Use and Release of Student Information
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) was designed to protect the privacy of educational records and to establish the rights of students to inspect and review their educational records. It also provides control over the release of educational record information. The original intent of this legislation was to keep elementary and high school records private and to give parents access to their child's school records.
After a student turns eighteen or attends an institution of higher education (a college or university), the rights of access to the student's records transfer to the student. This means that all academic information regarding a college student goes directly to the student unless the student has given specific, written permission to release that information to someone else.
Though parents understandably have an interest in their child's academic progress, they are not automatically granted access to a student's records without the written consent of the student. Parents are encouraged to consult with the student if academic information is needed.
A student can give permission for a third party to access their records by filing a Student Consent for Release of Records Form with the Admissions and Records office.
The security of student information is very important to us, which is why we will not discuss student records over the phone. This includes resetting a student's password. If you do not remember your password reset questions, then you must come to the campus or one of the outreach centers in person with photo identification.
To obtain a copy of your records – including your current enrollment – you can log in to eServices or come to campus in person with photo identification. You can order your official transcripts online.
Student Rights Under FERPA
Students have the right to:
- Inspect and review their own education records within a reasonable time after the college receives a request for access. If a student wants to review their record, then they should contact the Vice President of Student Services for a petition. Education records include any item of information directly related to an identifiable student maintained by the district or college or required to be maintained by an employee in the performance of the employee's duties, whether that information is recorded by handwriting, print, tapes, files, microfilm, electronically, or by other means. Education records do not include: directory information, information provided by a student's parent related to financial aid or scholarships, information prepared by and that remains in the sole possession of the person who created it, certain medical records, and decisions reached as a result of disciplinary hearings. Education records are maintained by the offices that generate or receive those records and the manager of those offices is responsible for the maintenance of those records. The Admissions and Records Office at each college maintains a log of those persons who have been given access to education records as required by FERPA.
- Request an amendment of their education record if a student believes it is inaccurate or misleading. If a student feels there is an error in their record, then the student should submit a statement to the college official responsible for the record, clearly identifying the part of the record they want to be changed and why they believe it is inaccurate or misleading. That office will notify the student of their decision and advise of any appropriate appeal rights.
- Consent to disclosure of personally identifiable information contained in the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. There are several exceptions that permit disclosure without consent, including but not limited to:
- Disclosure to school officials with "legitimate educational interests." School officials are employees of the district and its colleges, agents with which the district or college has contracted to provide services, the board of trustees, or students serving on a committee or assisting another school official in the performance of their tasks. A legitimate educational interest exists when the school official has a need to know the information in connection with their official duties.
- "Directory information," which includes a student's name, identification number, major field of study, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, and most recent previous public or private school attended by the student. A student has the right to withhold the release of directory information. To do so, the student must complete a form, which is available in the Admissions and Records Office. However, placing a "No Release" on a student's records means that no one including friends, parents, prospective employers, honor societies, or any other group or individual will be able to obtain this information.
- Disclosures to officials of another school, school system, or institution of postsecondary education where the student seeks or intends to enroll, or where the student is already enrolled, so long as the disclosure is for the purpose related to the student's enrollment or transfer.
- File a complaint with the US Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the district or college to comply with the requirements of FERPA. Further information about FERPA and student records can be found in the District Policy P-2265: Access to Student Records and Regulation R-2265: Access to Student Records or at the college office of the Vice President of Student Services.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (also sometimes referred to as the Buckley Amendment), is a federal law regarding the privacy of student education records and the obligations of the institution, primarily in the areas of release of the records and the access provided to these records.
Because FERPA legislation prevents parents from finding out student grades and academic standing directly from the school, the best way to find out how your student is doing is to ask him/her. The sharing of student academic information with parents becomes a family issue rather than an institutional one. It is a decision that families should discuss and make together. Perhaps one of the benefits of the FERPA rule is that it provides an additional opportunity for parents to communicate with their college student about their expectations and the student's responsibilities. Rather than seeing this legislation as a barrier to good college parenting, parents might see this as an important opportunity for meaningful dialogue with the student. Any educational institution that receives funds under any program administered by the U.S. Secretary of Education is bound by FERPA regulations.
FERPA requires that access to a college student's records must be granted by approval of the student.
As a matter of policy, the college does not release private information over the phone or by email.
The college doesn't automatically send information to third parties designated by the student. The Student Consent form is currently used for one-time only requests and does not carry forward into the future.
In most cases, the college will not contact you or provide medical, academic, or disciplinary information without your child's permission. As a general guideline, if your child is able to communicate about the situation, it is up to him/her to decide whether and how to discuss the issues. If non-directory information is needed to resolve a crisis or emergency situation, an education institution may release that information if the institutions determines that the information is "necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals".
The U.S. Department of Education is responsible for overseeing FERPA. See the Department's website for additional information.