109. Student Records: Contents, Access, Use, and Protection

Note from the University Secretariat: The Post-Secondary Learning Act gives General Faculties Council (GFC) responsibility, subject to the authority of the Board of Governors, over "academic affairs" (section 26(1)) and "general supervision of student affairs" (section 31). GFC has thus enacted a policy concerning Student Records, as set out below. This policy is compliant with the Province's Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPP).

The complete wording of the section(s) of the Post-Secondary Learning Act, as referred to above, and any other related sections, should be checked in any instance where formal jurisdiction or delegation needs to be determined.

NOTE FROM THE UNIVERSITY SECRETARIAT: GFC Regulations concerning student records are contained in the Calendar with the exception of the following regulations. In accordance with a motion passed by the GFC Executive Committee on November 9, 1992, the academic regulations contained in the Calendar may not be changed without GFC approval.

109.1 Collection of Personal Information
Information that forms part of the student record is collected under the authority of the Post-Secondary Learning Act of the Province of Alberta and in accordance with Section 32(c) of the Alberta Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, (FOIPP Act). It is used to determine eligibility for admission and financial assistance, to advise students about academic programs and to provide university services. (GFC NOV 29 1999)

The student record is disclosed to academic and administrative units. Specific information is disclosed to the federal and provincial governments to meet reporting requirements and to the Students' Union/Graduate Students' Association in accordance with FOIPP Information Sharing Agreements. (GFC NOV 29 1999)

109.2 Use and Confidentiality of Student Files

109.2.10 Objections to Release of Information

Students who object to the release of information regarding their records in accordance with the policy stated above should notify the Registrar in writing, giving the specific objection. Appropriate action will be taken by the Registrar who will so advise students. (GFC 28 JUN 1971)

109.2.11 Statutory Declaration Form

A revised statutory declaration form for access to the student information system was considered and approved by the Executive Committee on April 27, 1998. The revised form is reproduced in Appendix 1 of this section. (EXEC 24 AUG 1987)

109.2.1 Student Access

Students' access to their own information is governed by the FOIPP Act. (GFC NOV 29 1999)

109.2.2 Student Records

1. Official transcripts are issued by the Office of the Registrar and Student Awards only upon the request of the student. They are issued to the student personally or to whomever the student designates. An official transcript bears the signature of the Registrar and the official seal of the University. (EXEC 3 NOV 1997)

An unofficial transcript or copy of the student's academic record does not bear the Registrar's signature, nor is it printed on security paper. (GFC 29 NOV 1999)

2. Unofficial copies of the student's academic record are issued in the form of:

a. Statements of results issued to students at the end of the Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer terms. (EXEC 3 NOV 1997) (GFC 29 NOV 1999)

b. Unofficial transcripts issued to students with their advance registration materials and at Convocation. ((EXEC 3 NOV 1997)

c. Unofficial transcripts issued to Faculties, Departments or advisors as appropriate for consideration for admission, academic standing and promotion and for the academic advisement of students. (EXEC 3 NOV 1997)

d. Unofficial copies may be issued at the student's request to other offices or individuals in the University. (EXEC 3 NOV 1997)

3. Unofficial copies of the student's academic record may be issued to the following at their request:

a. Student Counselling Services when a student has been referred for counselling by an authorized officer of the University; (EXEC 3 NOV 1997)

b. Student Awards Office, where an award made through a University scholarship committee is involved, on the understanding that information regarding the student's academic record will not be furnished to the scholarship donor without the student's consent. (EXEC 3 NOV 1997)

NOTE FROM THE UNIVERSITY SECRETARIAT:

Guidelines on student files and confidentiality are available from the University of Alberta Information and Privacy Office.

109.2.3 Letters of Reference

The contents of letters of reference collected implicitly or explicitly in confidence with the consent of the student, for the purposes of determining admission to a program or the granting of an award, may be revealed to the student in accordance with the Alberta Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. (GFC 29 NOV 1999)

Letters of reference will be used only for the express purpose(s) for which they have been supplied. (GFC 29 NOV 1999)

Letters of reference will be retained for at least one year. (GFC 29 NOV 1999)

The Provincial Commissioner of Information and Privacy has ordered that, in most cases, letters of reference in support of admission to the University must be released to the applicant.(EXEC 07 MAY 2001)

NOTE FROM THE UNIVERSITY SECRETARIAT:

Guidelines on student files and confidentiality are available from the University of Alberta Information and Privacy Office.

109.2.4 General Assessment of a Student's Ability and Character

Assessment information contained in a student's record may only be divulged by an administrative officer of the University to third parties (such as institutions, agencies or prospective employers) with the student's consent. (EXEC 3 NOV 1997) (GFC 29 NOV 1999)

When asked by such institutions, agencies or prospective employers to express an opinion concerning a student's academic ability, character and personality, a faculty member may do so only with the consent of the student, in which case, a record of the opinion so expressed will be retained for a minimum of one year by the faculty member. (EXEC 3 NOV 1997) (GFC 29 NOV 1999)

109.2.5 Reports from University Health Centre or Student Counselling Services

1. Where students have gone on their own initiative as patients to the University Health Centre, or as clients to Student Counselling Services, the contents of the students' files are private, in accordance with professional ethics or codes of behavior and protected by the FOIPP Act. (GFC 29 NOV 1971) (EXEC 3 NOV 1997) (GFC 29 NOV 1999)

