Laws and court precedent on student information rights
Right to basic institutional facts and figures before admission The 2008 Higher Education Opportunity Act requires that institutions disclose institutional statistics on the Department of Education (DOE) website to allow students to make more informed educational decisions. Information required on the DOE website includes: tuition, fees, net price of attendance, tuition plans, and statistics including sex, ability, ethnic and transfer student ratios as well as ACT/SAT scores, degrees offered, enrolled, and awarded. Institutions are also required to disclose transfer credit policies and articulation agreements. Right to financial aid information disclosures The 2008 HOEA also requires institutions of higher education provide financial aid information disclosures, which essentially advertize the financial aid program, pre eligibility disclosures pertaining to the individual student, information differentiating federally insured or subsidized and private loans, preferred lender agreements, institutional rational for the establishment of preferred lender agreements and notice that schools are required to process any loan chosen by students. Right to information about the full cost of attendance According tot he 2008 HOEA, financial aid information disclosures must include the average financial aid awarded per person, cost of tuition, fees, room, board, books, supplies and transport. Right to information about the full cost of loan repayment According to the 2008 HOEA, financial aid information disclosures must include the amount of aid not requiring repayment, eligible loans, loan terms, net required repayment. Right to detailed federal student loan information Pre-eligibility disclosures must include notice of repayment, lender details, the principle amount, fees, interest rate, interest details, limits of borrowing, cumulative balance, estimated payment, frequency, repayment start date, minimum and maximum payments and details regarding deferment, forgiveness, consolidation and penalties. Right to standards terminology in financial aid forms Institutions are also required to utilize standard financial terminology and standard dissemination of financial aid information, forms, procedures, data security and searchable financial aid databases to ensure that students can easily understand their contractual rights and obligations. Forms must be clear, succinct, easily readable and disability accessible. Right to detailed third party federal student loan information The HOEA (2008) requires third party student loan lenders to disclose information concerning alternative federal loans, fixed and variable rates, limit adjustments, co-borrower requirements, maximum loans, rate, principle amount, interest accrual, total estimated repayment requirement, maximum monthly payment and deferral options. Right to financial aid awareness campaigns for underrepresented student in high education The HOEA (2008) requires institutions of higher education to engage in financial aid eligibility awareness campaigning to make students aware of student aid and the realities of accepting it. Right to information on use of student fees Van Stry v. State (1984) found institutions my not use student fees to support organizations outside the university. Teachers, likewise, have the right to refuse to pay union fees when they are allocated to objectionable political purposes. This implies that students have a right to know what activities they are being allocated towards. Right to the disclosure of athletics plans and expenditures The 2008 Higher Education Opportunity Act requires the disclosure of athletics information including male and female undergraduate enrollment, number of teams and team statistics including the number of players, team operating expenses, recruitment, coach salaries, aid to teams and athletes and team revenue (HEOA, 2008). This information is required to ensure equality standards are met. This ensures that institutions are abiding by Title IX of the 1972 Higher Education Act Amendments which limits sexual discrimination and requires institutions to offer equal sport, club and opportunities. There are many other implied information rights. If legislations states that students are entitled to certain information in pre-elegibility loan disclosures, this implies that they are also entitled to have a pre-elegibility loan disclosure. Right to information on the justification of policies Rosenberger v. Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia (1995) found student fees must be allocated in a viewpoint neutral way. They cannot be based on religious, political or personal views (Henderickson; Good v. Associated Students University of Washington) and they cannot be levied as a punishment. This suggests that students have a right to policy justification so that they know they are viewpoint neutral. Right to information regarding course objectives and content Students may expect protection from the misuse of time; teachers may not waste student’s time or use the class as a captive audience for views or lessons not related to the course. Riggin v. Bd. of Trustees of Ball St. Univ. found that instructors may not “wast[e] the time of the students who have come there and paid money for a different purpose.” This assumes that students are entitled to know course objectives and content. Right to a course syllabus Students may be graded fairly and in accordance with criteria set forth by the course syllabuses and may be protected from the addition of new grading criteria. Institutions have the responsibility of preserving quality in grade representations and comparability between classes and prevent grade inflation. This assumes that students have the right to a syllabus to ensure fair grading.