Annual Educational Effectiveness Report

Buckley Amendment Policy

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 is an amendment to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. This amendment, most often referred to as the “Buckley Amendment,” became law on November 19, 1974. Simply stated, the law provides college students with the right to seek access to their school records and the right to inspect the same institutional records.

In this regard, the law requires that students be informed of their rights within the stated provisions of the law. All STS students are to be informed that, in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, the following student rights will be adhered to on this campus:

  • The right of the student to “inspect and review” his or her institutional records.
  • The right of “an opportunity for a hearing to challenge the content of their school records.”
  • The right of privacy for student records.

It follows from this Amendment that a faculty member should not post grades by using students’ names, social security numbers, or any other symbols that could divulge the identity of the students. It also follows that faculty should not announce the names of students and the grades they made on tests in class or leave graded material in public areas (e.g., halls) for student pick-up.

A statement concerning student records, including procedures for inspecting, reviewing and amending records, is provided in the student handbook.

Clergy Act

The Clery Act, or, as it is formally known, The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, requires all colleges and universities that participate in federal financial aid programs to keep and disclose information about crime on and near their respective campuses. Compliance is monitored by the United States Department of Education, which can impose civil penalties, up to $27,500 per violation, against institutions for each infraction, and can suspend institutions from participating in federal student financial aid programs. The Clery Act is a federal statute codified at 20 U.S.C. § 1092(f), with implementing regulations in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations at 34 CFR 668.46. The law is named for Jeanne Clery, a 19-year-old Lehigh University freshman who was raped and murdered in her campus residence hall in 1986. The Clery Act, signed in 1990, was originally known as the Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act.


Information about campus security and emergency response at Shepherds can be found in the Security, Health, & Crisis Handbook. Click here to view our most recent campus security report.


Model Notification of Rights under FERPA for Postsecondary Institutions

(Taken from: https://studentprivacy.ed.gov/resources/ferpa-model-notification-postsecondary-officials)


The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords eligible students certain rights with respect to their education records.  (An “eligible student” under FERPA is a student who is 18 years of age or older, or who attends a postsecondary institution.)  These rights include:


  1. The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days after the day the [Name of postsecondary institution (“School”)] receives a request for access. A student should submit to the registrar, dean, head of the academic department, or other appropriate official, a written request that identifies the record(s) the student wishes to inspect. The school official 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 school official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
  2. The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA. A student who wishes to ask the school to amend a record should write the school official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record the student wants changed, and specify why it should be changed. If the school decides not to amend the record as requested, the school 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.
  3. The right to provide written consent before the university discloses personally identifiable information (PII) from the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without con­sent. The school 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 [School] in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position (including law en­forcement unit personnel and health staff); a person serving on the board of trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance com­mittee. A school official also may include a volunteer or contractor outside of the [School] who performs an institutional service of function for which the school would otherwise use its own employees and who is under the direct control of the school with respect to the use and maintenance of PII from education records, such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent or a student volunteering to assist 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 [School]. [Optional] Upon request, the school also discloses education records without consent to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll. [NOTE TO POSTSECONDARY INSTITUTION: FERPA requires a school to make a reasonable attempt to notify each student of these disclosures unless the school states in its annual notification that it intends to forward records on request.]
  4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the [School] to comply with the requirements of 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


[NOTE: In addition, a school may want to include its directory information public notice, as required by §99.37 of the regulations, with its annual notification of rights under FERPA.]


[Optional] See the list below of the disclosures that postsecondary institutions may make without consent.


FERPA permits the disclosure of PII from students’ education records, without consent of the student, if the disclosure meets certain conditions found in §99.31 of the FERPA regulations.  Except for disclosures to school officials, disclosures related to some judicial orders or lawfully issued subpoenas, disclosures of directory information, and disclosures to the student, §99.32 of FERPA regulations requires the institution to record the disclosure.  Eligible students have a right to inspect and review the record of disclosures.  A postsecondary institution may disclose PII from the education records without obtaining prior written consent of the student –