2. Where a student has been referred by an authorized officer of the University to the University Health Centre or to Student Counselling Services, the consultant's opinion will be reported to the authorized officer if the student gives written permission to do so. Such written permission shall be granted when the student signs a release form, the nature of which will be determined by the Service in question. It is recognized that the nature and content of any report provided by the consultant will be determined by the ethics and codes of behavior of the consultant's profession and will be protected by the FOIPP Act. (GFC 29 NOV 1971) (EXEC 3 NOV 1997) (GFC 29 NOV 1999)

3. When a student has authorized a consultant to release a report to an officer of the University under this section the student may have access to the report as guided by the FOIPP Act. (GFC 29 NOV 1971) (EXEC 3 NOV 1997) (GFC 29 NOV 1999)

109.2.6 Records of Disciplinary Action

NOTE FROM THE UNIVERSITY SECRETARIAT: Please see Section 30.2.15 of the Code of Student Behavior. (EXEC 12 MAR 2001)

109.2.7 Colleges in Alberta

The GFC Executive Committee delegated authority to the Registrar to release grade point averages for University of Alberta students who have attended colleges within the Alberta post-secondary system. This delegation is premised on the understanding that the information released to the student's former college would be used for statistical purposes only, in compliance with the Alberta Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and following the completion of an appropriate Information Sharing Agreement. (EXEC 3 NOV 1997) (GFC 29 NOV 1999)

109.2.8 Public Information Concerning Students

The following information is defined as the student's public record: name; faculty of registration; dates of registration or convocation; and degree, diploma or certificate awarded. This information may be issued to third parties (such as other educational institutions, appropriate government agencies, or prospective employers) on a need to know basis. (GFC 29 NOV 1999)

109.2.9 Use of Student Records for Research

Access to and Use of Student Records and Information for Research by Associations, Organizations and Individuals (including access by other students)

The Policy on Student Records: Contents, Access, Use and Protection of the GFC Policy Manual was approved by the Board of Governors on January 26, 2007 for inclusion in the University of Alberta Policies and Procedures On-Line (UAPPOL).

  • Information Access & Protection of Privacy Policy
109.3 Retention of Student Records

A. Academic History (Transcript) Records

Note: Student academic history records, up to and including Winter Session 1982, will be stored by the Office of the Registrar and Student Awards on microfilm. Later records are maintained on the student information system. (GFC 29 NOV 1999)

1. Only the students' official academic history (transcript) will be kept indefinitely. Source information in the student file will be retained for seven years after last registration and then destroyed. (EXEC 3 NOV 1997) (GFC 29 NOV 1999)

2 Students are responsible for ensuring the accuracy and completeness of their official record at the end of each period that they attend by verifying their Statement of Results and the copy of their transcript provided during registration and at convocation. Students should be aware that only the official academic history (transcript) is retained permanently and that source information from the student file is destroyed seven years after the last registration. Queries regarding errors or omissions on the official academic history must be made as soon as possible, and will not be considered after the source information has been destroyed. The University Archives will be provided the opportunity to selectively retain a sample of student records files before destruction. (GFC 29 NOV 1999)

3. The Office of the Registrar and Student Awards will enclose a copy of the academic history record (unofficial transcript) with the parchment given to each graduating student, along with a letter asking the student to verify the record and report any problems immediately. (EXEC 3 NOV 1997) (GFC 29 NOV 1999)

B. Other Student Records

Each Faculty, Department and Unit will develop its own policy for retention and disposal of students' records in its custody or control in accordance with its own operating practice and the provisions of the Management of University Documents manual. These policies must recognize the necessity to maintain personal information regarding students for at least one year from the time it is used in a decision-making process concerning that student. (GFC 29 NOV 1999)

109.4 Security of Student Records

The Faculty, Department and Unit must protect students' personal information by making reasonable security arrangements against such risks as unauthorized access, collection, use, disclosure or destruction. (EXEC 13 SEPT 1999) (GFC 29 NOV 1999)

Appendix 1 - Statutory Declaration and Confidentiality Agreement for Access to Student Information System

I, ____________________________________________ of
(Print Name in Full)

________________________________________
(City or Town)

in the Province of Alberta, do solemnly declare as follows:

1. That I understand that the Office of the Registrar and Student Awards is responsible for safeguarding and maintaining the integrity of student academic records at the University of Alberta ("University");

2. That I understand that all information concerning individual students and prospective, current and former students is strictly confidential and may only be released in strict accordance with University policy and provincial and federal legislation, as amended from time to time;

3. That I undertake not to reveal any information about a student or prospective, current or former student or groups thereof to anyone, except as required in the course of my duties, during my employment; and further not to remove or disclose any information whatsoever after the completion of my employment with the University;

4. That I will not tamper with, destroy, falsify or otherwise improperly deal with any University records or files of any kind whatsoever;

5. That I will not create any false record in the University's official records. In the case of programming staff authorized to conduct system testing in the course of their duties, the condition of temporary test results is permitted;

6. That I acknowledge and agree that, if I should contravene any of the terms of this declaration, it shall constitute cause for discipline and the University reserves the right to seek prosecution of individuals committing such infractions;

7. That I have carefully read and accept this declaration.

And I make this solemn declaration conscientiously believing it to be true, and knowing that it is of the same force and effect as if made under oath.

DECLARED before me at the ___________ )

of __________________, in the Province )

of Alberta, this _________ day of )

___________________. )



___________________________________ ______________________________
(COMMISSIONER FOR OATHS IN AND (signature)
FOR THE PROVINCE OF ALBERTA)"

(EXEC 27 APR 1998)