Mission Statement
Confidentiality of Student Records: Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)


Georgia Southwestern State University is a senior unit of the University System of Georgia. The University was founded in 1906 as the Third District Agricultural and Mechanical School. In 1926, it was granted a charter authorizing the school to offer two years of college work and to change the name to Third District Agricultural and Normal College. The name was changed to Georgia Southwestern College in 1932, at which time it was placed under the jurisdiction of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. In 1964, the College became a senior unit of the University System, conferring its first baccalaureate degrees in June of 1968. Graduate work was added to the curriculum in June of 1973. In July 1996, the Board of Regents authorized state university status, and the institution became Georgia Southwestern State University.

Georgia Southwestern State University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097, telephone number 404-679-4501) to award associate, bachelor, master and specialist degrees.

The The School of Education is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (2010 Massachusetts Ave NW, Suite 500, Washington, D.C. 20036, telephone number 202-466-7496) and all teacher education programs are recognized and approved by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (http://www.gapsc.com).

The Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing is fully accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (61 Broadway 33rd Floor, New York, N.Y. 10006; 212-363-5555) and has the full approval of the Georgia Board of Nursing (237 Coliseum Drive, Macon, GA 31217-3858; 478-207-1300 or 1640).

The School of Business Administration is in its third year of Candidacy for accreditation by AACSB International - The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. AACSB International is located at 600 Emerson Road, Suite 300, St. Louis, MO. 63141-6762 USA, telephone number 314-872-8481, and fax number 314-872-8495.

The School of Business Administration has initial accreditation from the International Association of Collegiate Business Education, PO Box 25217, Overland Park, KS 66225, USA, telephone number 913-631-3009, fax number 913-613-9154. The School of Business Administration is also a member of the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). The Association is located at 7007 College Boulevard, Suite 420, Overland, KS 66211, USA, telephone number 913-339-9356, and fax number 913-339-6226.

The University is located on 250 acres of improved wooded land in the community of Americus, Georgia, 135 miles south of Atlanta. The attractive campus includes recreational areas, a spring-fed lake, and thirty-five buildings.

Mission Statement

Georgia Southwestern State University is a caring community of learning on a residential campus, offering students personalized and challenging experiences in preparation for successful careers, productive citizenship, and a satisfying quality of life. The respected faculty demonstrate intense dedication to teaching and offer outstanding professional programs of study as well as programs in the arts, humanities, and sciences. Learning is strengthened by an effective student-oriented staff committed to the optimal development of each student. The location, atmosphere, and relationships of the University create a stimulating environment for intellectual inquiry in pursuit of truth and knowledge.

Georgia Southwestern State University shares with the other state universities of the University System of Georgia the following core characteristics and purposes:

  •  a commitment to excellence and responsiveness within a scope of influence defined by the needs of an area of the state, and by particularly outstanding programs or distinctive characteristics that have a magnet effect throughout the region or state;
  •  a commitment to a teaching/learning environment, both within and beyond the classroom, that sustains instructional excellence, serves a diverse and college-prepared student body, promotes high levels of student achievement, offers academic assistance, and provides developmental studies programs for a limited cohort;
  •  a high quality general education program supporting a variety of disciplinary, interdisciplinary, and professional academic programming at the baccalaureate level, with selected master and educational specialist degrees, and selected associate degree programs based on area need and/or interinstitutional collaborations;
  •  a commitment to public service, continuing education, technical assistance, cultural offerings, and economic development activities that address the needs, improve the quality of life, and raise the educational level within the University's scope of influence.
  •  a commitment to scholarship and creative work to enhance instructional effectiveness and to encourage faculty scholarly pursuits and a commitment to applied research in selected areas of institutional strength and area need.

Georgia Southwestern State University endorses the following mission statement for the University System of Georgia and envisions its own mission within the context of the principles adopted by the Board of Regents.

The mission for the University System of Georgia is to contribute to the educational, cultural, economic, and social advancement of Georgia by providing excellent undergraduate general education and first-rate programs leading to associate, baccalaureate, master, professional, and doctorate degrees; by pursuing leading-edge basic and applied research, scholarly inquiry, and creative endeavors; and by bringing these intellectual resources to bear on the economic development of the State and the continuing education of its citizens.

Georgia Southwestern State University shares the following characteristics with other institutions in the University System of Georgia:

  •  a supportive campus climate, leadership and development opportunities, and necessary services, all to meet the needs of students, faculty and staff;
  •  cultural, ethnic, racial, and gender diversity in the faculty, staff, and student body, supported by practices and programs that embody the ideals of an open, democratic, and global society;
  •  technology to advance educational purposes, including instructional technology, student support services, and distance education; and
  •  a commitment to sharing physical, human, information, and other resources in collaboration with other System institutions, State agencies, local schools, and technical institutes to expand and enhance programs and services available to the citizens of Georgia.

The programs and educational opportunities at Georgia Southwestern State University are characterized by the following distinctive features.

As a residential, comprehensive university, Georgia Southwestern serves a diverse student body, primarily drawn from southwest Georgia, with programs leading to associate, bachelor, master, and education specialist degrees. A growing number of students from across the state as well as international and out-of-state students are also attracted by programs in a number of different areas. For example, international students are attracted to Georgia Southwestern State University's Asian Studies Center, which develops and delivers instructional programs in language and culture. In addition, mature learners are drawn from the region as well as across the nation to the Center for Elderhostel Studies, the second largest Elderhostel program in the U.S.