  • To other school officials, including teachers, within the [School] whom the school has determined to have legitimate educational interests. This includes contractors, consultants, volunteers, or other parties to whom the school has outsourced institutional services or functions, provided that the conditions listed in §99.31(a)(1)(i)(B)(1) – (a)(1)(i)(B)(2) are met. (§99.31(a)(1))
  • To officials of another school where the student seeks or intends to enroll, or where the student is already enrolled if the disclosure is for purposes related to the student’s enrollment or transfer, subject to the requirements of §99.34. (§99.31(a)(2))
  • To authorized representatives of the U. S. Comptroller General, the U. S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or State and local educational authorities, such as a State postsecondary authority that is responsible for supervising the university’s State-supported education programs. Disclosures under this provision may be made, subject to the requirements of §99.35, in connection with an audit or evaluation of Federal- or State-supported education programs, or for the enforcement of or compliance with Federal legal requirements that relate to those programs.  These entities may make further disclosures of PII to outside entities that are designated by them as their authorized representatives to conduct any audit, evaluation, or enforcement or compliance activity on their behalf.  (§§99.31(a)(3) and 99.35)
  • In connection with financial aid for which the student has applied or which the student has received, if the information is necessary to determine eligibility for the aid, determine the amount of the aid, determine the conditions of the aid, or enforce the terms and conditions of the aid. (§99.31(a)(4))
  • To organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, the school, in order to: (a) develop, validate, or administer predictive tests; (b) administer student aid programs; or (c) improve instruction.  (§99.31(a)(6))
  • To accrediting organizations to carry out their accrediting functions. ((§99.31(a)(7))
  • To parents of an eligible student if the student is a dependent for IRS tax purposes. (§99.31(a)(8))
  • To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena. (§99.31(a)(9))
  • To appropriate officials in connection with a health or safety emergency, subject to §99.36. (§99.31(a)(10))
  • Information the school has designated as “directory information” under §99.37. (§99.31(a)(11))
  • To a victim of an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense, subject to the requirements of §99.39. The disclosure may only include the final results of the disciplinary proceeding with respect to that alleged crime or offense, regardless of the finding.  (§99.31(a)(13))
  • To the general public, the final results of a disciplinary proceeding, subject to the requirements of §99.39, if the school determines the student is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense and the student has committed a violation of the school’s rules or policies with respect to the allegation made against him or her. (§99.31(a)(14))
  • To parents of a student regarding the student’s violation of any Federal, State, or local law, or of any rule or policy of the school, governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance if the school determines the student committed a disciplinary violation and the student is under the age of 21. (§99.31(a)(15))

Non-Discrimination Policies

Privacy Policy

This site may contain hypertext links to other World Wide Web sites which are completely independent of this site. STS makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy, completeness or authenticity of the information contained in any such hypertext link, and any hypertext link to another person or entity shall not in any manner be construed as endorsement by STS of such person’s or entity’s World Wide Web site, products or services. Your confidential use of this site cannot be guaranteed by STS. STS shall not be responsible for any harm that you or any person may suffer as a result of a breach of confidentiality in respect to your use of this site or any information you transmitted to this site.


There are instances where STS requests personally identifiable information such as name, mailing address, email address, type of request and possibly additional information to be collected and stored in a manner appropriate to the nature of the data by STS and is used to fulfill your request. STS makes every effort to insure the secure collection and transmission of sensitive user information using industry accepted data collection and encryption methodologies. The information you provide is used by STS only and will not be sold, exchanged or given to any other company for that company’s independent use.


The STS web site may transfer cookies to your hard drive for record-keeping purposes. The use of cookies is an industry standard and you will find them at most major web sites. Most browsers are initially set to accept cookies. If you’d prefer, you can set yours to refuse cookies or to alert you when cookies are being sent.

Severe Weather Policy

In case of severe weather, STS decides when classes are cancelled and communicates the decision through several means: a recorded phone message at (919) 573-5350; notices placed at Paul Jackson Library and all STS offices; a message on WRAL Channel 5 under Universities/ Colleges; and email/text notice to the affected students.

State Authorization/Student Complaints

State authorization is the legal directive that requires higher education institutions to be in compliance with the laws and regulations of each state where it conducts business. Each state has the authority to regulate educational activities that are delivered within and across its borders, including distance/online education. Compliance with individual state requirements is now part of the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, Amended 2010. The act states that institutions offering distance education courses or programs must provide current and prospective students with the contact information for filing complaints with the college, its accrediting agency, and with the state agencies that handle complaints in the students’ state of residence. There can be significant consequences to institutions that are not in compliance with state authorization regulations, so Shepherds Theological Seminary (STS) takes this requirement very seriously.


The National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) provides a regional approach to oversight of distance education and streamlines the process for institutions to become compliant in other states for distance education. Membership in NC-SARA is voluntary. NC-SARA ensures students are afforded various consumer protection benefits as well as access to quality programs by establishing a set of guidelines to which member institutions must adhere. You can read more about NC-SARA at https://www.nc-sara.org.


To verify that Shepherds Theological Seminary is authorized to offer Online Courses in your state, please visit the NC-SARA directory at https://nc-sara.org/directory.



We do not currently offer any programs that lead to licensure or certification, including any of our biblical counseling concentrations.






Students have an opportunity to present their complaints and to appeal faculty or administrative decisions through a dispute resolution or grievance procedure. STS will attempt to resolve promptly all grievances that are appropriate for handling under this policy.


All complaints will be in writing delivered to the Title IX coordinator (Pam Gerace, Title IX Coordinator: 6051 Tryon R., Cary, NC 27518; titleix@shepherds.edu; 919-573-5350) to act as a facilitator for the complaint process.




1. An appropriate grievance is defined as a student’s expressed feeling of dissatisfaction concerning any interpretation or application of a work/study-related policy by management, faculty or other employees.

2. Students must notify STS in a timely fashion of any grievance considered appropriate for handling under this policy. The grievance procedure is the exclusive remedy for students with appropriate grievances. As used in this policy, the terms “timely fashion,” “reasonable time” and “promptly” will mean seven days.

