulting course load is less than 12 credits. No credit will be awarded retroactively for courses for which a student failed to register properly, including physical education.

Any student who fails to attend the first day of class without providing prior notice of his or her absence to the instructor of the course or the chairperson of the department may be removed from the course upon notification of the instructor to the Registrar.

The student is then responsible for then dropping the course.

Withdrawal From Class

Students withdrawing from a course between the beginning of the fourth week and the end of the eleventh week of a semester will receive a grade of W (withdrew). Students withdrawing from a course between the 6th day and the 18th day of a 5-week summer session will receive a grade of W.  The W grade is not computed in the student’s grade point average.

Withdrawal from a course is not official until the appropriate form with all required approvals is submitted by the student to the Registrar’s Office. A request to withdraw from a class which does not receive the approval of the instructor and the faculty advisor may be appealed to the Standards and Standing Committee.

The request to withdraw from a class after the stated deadline requires the approval of the Standards and Standing Committee in addition to the approvals of the instructor and the student’s faculty adviser. Students are expected to continue to attend classes until there is official notice that the request for withdrawal from class has been approved. No request for withdrawal from a class will be considered after the last day of classes.

Unauthorized withdrawal from any class constitutes a failure in the course. A student who withdraws from all courses in a semester is considered to be withdrawn from the college and must follow the appropriate procedure described below.

No student will be permitted to withdraw from a course in which he or she is under investigation for violating the Honor Code until the alleged violation has been adjudicated. A student may not withdraw from a course in which he or she has been found “In Violation” of the Honor Code.

Interruption of Participation in the College
It is not uncommon for some students faced with family circumstances, health or other problems, or academic difficulty to consider interrupting participation in the College for a semester or longer. Students who find themselves in such situations are encouraged to confer with their academic advisers, the College Counseling Office, or Student Life to discuss the variety of options available and the implications, advantages, and disadvantages of these options (personal, academic, and financial.)

Leave of Absence

Application for and the granting of a Leave of Absence indicates a continuing relationship between the student and the College. Students may decide to apply for a Leave of Absence for a wide variety of reasons and the terms of the Leave of Absence granted are designed to reflect the individual’s needs and circumstances. These terms range from the resumption of studies at the time specified without further approval by College authorities to the requirement that the student satisfy the College that conditions are now such that the individual is likely to succeed and prosper on return.

A Leave of Absence is granted only for one or two full semesters, and a student must make the request for a Leave of Absence in writing in advance to the Faculty Standards and Standing Committee. Students should obtain the necessary information and forms from the Dean of Student office. Students who are granted a Leave of Absence must contact the Dean of Student office in order to initiate the normal process of leaving campus.

A Leave of Absence is not normally granted for periods in excess of one year. A Leave of Absence is not given for the purpose of studying at another institution nor can it be given to students who are not in good academic standing. If circumstances warrant, a student may be approved to enroll in up to two courses at another institution while on leave. Students on Leave must return to the College at the specified time or be deemed to have withdrawn from the College necessitating application for readmission.

Withdrawal from the College

In some instances, a student may decide not to apply for a Leave of Absence but to withdraw from the College. Students who decide to withdraw from the College, either during or at the end of a semester, must contact the Dean of Students office in order to initiate the withdrawal process. A letter of withdrawal must be filed with Student Life and the entire withdrawal process completed before the student can be officially withdrawn from the College.

Students who decide to return to the College after having withdrawn must apply for readmission. If a student withdraws from the College during or at the end of a semester, it is expected that readmission, if approved, will not take place until one full academic semester has lapsed. Applications for readmission are available from Rhodes Express. (See also “Voluntary Withdrawal and Removal from Campus” in the Campus Regulations and “Readmission of Students” in the Admissions section of this catalogue.)


The Honor Code represents what the students, the faculty, and the administration believe to be the best environment for the pursuit of the College’s educational aims. All tests and examinations are conducted under the Honor Code, and students are asked to indicate on their tests and final examinations that they have abided by the principles contained in the Honor Code.

Normally every course for which credit is given has a final examination as a component. Final examinations are intended to assess students’ mastery of the subject matter of the course and are normally comprehensive in scope. In some courses the purposes of a final examination are best served by special testing: take-home examinations, departmentally administered oral examinations, special projects and assignments, for example. Whatever the testing method, the important factor is that students are asked to synthesize major concepts, approaches, and facts from the course, and to demonstrate that they can do this on their own.