As a community of learning, Georgia Southwestern faculty and staff are dedicated to creating an environment which promotes the optimal development of all students. The educational experience at Georgia Southwestern is characterized by small class sizes, technology enhanced instruction, and opportunities to work with faculty on research and service projects. In addition, meaningful internships, work study appointments, and practicum experiences in a number of businesses and community agencies, including the international headquarters of Habitat For Humanity, are vital elements in creating this environment for learning.

Georgia Southwestern fulfills its commitment to research and public service through the individual efforts of an outstanding faculty and the focused activities of specific centers, which rely heavily on external funding. The Rosalynn Carter Institute serves as a regional and national focal point for research and public service in the area of caregiving. The Center For Business and Economic Development conducts research on regional economic issues and facilitates development activities in the region. The program in Third World Studies has served as the guiding force in the development of a professional association and journal contributing to Georgia Southwestern's international reputation. The Center for Community Based Theater, a unique, emerging partnership with the City of Americus, provides opportunities for students, faculty, and community members to explore topics and develop dramatic productions that are drawn from the culture of the community.

Georgia Southwestern State University aspires to become recognized nationally as a state university which is committed to learning and is responsive to the educational, social, and cultural needs of the region.

Confidentiality of Student Records: Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

1. Georgia Southwestern State University is covered by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), as amended, which is designed to protect students' rights in regard to education records maintained by the institution. Under the Act, students have the following rights:

a. the right to inspect and review education records maintained by the institution that pertain to you;
b. the right to challenge the content of records (except grades which can only be challenged through the Grade Appeal Process) on the grounds that they are inaccurate, misleading or a violation of your privacy or other rights; and
c. the right to control disclosures from your education records with certain exceptions.

2. Any student who is or has been in attendance at Georgia Southwestern State University has the right to inspect and review his or her educational records within a reasonable period of time (not to exceed 45 days) after making a written request. However, the student shall not have access to:

a. Financial records of parents.
b. Confidential letters of recommendation placed in record prior to January 1, 1975.
c. Letters of recommendation concerning admission, application for employment or honors for which the student has voluntarily signed a waiver.

3. Directory information will be treated as public information and be generally available on all students and former students, at the discretion of the university. Directory information includes the student's name; telephone number; major field of study; dates of attendance; degrees, honors and awards received; level, and full or part time status. Participation in officially recognized sports; height, weight, age, home-town and general interest items of members of athletic teams is also included in Directory Information.

4. Requests for Education Records should be made in writing to the Registrar, Georgia Southwestern State University. "Education Records" means generally any record maintained by or for Georgia Southwestern State University and containing information directly related to the students' academic activities.

5. Students who challenge the correctness of student educational records shall file a written request for amendment with the Registrar. The student shall also present to the Registrar copies of all available evidence relating to the data or material being challenged. The Registrar shall forward the information to the custodian of the record who will consider the request and shall notify the student in writing within 15 business days whether the request will be granted or denied. During that time, any challenge may be settled informally between the student, or the parents of a dependent student and the custodian of the records, in consultation with other appropriate University officials. If an agreement is reached it shall be in writing and signed by all parties involved. A copy of such agreement will be maintained in the student's record. If an agreement is not reached informally or, if the request for amendment is denied, the student shall have the right to challenge through the Grievance Procedure outlined in the Student Handbook.

6. Release of protected information in the student's educational record without consent will be allowed to:

a. Institutional personnel who have a legitimate educational interest.
b. Officials of other schools where the student seeks to enroll. Efforts will be made to notify the student of the release of such information.
c. Representatives of Federal agencies authorized by law to have access to education records, and state education authorities.
d. Appropriate persons in connection with a student's application for or receipt of financial aid.
e. State and local officials to whom information must be released pursuant to a state statue adopted prior to November 19, 1974.
f. Organizations conducting studies for the institution.
g. Accrediting organizations.
h. Parents of a dependent student, as determined by the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, as amended.
i. Persons necessary in emergency situations to protect health and safety.
j. Persons designated in subpoenas or court orders.

7. If a request for Education Records is not covered by the Annual Disclosure Statement provided by the Registrar, the written request for release of information should be submitted to the Registrar and contain the following information:

a. Specific records to be released.
b. Reasons for such release.
c. To whom records are to be released.
d. Date.
e. Signature of the student.

8. Records will be released in compliance with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena. However, reasonable efforts will be made to notify the student in advance of compliance.

9. Students have the right to obtain copies of official transcripts provided all financial obligations to the University have been met. Students will be charged at the prevailing rate for each certified transcript obtained. Copies of other information in the student's education record will be provided at a cost of $0.25 per page of copy.

10. Students who feel that their rights have been violated under the provisions of the Family Educational and Privacy Act should write to the following office: Department of Education, 330 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20201.

11. Georgia has an Open Records Act. All records kept by Georgia Southwestern State University, except those protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, are subject to public open records requests. Requests for public open records should be submitted in writing to the Director of Human Resources, Georgia Southwestern State University.