Mandated Federal Policies
The following policies are required to be published in the Student Handbook.
The Annual Security and Fire Safety Report is published by the Department of Public Safety and may be obtained upon request. This report, which contains safety tips, our latest crime statistics, and other important information, is posted on or before October 1st each year. A link to this report can be found on the Department of Public Safety homepage.
All members of the College community are expected to comply with the Copyright Act of 1976 (Title 17, U.S. Code) and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998. The Copyright Act provides protection to the authors of original works including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works, both published and unpublished. Copyright is defined as the exclusive right of the creator to reproduce, prepare derivative works, distribute, perform, display, sell, lend, or rent his or her creations and to authorize others to do so. All tangible forms of intellectual expression are covered by the Copyright Act and include all print, digital, media, performances, and computer software.
The complete Washington College Copyright Policy can be found at http://www.washcoll.edu/wc/offices/miller-library/copyright/. Students are expected to familiarize themselves with the policy and understand their responsibilities as established by the policy and understand their responsibilities as established by the policy, particularly in regards to downloading and sharing of media and data files.
Students whose actions violate the College’s Copyright Policy may be referred to the Honor Board for infractions of the Honor Code and also subject to civil and criminal action with the risk of significant penalties. Penalties for violation of federal copyright laws, which includes the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, are summarized below.
Copyright infringement is the act of exercising, without permission or legal authority, one or more of the exclusive rights granted to the copyright owner under Copyright Act of 1976 (Title 17, U.S. Code). These rights include the right to reproduce or distribute a copyrighted work. In the file-sharing context, downloading or uploading substantial parts of a copyrighted work without authority constitutes an infringement. Penalties for copyright infringement include civil and criminal penalties. In general, anyone found liable for civil copyright infringement may be ordered to pay either actual damages or “statutory” damages affixed at not less than $750 and not more than $30,000 per work infringed. For “willful” infringement, a court may award up to $150,000 per work infringed. A court can, in its discretion, also assess costs and attorneys’ fees.
For more information, please see the website of the U.S. Copyright Office at http://www.copyright.gov/, especially their FAQ’s at www.copyright.gov/help/faq.
The Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act requires any institution receiving federal funds to certify that the institution has adopted and implemented a program to prevent the use of illegal drugs and the abuse of alcohol by students and employees. Information about Washington College’s alcohol policies, health risks, and campus resources addressing alcohol or substance use can be found in the “Student Conduct and Judicial Procedures” section of this handbook.
For the full content of the College’s Record Release Policy, please visit http://www.washcoll.edu/wc/offices/registrar/record-release-policy.php
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) as amended affords students certain rights with respect to their education records.
These rights include:
The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days of the day the College receives a request for access.
A student should submit to the College Registrar a written request that identifies the record(s) the student wishes to inspect. The College Registrar 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 Registrar’s Office, the College Registrar shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA.
A student who wishes to ask the College to amend a record should write the College Registrar (or other College official who maintains the records in question, if the records are not maintained by the Registrar’s Office), clearly identify the part of the record the student wants changed, and specify why it should be changed.
If the College decides not to amend the record as requested, it will notify the student in writing of the decision and the student’s 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.
The right to provide written consent before the College discloses personally identifiable information (PII) from the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
The College discloses education records without a student’s prior written consent under the FERPA exception for disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the College in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the College has contracted to provide a service instead of using College employees or officials (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Visitors and Governors; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a 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 responsibilities for the College.
Upon request, the College discloses education records without consent to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll. Washington College will honor such requests.
The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the College to comply with the requirements of FERPA.
Students are encouraged to discuss their concerns with the College Registrar (as the College’s official custodian of records). Should the student decide to file a complaint against Washington College for a potential violation of their rights under FERPA, the name and address of the Office that administers FERPA is:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-5901
As of January 3, 2012, the U.S. Department of Education’s FERPA regulations expand the circumstances under which your education records and personally identifiable information (PII) contained in such records – including your Social Security number, grades, or other private information – may be accessed without your consent.
