Rights and Regulations
Harvard Extension School complies with the following federal and state guidelines, outlined below.
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
Division of Continuing Education policy and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended (FERPA), provide students and former students certain protections and rights concerning the confidentiality of their educational records maintained by the Division of Continuing Education.
The Extension School routinely maintains records for its students that describe and document their work and progress. These education records generally include information such as permanent and local addresses, admissions records, enrollment status, course grades, reports and evaluations, completion of requirements and progress toward the degree, records of disciplinary actions, letters of recommendations, and other correspondence with or concerning the student.
Under FERPA, certain student information designated as directory information may be disclosed without the student’s consent. The Extension School defines the following student information as directory information for all students: name; date of birth; dates of enrollment; e-mail address; and enrollment status. The following information also is considered directory information for degree and premedical program candidates: program; area of concentration; field of study; Harvard University ID image; academic honors; prior degrees and schools attended; and expected or actual date of graduation.
Please note that Harvard University’s definition of directory information may include elements in addition to those used by the Extension School, and that requests for directory information received at the University level thus may result in disclosure of such additional elements.
Students have the right to withhold the disclosure of their directory information; to do so, a student must submit the Request for FERPA Block to Prevent Disclosure of Directory Information to Academic Services. Download the Harvard University FERPA Block Information form. Students should carefully consider this decision because once they choose to withhold directory information it will not be released to anyone, including prospective employers seeking confirmation of enrollment.
Disclosures Permitted Under FERPA
In addition to permitting the disclosure of directory information as set forth above, FERPA permits disclosure of educational records without a student’s knowledge or consent under certain circumstances.
For example, disclosure is permitted to Harvard officials with a legitimate educational interest in the records, meaning that the person needs the information to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities, including instructional, supervisory, advisory, administrative, academic or research, staff support or other duties.
Harvard officials include faculty; administrators; clerical employees; professional employees; Harvard University Health Services staff members; Harvard University Police Department officers; and agents of the University such as independent contractors performing functions on behalf of the Extension School, the Division of Continuing Education or the University; members of Harvard’s governing boards; and students serving on an official Extension School, or University committee, or assisting another Harvard official in performing his or her tasks.
A student’s education record also may be shared with parties outside the University under certain conditions, including, for example, in situations involving the health and safety of the student. In addition, the Extension School will forward a student’s education records to other agencies or institutions that have requested the records and in which the student seeks or intends to enroll or is already enrolled, so long as the disclosure is for purposes related to the student's enrollment or transfer.
If the Extension School finds that a student has committed a disciplinary violation involving a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense, the Extension School also may, if legally permitted and in the Extension School’s judgment appropriate, disclose certain information about the disciplinary case. The disclosure may include the student’s name, the violation committed, and the sanction imposed.
To be useful, students’ records must be accurate and complete. The officials who maintain them are those in charge of the functions reflected in the records and the offices where the records are kept. These ordinarily include the Registrar of the Extension School, as well as Academic Services, Student Financial Services, the Dean of Students Office, and program offices.
All students have access to their own education records and may contribute to them if they feel there is need for clarification. Students wishing access to their education records should contact Academic Services. Ordinarily, students are asked to submit a written request that identifies the specific record or records he/she wishes to inspect.
Access will be given within 45 days from the receipt of the request. When a record contains information about more than one student, the student requesting access may inspect and review only the portion of the record relating to him or her. Students also are not permitted to view letters and statements of recommendation to which they waived their right of access, or that were placed in their file before January 1, 1975.
Students should direct any questions they have about the accuracy of records to Academic Services. Should it be necessary, a hearing may be held to resolve challenges concerning the accuracy of records in those cases where informal discussions have not satisfactorily settled the questions raised.
Student Rights Under FERPA
As set forth above, under both Harvard policy and FERPA, students and former students may inspect and review certain of their education records that are maintained by Harvard. They also have the right to exercise limited control over other people’s access to their education records; seek to correct their education records if they believe them to be inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of their FERPA rights; file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education if they believe Harvard has not complied with the requirements of FERPA; and be fully informed of their rights under FERPA.
Complaints regarding alleged violations of a student’s rights under FERPA may be submitted in writing within 180 days to the Family Compliance Office, US Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20202-5920.
FERPA and Online Courses
If you are enrolled in online courses, you are protected by FERPA in the same way that on-campus students are. Under FERPA, you are permitted to see your classmates’ names and images and hear their comments and discussion, just as students in courses on campus can know their classmates’ names, see their faces, and hear their discussion.
Video lectures for an online course are password-protected and available only to students enrolled in the course.