Final examinations are given during the examination week according to the published schedule. A student with three examinations in a row (not to include reading days) may petition the Dean of the Faculty to re-schedule no more than two examinations for later times in the examination period. Other changes because of extenuating circumstances (e.g. illness) must also be approved by the professor and the Dean. A professor may offer optional exam times for an entire class within the examination period, except for a Reading Day. Each member of the class must choose one of the optional times at least one week before the first day of examinations. The feasibility of implementing this option is left to the professor’s discretion. If exams are scheduled outside of the regular class period, students should be given alternative times which accommodate their other commitments.

A student who has a failing average on course work may be counseled before the final examination about the status of that work and about the role the final examination will play in determining the final grade, but the student is not excluded from taking the final examination. A student who has a passing average on course work but fails the final examination, and as a result has a failing average for the course, may be permitted to take a re-examination at the discretion of the instructor. The conditional grade of E (reexamination) is given in this case. The reexamination must be taken no later than the end of the second week of classes of the following semester.

A student who has a passing average on course work and who fails the final examination, but who earns a passing final grade, may be given the appropriate letter grade for the course.

Unexcused absence from a final examination automatically results in failure in the course. A student who is prevented by illness or other reason from taking the final examination at the scheduled time must present a written excuse or doctor’s certificate and will be given a conditional grade of X (incomplete). In some courses, due to the lesser weight given to the final examination in determining the final grade for the course, a professor may not wish to give the grade of F for an unexcused absence or the grade of X in the event of an excused absence. The professor’s policy on this matter is made clear at the beginning of the course so that there is no misunderstanding and so that it is clear that this situation is an exception to the general college policy. Consult the section on Conditional Grades for policies governing E and X grades.

Conditional Grades: Reexaminations and Incompletes

A student with a grade of E (see Examinations) must notify the Registrar at least one week in advance of the scheduled time that the reexamination will be attempted. If the student passes the reexamination, a grade of D-, D, or D+ will be earned, unless the course was taken Pass/Fail, in which case the grade of P will be recorded. Seniors in the final semester of attendance may be eligible for reexamination without delay, at the discretion of the professor, if they fail a final examination and are given an E grade.

The grade of X (incomplete) may be requested by a student who is unable to complete coursework because of circumstances beyond their reasonable control (e.g., illness, injury, incapacitation, or other emergency). The conditions for requesting an incomplete are as follows:

  • The student should have a passing grade either at midterm or at the time of the petition.
  • The amount of unfinished coursework, including any final exam, should not exceed that assigned in a typical three-week period during a full semester (or an equivalent interval within a summer-session course).
  • The petition must be agreed to by all parties involved (student/professor/adviser) by the course's assigned final exam day and no earlier than the final three weeks of the semester. (The completed form itself must be submitted either electronically or in hard copy no later than the final grade due date.)

All unfinished work must be completed and submitted to the course instructor before the first day of classes in the student's next term of enrollment (fall, spring, or summer). Students returning to Rhodes after an approved Leave of Absence or an off-campus study program must also have resolved all incompletes prior to this start date. Faculty must have a final grade turned in to the Registrar by the end of the last day of the term's drop/add period. If there are other circumstances that should be taken into account, they should be addressed prior to signing the form; and acceptable completion date must be agreed upon by all parties, but no later than the third week of the following semester.

If none of the student's incomplete work is submitted before the day classes begin in their next enrolled term, the conditional grade (X) will be converted automatically to the provisional grade submitted by faculty on the Conditional Grade Report Form. If illness or other extraordinary circumstances prevent a student from meeting this deadline for submission of unfinished work, then a petition requesting an extension must be submitted to and approved by the Standards and Standing Committee prior to the deadline for submission of the work.

Grades and Grade Points

In official recording of academic work, the following symbols are employed: A, excellent; B, good; C, satisfactory; D, passing; P, pass; E, re-examination; X, incomplete; IP, course in progress; F, failure; W, withdrew; NG, grade not submitted by professor. E and X grades are conditional and may be removed. The grades of B, C, and D are employed with plus and minus notations. The grade of A is employed with the minus notation.

Grade points are used to determine a student’s grade point average. The number of grade points awarded per credit hour for each grade is as follows:

Grade PtsGradeGrade Pts

The total number of grade points earned for all courses are divided by the number of credits attempted in order to calculate the grade point average. Credits with a grade of Pass are not included in the determination of the grade point average although those credits with a grade of Fail are included. The grade of W is not computed in the grade point average. Conditional grades earn no quality points and no credits until they are removed. Credit and grade points earned by students who return for additional course work after receiving a degree are not computed with the final degree grade point average. Instead, a new grade point average is computed for all work attempted after receiving a degree.