First, the U.S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or state and local education authorities (“Federal and State Authorities”) may allow access to your records and PII without your consent to any third party designated by a Federal or State Authority to evaluate a federal- or state-supported education program. The evaluation may relate to any program that is “principally engaged in the provision of education,” such as early childhood education and job training, as well as any program that is administered by an education agency or institution.
Second, Federal and State Authorities may allow access to your education records and PII without your consent to researchers performing certain types of studies, in certain cases even when the College objects to or does not request such research. Federal and State Authorities must obtain certain use-restrictions and data security promises from the entities that they authorize to receive your PII, but the Authorities need not maintain direct control over such entities.
In addition, in connection with Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems, State Authorities may collect, compile, permanently retain, and share without your consent PII from your education records, and they may track your participation in education and other programs by linking such PII to other personal information about you that they obtain from other Federal and State data sources, including workforce development, unemployment insurance, child welfare, juvenile justice, military service, and migrant student records systems.
Washington College students are granted an automatic expectation of privacy for their education records through FERPA. The law says that once a student begins postsecondary study, the College can only release his or her education records directly to the student, upon his or her written request. By law, the College may only provide information from a student’s education records when requested by a parent or guardian if the student consents to that release in writing or if the parent or guardian provides us with proof of the student’s financial dependency (usually substantiated by a certified copy of the most recent Federal Income Tax Form). All entering students will have the opportunity to opt in and provide blanket parental/guardian access to their education records at the start of their Washington College academic career.
Certain information from a student’s education records is considered directory information under FERPA. The College may release the following directory information to parents, guardians, and/or third parties without prior consent from the student:
- Student name
- Graduation dates
- Campus box number
- Expected graduation dates
- Campus phone number
- Previous institutions attended
- Honor Societies
- Hometown and State
- Cell phone number
- Permanent address
- Home phone number
- Email address
- Major(s) and Minor(s)
- Dates of attendance
- Full/part-time status
- Class year
- Participation in officially recognized sports
Release of this information to third parties is usually seen as a benefit to students. For example, the College can verify the current student status or graduation information to loan servicing organizations, potential employers or companies offering a student discount, or can share students’ honors and accomplishments with their hometown newspapers and other media outlets. Nonetheless, FERPA provides an opportunity for students to restrict the dissemination of directory information. Instructions on how to opt out will be supplied to all entering students. Should the student decide to withhold his or her directory information from release, all future requests from non-Washington College persons and organizations will be refused.
In general, the College does not honor blanket requests from third parties for directory information about its current student population. However, the College does publish in the online student directory each student’s name, email address, campus box number, and campus phone number. Access to this directory is restricted to members of the Washington College community.
Decisions made by entering students about allowing parental/guardian access or restricting the release of directory information remain in effect for the duration of the student’s matriculation at Washington College unless otherwise revoked by filing a written request with the Registrar’s Office. The College will honor each student’s most recent privacy preference after he or she graduates or withdraws.
Requesting Student Records
Students interested in inspecting their educational records kept in the Student Affairs office (housing and conduct records) should submit a request form either online at: https://washcoll.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_08nPu0sljwrwfDn or in person at the Student Affairs Office.
Requests for transcripts or other academic records should be requested through the Registrar’s Office as described below in the section on “Transcript Requests”.
Washington College uses an online transcript ordering service. Students can visit https://www.credentials-inc.com/cgi-bin/dvcgitp.pgm?alumtro002108 to order their official transcript. Among the many features of this online service is the ability to track every step of the transcript order, including delivery and opening of electronic transcripts by the intended recipient.
The transcript account creation process will require the student to supply their WC student ID number or their entire Social Security Number. If the student is uncomfortable sharing their SSN electronically and does not know or remember their WC student ID number, they may contact a member of the Registrar’s Office staff at (410) 778-7299 during normal business hours to request assistance in looking up their WC ID number.
Federal Law requires a signed (pen-to-paper signature) Consent Form* be returned before orders can be processed by the school. Once received and approved, the Consent Form satisfies the account requirements and does not need to be resubmitted for future orders. The Consent Form is presented at the end of the order.