Massachusetts and Harvard University Immunization Regulations
If you enroll full time (16 credits) or are an international student attending Extension School classes on campus in the US while on a visa of any kind (including students who use the visa waiver program for noncredit enrollment), you must comply with Massachusetts and Harvard University immunization regulations requiring proof of immunization against certain communicable diseases. You must have the Extension School immunization form completed and signed by your healthcare provider or medical records official. These requirements do not apply to students registered only in the January session or only in online courses.
Submit your completed form to the Office of Enrollment Management by Friday, August 30 for fall, and Friday, January 24 for spring, keeping a copy for your records. If you do not provide medical documentation as proof of required immunizations, you may be administratively withdrawn from the Extension School.
The following are immunizations that must be certified on the Extension School immunization form:
- Measles vaccinations (two immunizations on or after the first birthday, at least one month* apart, in 1967 or later);
- Rubella vaccinations (two immunizations on or after the first birthday, at least one month* apart, in 1967 or later);
- Mumps vaccinations (two immunizations on or after the first birthday, at least one month* apart, in 1967 or later);
- A history of varicella (chickenpox) disease certified by physician or varicella vaccinations (two immunizations at least one month* apart)
- Tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis vaccination (one dose of Tdap, after January 1, 2010; only acceptable vaccines are Adacel, Boostrix, or adult acellular pertussis booster)
- Hepatitis B immunization series (three doses: the first and second must be at least one month* apart, the third at least two months* after the second and four months* after the first);
- Meningococcal vaccination (one dose within the past five years).
*One month is equal to 28 days
Documentation of a blood test proving immunity to measles, rubella, mumps, hepatitis B, and/or varicella (chickenpox) is acceptable in lieu of immunizations. If you do not need to be immunized against hepatitis B because you have had the disease or have a chronic carrier form of it, you must provide documentation of appropriate laboratory tests or a letter from your physician. If you were born in the United States before 1980, you may waive the requirement for proof of immunity to varicella (chickenpox). If you are not living on campus, you may waive the meningococcal vaccine by signing and submitting the Massachusetts waiver form.
For more information about the meningococcal disease, please read the Massachusetts Department of Health public health fact sheet.
The only circumstances that may exempt you from these regulations are as follows: providing written certification from your physician that your health would be endangered by one or more of the immunizations (in which case, you will be required to submit laboratory evidence of immunity to measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella (chickenpox) as an alternative to proof of immunization) or providing a signed statement that the required immunizations conflict with your religious beliefs (in this case, it is recommended that you present evidence of immunity as described above). In either case, if there is an outbreak on campus of any of the diseases specified on the current Extension School immunization form for which you have not submitted acceptable documentation, you will be administratively withdrawn from classes.
US Economic Sanctions on Embargoed Countries
If you are generally resident in the Crimean region of Ukraine, please contact the Registrar (firstname.lastname@example.org) about enrolling in online courses.
As required under federal law, the Extension School immediately refers any missing persons report involving a student to the Harvard University Police Department (HUPD). If HUPD determines that the student has been missing for more than 24 hours, then within the 24 hours following this determination, the Extension School—working with HUPD as necessary—will 1) attempt to contact the student using any confidential contact information that the student may have provided to the Extension School; 2) notify an appropriate external law enforcement agency; 3) contact any person the student has identified to the registrar as an emergency contact; 4) notify others at the university, as appropriate, about the student’s disappearance.
Students are encouraged to provide the registrar with their emergency contact information or confidential personal contact information if they have not already done so.
Drug-Free Schools and Campuses Act
The Drug-Free Schools and Campuses Act of 1989 prohibits the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of drugs and alcohol by students and employees on University property or as part of any University-sponsored activity. Information is available about the University’s standards of conduct regarding alcohol and drugs; applicable legal sanctions under public laws; health risks associated with the illicit use of drugs and the abuse of alcohol; drug and alcohol counseling and treatment resources on campus; and the disciplinary sanctions that may be imposed in instances of misconduct involving alcohol and drugs. See the alcohol and drug policy on the Harvard University Police Department website.
Student Right to Know and Campus Security Act
In compliance with this act, the Harvard security guide, Playing It Safe, is available online at the Harvard University Police Department website. The guide, published by the Harvard University Police, describes Harvard’s security policies, provides statistical information on the occurrence of crime on campus, and outlines some of the counseling programs the University provides.
Commonwealth of Massachusetts Voter Registration Law
The Higher Education Act Amendments of 1998 requires universities to make a good faith effort to make voter registration forms available to you.