The major grade point average is computed using the same formula as above. In computing the grade point average in the major department, all courses taken in the major department, not just those courses required for the major, and any required cognate courses in other departments are used.


A student may enroll in a class on a pass-fail basis with the permission of the instructor. No more than one course per semester with a maximum of six courses total is permitted. Courses that are graded pass-fail only do not count against that limitation. The Pass/Fail option may not be used in courses taken to satisfy foundation requirements with the exception of F11 and may not be used for courses taken to satisfy major or minor requirements including cognate courses.

The student wishing to take a course on a pass-fail basis must determine from the instructor the letter grade equivalent and the requirements for a grade of Pass. The pass-fail form with the instructor’s signature must be returned to Rhodes Express during the first eleven weeks of class in a semester.

Courses with grades of Pass count neither for nor against a student in the computation of grade point averages, but a failing grade is computed in the grade point averages.

Grade Reports

Reports of student’s grades are available online on the Rhodes website at mid-semester and at the end of each semester. Students are responsible for keeping other family members correctly and currently informed of their academic standing and progress.

Honor Roll and Dean’s List

An Honor Roll and a Dean’s List are compiled at the end of each semester. To be considered for Honor Roll or Dean’s List, a student must be enrolled in at least 16 credits of academic work. To qualify for the Honor Roll, a student must achieve a semester grade point average of 3.85 or better. To qualify for the Dean’s List, a student must achieve a semester grade point average of 3.70 or better. Those students who choose to take a course under the Pass/Fail option must have a minimum of 12 (twelve) additional graded credits of work to be considered for either of these honors. Students who are enrolled in the Honors Program or independent Research and receive a grade of IP for that work will have their qualifying grade point average determined on all other graded work.

Academic Good Standing

Students are considered to be in Academic Good Standing unless they are on Academic Probation or Suspension. Rhodes Express will send statements to that effect to other institutions in order for current Rhodes students to attend summer sessions or other programs.

Academic Probation and Suspension

To graduate, a student must have an overall grade point average of 2.00 (C) for all work attempted and for all work attempted in the major department. A student is subject to academic probation if the major grade point average falls below 2.00. A student is subject to academic probation or suspension if the cumulative grade point at the end of any semester or summer term falls below a minimum standard, which is dictated by the number of cumulative credits the student has earned. The cumulative standards are as follows:

Number of Credits Earned
Minimum GPA to Avoid SuspensionMinimum GPA to Avoid Probation
97 or more2.002.00

In addition, a student is subject to probation in any semester in which the student earns fewer than twelve (12) credits and earns a grade point average of less than 1.50. NOTE: Students placed on probation due to semester grade point average who also enroll in summer courses at Rhodes will have their records reviewed at the end of the summer term. If they earn a minimum of four (4) Rhodes College credits with a minimum summer term grade point average of 2.00, they may be returned to good standing. The summer term grade point average is defined as the aggregate grade point average of all Rhodes summer work.  

A student on academic probation is not considered to be in good academic standing. Such students are ineligible to participate in some extracurricular activities, including intercollegiate athletics. A student is removed from academic probation upon attainment of the minimum standard grade point average based on the number of credits earned.

After being placed on academic probation, a student may be continued on academic probation for no more than two consecutive semesters. At the end of the third consecutive semester on academic probation, the student must be removed from probation or placed on academic suspension.

Academic suspension may be imposed at the end of the fall or spring semester. Fees will not be refunded or remitted, in whole or in part, in the event of a suspension imposed by the College.

The period of suspension is one semester. Summer term does not fulfill this suspension period.  Following suspension, a student may apply for readmission. Any student placed on academic suspension by the College for a second time may not be readmitted.

No credit may be transferred for work done at another institution during the period of academic suspension.

A student has the right to request reconsideration of academic suspension. The Faculty Standards and Standing Committee considers the request. The Committee may allow the student to continue on academic probation into the next academic semester under specified conditions for academic achievement if it finds that the failure to achieve academically was due principally to extenuating circumstances and that the student has taken appropriate measures to ensure future academic success.

Semester grade point averages are affected by the conditional grades of X and E. The above provisions will apply when either of these grades is on the record in question. The action to suspend or be placed on academic probation may be delayed until it is determined what the grade point average will be when the conditional grades are removed.

Repeating a Course Because of Grade

Any student who has received a grade of D-, D, or D+ in a course may repeat the course for a higher grade. No additional credit may be earned when repeating a course for a higher grade. Any student who has failed a course may repeat the course for credit.