*The Consent Form authorizes this system to act as the ordering agent for the student and gives permission for their transcripts to be released as requested by the student.
The online ordering service is only for students who attended Washington College from 1987 to present. Any student who attended prior to 1987 and wishes to request a transcript should contact the Registrar’s Office at 410-778-7299 or via email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students may visit the Registrar’s Office in the basement of Bunting Hall to complete a Transcript Request Form. Transcripts ordered in person will be available for pickup by the student by 4 p.m. the following business day. Pick-up service is free of charge.
In compliance with FERPA, all enrollment verification requests must be made in writing, including a physical signature (pen to paper) of the actual requesting student. Students should print, complete, and mail or fax the Enrollment Verification Request Form on the Registrar’s Office web page at http://registrar.washcoll.edu/enrollment-verifications.php. Alternately, students may submit the interactive form electronically by providing a digital signature and submitting the completed form from their @washcoll.edu email account.
The Registrar’s Office will gladly write a letter to any third party stating the student’s academic status and verifying any other information contained on the student’s education record, provided it is factually accurate. Furthermore, Washington College has established a relationship with the National Student Clearinghouse (a non-profit resource funded by the Department of Education) to help respond to student enrollment verification and degree completion requests automatically. Students may request such verification themselves, or may direct third parties to http://www.enrollmentverify.org to obtain this verification.
Under the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA), students become ineligible for federal student aid funds upon a federal or state conviction of any offense involving the possession or sale of illegal drugs. Federal aid includes Pell grants, SEOG grants, Stafford loans, PLUS loans, Work-study, and Perkins loans.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form asks if the student has ever been convicted of a drug-related offense. Failure to answer the question will automatically disqualify the student from federal financial aid. If a student is convicted while he or she is already receiving federal aid money, the student must notify the Financial Aid Office immediately, will be ineligible for further aid, and also be required to pay back any and all aid received after the conviction.
A conviction is a legal finding of guilt. If a case is dismissed, the prosecutor declined to prosecute, the case was put on the stet docket, or the student receives probation before judgment, these are not convictions and therefore, do not have to be reported on the FAFSA form or to the Financial Aid Office.
If a student successfully completes a qualified drug rehabilitation program, he or she will regain eligibility for student aid funds as of the day the student successfully completes the program. In order for a student’s aid eligibility to be restored, the rehabilitation program must include at least two unannounced drug tests, and be recognized as a federal, state, or local government agency run program. Washington College does not operate a rehabilitation program. A student who enrolls in a rehabilitation program to protect his or her financial aid status will have to do so at his or her own expense.
The following charts outline the length of time that a student may expect to lose financial aid because of a drug conviction:
One year from date of conviction
Two years from date of conviction
3rd & Subsequent
Indefinite ineligibility from the date of conviction
Two years from date of conviction
2nd & Subsequent Offenses
Indefinite ineligibility from the date of conviction
NOTICE: Knowingly providing false information on your FAFSA form is considered a crime and can carry a fine up to $10,000. In addition, students who provide false content on the form may also face College judicial sanctions.
Student Handbook Notice
While every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information provided in the Student Handbook as of its publication date in August prior to the beginning of the academic year, it must be understood that all information described herein are subject to change or elimination at any time without notice or published amendment to the Student Handbook. In addition, Washington College reserves the right to make changes at any time, without prior notice, to other programs, policies and regulations, procedures, fees and charges, and other information that is described in this Student Handbook or on any page that resides under the DNS registration of washcoll.edu.
Washington College provides its website, catalog, handbooks, and any other printed materials or electronic media for general guidance. Individuals assume any risks associated with relying upon such information without checking other credible sources such as the student’s faculty advisor, the Provost/Dean of the College, the Vice President for Student Affairs, the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, or the Registrar. In addition, a student’s or prospective student’s reliance upon information contained within these sources when making academic decisions does not constitute, and should not be construed as, a contract with the College.