You may request a Massachusetts voter registration form at the website established by the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
You may request a Federal Voter Registration Form from the Election Assistance Commission website.
Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998
Harvard University is committed to maintaining the integrity and availability of the Harvard network for the vital educational and research purposes for which it was designed and prohibits the use of its network to violate the law, including the US Copyright Act. The unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, violates the Copyright Act and may subject you to civil and criminal liabilities.
Students should not use peer-to-peer file-sharing programs to share copyrighted works without permission. Students may subject themselves to significant costs and possible criminal penalties if they share copyrighted material without permission. Harvard University may terminate network access and refer students for disciplinary action who are associated with repeated infringements.
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 details, see Title 17, United States Code, Sections 504, 505. Willful copyright infringement can also result in criminal penalties, including imprisonment of up to 10 years and a fine of $250,000 for an individual. For more information, please see the website of the US Copyright Office, especially the FAQs.
Harvard complies fully with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Users of the Harvard network found to have engaged in repeated infringement of copyright are subject to termination of their network access and may be reported to the appropriate Dean or Human Resources officer for disciplinary action. For more information on Harvard’s policy, process and peer-to-peer file-sharing see http://www.dmca.harvard.edu and http://www.dmca.harvard.edu/faq.
A paper copy of this notice is available upon request by contacting email@example.com.
Massachusetts law prohibits any form of hazing in connection with initiation into a student organization. The law applies both to officially recognized and unrecognized groups, and to practices conducted on and off campus. The term hazing, as used in this law, is defined as “any conduct or method of initiation… which willfully or recklessly endangers the physical or mental health of any student or other person” (Massachusetts General Laws, c. 269, sec. 17). Hazing is a crime punishable by fine or imprisonment. The Administrative Board considers all reports of hazing in the normal course of its oversight, taking disciplinary action in appropriate cases and reporting confirmed incidents to appropriate law enforcement officials. In addition, failure to report hazing is illegal (Massachusetts General Laws, c. 269, sec. 18). Download a full copy of the Massachusetts laws relating to hazing, or obtain one in the Office of the Dean of Students, 51 Brattle Street, (617) 495-1765.
Student Absence Due to Religious Belief
Massachusetts law includes the following fair educational practices regarding student absence from a class or examination. Any student in an educational or vocational training institution, other than a religious or denominational educational or vocational training institution, who is unable, because of his religious beliefs, to attend classes or to participate in any examination, study, or work requirement on a particular day shall be excused from any such examination or study or work requirement, and shall be provided with an opportunity to make up such examination, study, or work requirement which he may have missed because of such absence on a particular day; provided, however, that such makeup examination or work shall not create an unreasonable burden upon such school. No fees of any kind shall be charged by the institution for making available to the said student such opportunity. No adverse or prejudicial effects shall result to any student because of his availing himself of the provisions of this section. (Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 151C: Section 2B).
The Extension School will make every attempt to accommodate religious conflicts with advance notice of at least two weeks. However, there are situations where an accommodation cannot be made because to do so would change the fundamental nature of the course. This is the case in an online course with a mandatory weekend on campus and active weekend courses. Active and engaged learning on campus with fellow classmates and teaching staff is integral to the pedagogy of these courses as well as the on-campus degree requirement that these courses fulfill. Alternate accommodations cannot be made for these courses. Students are required to attend, in person, the entire week-end to earn credit for the course.
Students with a religious conflict should contact Academic Services for assistance, 617-495-0977. Learn more about scheduling a make-up exam due to a religious conflict.
In accordance with Harvard University policy, Harvard Extension School does not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, age, national or ethnic origin, political beliefs, veteran status, or disability unrelated to job or course of study requirements in admission to, access to, treatment in, or employment in its programs and activities.
Address inquiries regarding nondiscrimination policies to Robert Neugeboren, Dean of Students, 51 Brattle Street, Cambridge, MA 02138-3722, (617) 495-1765.
In addition, inquiries regarding the application of nondiscrimination policies may be referred to the Office for Civil Rights, US Department of Education, 33 Arch Street, Suite 900, Boston, MA 02110-1491, (617) 289-0111, fax (617) 289-0150, TDD (877) 521-2172, OCR.Boston@ed.gov.
Per the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 effective July 1, 2010, Federal law requires Harvard University to disclose certain information about textbooks that instructors assign for courses at the Harvard Extension School. The Harvard Coop has agreed to provide this information centrally for all Harvard University schools via the Harvard University Course Catalog website. Students may access textbook information for Extension School courses by searching for Extension courses at this website on the Harvard Coop website.