The credits attempted and the grade points earned for each attempt of the course are included in the calculation of the student’s major grade point average and cumulative grade point average. However, only one failure of a course will be calculated in the grade point averages.

Grade Queries and Appeals

There is no more fundamental relationship in an academic program than that of the instructor and student. The Faculty and its academic officers work to support and to sustain a meaningful and productive instructor-student relationship to secure the educational aims of the College and of the members of its Faculty. Clearly the relationship is not one between equals, and this is most clearly evident when the instructor must assign a grade for the work required of, or expected of, a student.

Grade Queries. On occasion a student may believe that a grade assigned is incorrect. The student has the right to initiate a discussion with the instructor to determine that the grade given is in fact correct. If a mistake has been made, the instructor changes the grade and requests that the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs direct the Registrar to change a grade that has been officially entered on the student’s academic record.

Grade Appeals. In the event that, after consulting with the instructor, the student is not satisfied that a grade has been assigned fairly, the student may write an explanation of why he or she believes the grade assigned is not justified. The student gives this statement to the instructor, who may decide that the explanation warrants a reconsideration of the grade assigned. If the instructor decides not to change the assigned grade and discussion with the student does not result in the student’s agreement with this decision, the instructor asks the department chair to review the procedures for determining grades in the course, the student’s request, and the instructor’s response to it. The faculty member provides a written statement to the department chair about why the original grade is valid. Should the chair of the department determine that no lapse in procedure has occurred and that full attention has been given to the explanation by the instructor, the matter is closed. The chair of the department communicates this decision to the student and the instructor. Should the chair of the department determine that the procedure was not properly followed or that additional attention to the explanation is warranted, the chair discusses the situation with the instructor or the chair may obtain additional evaluations of the student’s work. These evaluations may be requested from colleagues within the Faculty whose knowledge and expertise are appropriate to a review of the student’s work. Having completed this additional evaluation, the chair’s determination about the grade closes the matter. The chair of the department communicates this final decision to the student, the instructor, and the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs.

Special Provisions. The period of time during which appeals of final grades can be made expires at the end of the fourth week of the semester following the posting of the grade.

In the event that appeals for reconsideration of grades involves grades assigned by a chair of a department, then the appeal procedure will be conducted by the senior member of the department, or the next senior member of the department in the event that the chair is the senior member. In instances where there are no other senior members in the department, the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs will oversee the inquiry.

The provisions outlined above are meant to apply to situations in which appeals for reconsideration of grades are made by students. If a student’s complaint involves a belief that he or she has been discriminated against because of the practices in managing a course, the Dean of the Faculty is the administrative officer to receive any such complaint. It may be that the Dean will ask that the general provisions above be followed in an investigation of possible discrimination.

Cheating and Plagiarism

The term “cheating” is defined as the attempt or act of giving or receiving unauthorized aid from any source on academic coursework. Cheating includes plagiarism. Plagiarism is an act of academic dishonesty. A student must not adopt or reproduce ideas, words, or statements that are not their own without appropriate acknowledgment. This prohibition extends to the output of generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools and editors, including, but not limited to, text, image, sound, video, coding content, and online translators.  Use of AI generated content in the completion of coursework without proper acknowledgment is considered an act of plagiarism unless such use is expressly permitted by the course’s instructor.  It is the student’s responsibility to consult with their professor for policies and procedures for properly acknowledging and citing sources.


Complete college records for each student are kept by the Registrar. Requests for transcripts must be in writing. Requests received via fax machine will be accepted although transcripts will not be transmitted via the fax. No transcript will be issued to students, current or past, whose financial accounts are delinquent.

Family Education Rights and Privacy Act

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, is a Federal law which states (a) that a written institutional policy must be established and (b) that a statement of adopted procedures covering the privacy rights of students be made available. The law provides that the institution will maintain the confidentiality of student education records.

Rhodes College accords all the rights under the law to enrolled students. No one outside the institution shall have access to nor will the institution disclose any information from students’ education records without the written consent of students except to personnel within the institution as defined below, to officials of other institutions in which student seek to enroll, to persons or organizations providing students financial aid, to agencies carrying out their accreditation function, to persons in compliance with a judicial order, and to persons in an emergency in order to protect the health or safety of students or other persons. All these exceptions are permitted under the Act. Only those members of the Rhodes College community, individually or collectively, acting in the students’ educational interest are allowed access to student education records. These members include personnel in the Office of the Registrar including student workers in that office, and the professional staff of the Office of Student Affairs, Financial Aid, Institutional Research, and College officials with a legitimate educational interest as determined by the Registrar. A College official may be determined to have legitimate educational interest if the information requested or released is necessary for the official to (a) perform appropriate tasks that are specified in his or her position description or by a contractual agreement; (b) perform a task related to a student’s education; (c) perform a task related to the discipline of the student; or (d) provide a service or benefit relating to the student or student’s family, such as health care, counseling, job placement, or financial aid.