3. Students will not be penalized for proper use of the grievance procedure. However, it is not considered proper if a student abuses the procedure by raising grievances in bad faith or solely for the purposes of delay or harassment, or by repeatedly raising grievances that a reasonable person would judge to have no merit.

4. Students who feel they have an appropriate grievance should proceed as follows:

A. Promptly bring the grievance to the attention of a faculty member. If the grievance involves a faculty member, then it is permissible to proceed directly to Step B. The faculty member is to investigate the grievance, attempt to resolve it and give a decision to the student within a reasonable time. The faculty member should prepare a written and dated summary of the grievance and proposed resolution for file purposes.

B. The student may appeal the decision to the Academic Dean, if dissatisfied with the faculty decision, or initiate the procedure with the Academic Dean if the grievance involves a faculty member. If the grievance involves the Academic Dean, then it is permissible to proceed directly to Step C. An appeal or initial complaint must be made in a timely fashion in writing. The faculty member’s version of the grievance and decision will then be submitted, also in writing. The Academic Dean will, in a timely fashion, confer with the student, the faculty member and any other members of management considered appropriate; investigate the issues, and communicate a decision in writing to all the parties involved.

C. The student may appeal an unsatisfactory Academic Dean decision to the chairman of the Board of Directors, or initiate the procedure with the chairman if the grievance involves the Academic Dean. The timeliness requirement and procedures to be followed are similar to those in Step 2. The chairman will take the necessary steps to review and investigate the grievance and will then issue a written, final, and binding decision.

D. Final decision on grievances will not be precedent-setting or binding on future grievances unless they are officially stated as STS policy. When appropriate, the decision will be retroactive to the date of the student’s original grievance.

E. Information concerning a student’s grievance is to be held in strict confidence. The office of the Academic Dean will collect, file and report all student complaints. Faculty members, department heads and other members of management who investigate a grievance are to discuss it only with those individuals who have a need to know about it or who are needed to supply necessary background information.

Students who feel that the administration or faculty are not dealing properly with their complaint may contact the appropriate authorities listed below.



Out-of-state students who wish to file a complaint with their home state should refer to the State Authorization Liaisons Per State responsible for handling complaints.



If a complaint cannot be resolved through the institution’s complaint process, students may file a complaint with the North Carolina Post-Secondary Education Complaints unit. Please review the NC Post-Secondary Education Student Complaint Policy (https://www.northcarolina.edu/wp-content/uploads/reports-and-documents/academic-affairs/student_complaint_policy.pdf), print and complete the NC Post-Secondary Education Complaint Form (https://studentcomplaints.northcarolina.edu/form), and submit the complaint to:


North Carolina Post-Secondary Education Complaints
c/o Student Complaints
University of North Carolina System Office
223 S. West Street

Suite 1800
Raleigh, NC  27603


Phone: (919) 962-4550
Website: https://www.northcarolina.edu/post-secondary-education-complaints



Shepherds Theological Seminary is accredited by The Association for Theological Schools (ATS) to award Masters and Doctoral degrees. If a complaint directly related to specific compliance with the standards of accreditation is not satisfactorily resolved, students are able to file a complaint with ATS.


Students should follow the procedures in the ATS Policies and Procedures manual (pgs. 37-38). Per these procedures, an ATS Commission formal complaint form can be obtained from the Director of Commission Information Services (contact information below).


The Association of Theological Schools
10 Summit Park Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15275


Telephone: (412) 788-6505
Email: accrediting@ats.edu
Website: https://www.ats.edu



Students may also file a complaint through SARA-NC. SARA-NC is the portal for the North Carolina State.


SARA North Carolina
North Caroline State Education Assistance Authority
P.O. Box 41349
Raleigh, NC 27629


Telephone: (855) SARA-1-NC (727-2162)
Telephone: (919) 549-8614, ext. 4667
Email:  complaint@saranc.org
Website: https://www5.ncseaa.edu/SARANC/index.html


SARA-NC Complaint Process at https://www5.ncseaa.edu/SARANC/Complaint.html
SARA-NC Complaint Form at https://www5.ncseaa.edu/SARANC/docs/SARA-NC-ComplaintForm.pdf

Teach-Out Policy / Catastrophic Events Policy / Security, Health, & Crisis Handbook

Title IX Policy

In compliance with federal law, including the Provision of Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Shepherds Theological Seminary does not illegally discriminate against persons on the basis of race, religion, sex, color, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, or military service in the administration of educational policies, programs, or activities, its admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, or other seminary administered programs, or employment. The school maintains its Christ-centered, biblically-based Christian character, but does not discriminate on the basis of religion, except to the extent that applicable law respects its right to act in furtherance of its religious objective. Questions regarding STS’s non-discrimination policy and its compliance with Title IX regulations may be directed to Pam Gerace, Title IX Coordinator: 6051 Tryon Rd., Cary, NC 27518; titleix@shepherds.edu; 919-573-5350.


The full Title IX Policy can be found here.