At its discretion the institution may provide Directory Information in accordance with the provisions of the Act including student name, parents’ names, campus and home addresses and telephone numbers, cellular phone number, email address, photograph, dates of attendance, year of graduation, degree and honors awarded or expected, academic major, and faculty adviser. Students may withhold Directory Information by notifying the Registrar in writing at least sixty days prior to the first day of class for the fall semester. Requests for non-disclosure will be honored by the institution for only one academic year; therefore, authorization to withhold Directory Information must be filed annually.

The law provides students with the right to inspect and review information contained in their education records, to challenge the contents of their education records, to have a hearing if the outcome of the challenge is unsatisfactory, and to submit explanatory statements for inclusion in their files if the decisions of the hearing panels are unacceptable. The Registrar at Rhodes College has been designated by the institution to coordinate the inspection and review procedures for student educational records, which include admissions, personal, academic, and financial files, and academic and placement records. Students wishing to review their education records must make written requests to the Registrar listing the item or items of interest. Only records covered by the

Act will be made available within forty-five days of the request.

In addition, the law only affords students a right to copies of their education records if a denial of copies would effectively prevent the students from exercising the right to inspect and review the records. Therefore, students may have copies made of their records with certain exceptions. The College reserves the right to deny copies of records, including academic transcripts, not required to be made available by FERPA in any of the following situations:

  1. The student lives within commuting distance of the school;
  2. The student has an unpaid financial obligation to the school;
  3. There is an unresolved disciplinary action against the student;
  4. The education record requested is an exam, or set of standardized test questions;
  5. The education record requested is a transcript of an original or source document which exists elsewhere.

Education records do not include records of instructional, supervisory, administrative, and educational personnel which are the sole possession of the maker and are not accessible or revealed to any individual except a temporary substitute. Other records not included are those of the campus safety department, student health records, employment records (except those records of student workers), or alumni records. Health records, however, may be reviewed by physicians of the students’ choosing.

Students may not inspect and review the following as outlined by the Act: financial information submitted by their parents; confidential letters and recommendations associated with admission to the College, employment or job placement, or honors to which they have waived their rights of inspection and review; or education records containing information about more than one student, in which case the institution will permit access only to that part of the record which pertains to the inquiring student. The institution is not required to permit students to inspect and review confidential letters and recommendations placed in their files prior to January 1, 1975, provided those letters were collected under established policies of confidentiality and were used only for the purposes for which they were collected.

Students who believe that their education records contain information that is inaccurate or misleading, or is otherwise in violation of their privacy or other rights, may discuss their problems informally with the Registrar. If the decisions of the Registrar are in agreement with the students’ requests, the appropriate records will be amended. If not, the students will be notified within a reasonable period of time that the records will not be amended; and they will be informed of their right to a formal hearing. Student requests for formal hearings must be made in writing to the Dean of the Faculty who, within a reasonable period of time after receiving such requests, will inform students of the date, place, and the time of the hearings. Students may present evidence relevant to the issues raised and may be assisted or represented at the hearings by one or more persons of their choice, including attorneys, at the students’ expense. The hearing panels which will adjudicate such challenges will be the Faculty Standards and Standing Committee.

Decisions of the hearing panel will be final, will be based solely on the evidence presented at the hearing, and will consist of written statements summarizing the evidence and stating the reasons for the decisions, and will be delivered to all parties concerned. The education records will be corrected or amended in accordance with the decisions of the hearing panels, if the decisions are in favor of the students. If the decisions are unsatisfactory to the students, the students may place with the education records statements commenting on the information in the records, or statements setting forth any reasons for disagreeing with the decisions of the hearing panels. The statements will be placed in the education records, maintained as part of the students’ records, and released whenever the records in question are disclosed.

Students who believe that the adjudications of their challenges were unfair or not in keeping with the provisions of the Act may request, in writing, assistance from the President of the College to aid them in filing complaints with The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Office (FERPA), Department of Education, Washington, D.C. 20201

Revisions and clarifications of this policy will be published as experience with the law and the institutional policy warrants. Annual notice of compliance with the Act is published in the Rhodes College Catalog.