Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
Guidelines for the Release of Student Information under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA)
FERPA deals specifically with the education records of students, affording them certain rights with respect to those records. For purposes of definition, education records are those records which are:
- Directly related to a student and
- Maintained by an institution or a party acting for the institution.
FERPA gives students who reach the age of 18 or who attend a post secondary institution the right to inspect and review their own education records. Furthermore, students have other rights, including the right to request amendment of records and to have some control over the disclosure of personally identifiable information from these records.
FERPA applies to the education records of persons who are or have been in attendance in post secondary institutions, including students in cooperative and correspondence study programs. FERPA does not apply to records of applicants for admission who are denied acceptance or, if accepted, do not attend an institution. Furthermore, rights are not given by FERPA to students enrolled in one component of an institution who seek to be admitted in another component of an institution.
- Students and former students have rights to inspect and review their education records.
- Students must be able to inspect and review their education records within a maximum of 45 days after they request to do so. The right of inspection and review includes:
- The right to an explanation and interpretation of the record.
- The right to a copy of the education records when failure to provide a copy of the record would effectively prevent the student from inspecting and reviewing the record.
- Some limitations exist on students' right to inspect and review their education records, including:
- Financial information submitted by parents.
- Confidential letters and recommendations placed in their files prior to January 1, 1975.
- Confidential letters and recommendations placed in their files after January 1, 1975, to which the student has waived his or her right to inspect and review and that are related to the students' admission, application for employment or job placement, or receipt of honors.
- Education records containing information about more than one student.
Those records directly related to a student and maintained by the institution or by a party acting for the institution are considered education records. The term "education records" does not include the following:
- Records of instructional, supervisory, administrative, and certain educational personnel which are in the sole possession of the maker thereof, and are not accessible or revealed to any other individual except a substitute who performs on a temporary basis (as defined in the institutional personnel policy) the duties of the individual who made the records.
- Records maintained by a law enforcement unit of the educational agency or institution that were created by that law enforcement unit for the purpose of law enforcement.
- Records relating to individuals who are employed by the institution, which are made and maintained in the normal course of business, relate exclusively to individuals in their capacity as employees, and are not available for use for any other purpose.
- Records created or received after an individual is no longer a student: ex-alumni records or activities.
- Records relating to a student which are:
- Created or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional, acting in his/her professional capacity or assisting in a paraprofessional capacity.
- Used solely in connection with the provision of treatment to the student.
- Not disclosed to anyone other than individuals providing such treatment.
It means the demonstrated need to know by those officials of an institution who act in the student's educational interest, including faculty, administration, student employees, clerical and professional employees, and other persons who manage student records information. Any school official who needs information about a student in the course of performing instructional, supervisory, advisory, or administrative duties for Rogue Community College has a legitimate educational interest.
Provisions of FERPA allow the institution to define directory information, that is, information which is public. Rogue Community College determined that the following student information is directory information: names; mailing addresses; telephone numbers; e-mail address, academic credit information, photograph, student user ID; dates of attendance; registration status; major field of study; awards, honors, degree(s) conferred and dates received; past and present participation in officially recognized sports and activities; previous educational institutions attended.
Although directory information is considered public, Rogue Community College does not release directory information for the purpose of soliciting students. See the Exceptions to Student Consent below.
Enrolled students may withhold disclosure of directory information under FERPA. This is called directory exemption. Upon designating this status on their academic records, no information can be released to the general public, including phone requests from financial lenders, employers or insurance companies for verification of terms of enrollment, verification of their presence on campus, nor any address or telephone information. Directory exemption will prevent the release of directory information.
NOTE: Under the Solomon Amendment of 1997, military recruiters are guaranteed access to directory information for all students except those with privacy designated on their records.
For anyone calling for a student who has a privacy notation noted on the record, the following statement should be spoken:
"I have no information on this individual."
A directory exemption does not prevent a school from identifying a student by name or from disclosing an electronic identifier or institutional e-mail address in the classroom. Directory exemption does not prevent Rogue Community College from requiring students to wear or present a student body card.
- FERPA allows the institution the right to disclose student records or identifiable information without the student's consent under the following circumstances:
- To authorized representatives for audit of Federal or State supported programs.
- To college employees who are in the process of carrying out their specifically assigned educational or administrative responsibilities acting in the student's educational interest.
- Veteran's Administration officials
- Officials of other institutions in which a student seeks or intends to enroll on the condition that the issuing institution makes a reasonable attempt to inform the student of the disclosure unless the student initiates the transfer.
- Persons or organizations providing financial aid to students.
- Organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, educational agencies or institutions to develop, validate, and administer predictive tests, to administer student aid programs or to improve instruction, provided that individual identity of students is not made.
- Accrediting organizations carrying out their accrediting functions.
- Parents of a student who have established that student's status as a dependent according to Internal Revenue Code of 1954, Section 152.
- Persons in compliance with a judicial order or a lawfully issued subpoena, provided that the institution makes a reasonable attempt to notify the student in advance of compliance. NOTE: The institution is not required to notify the student if a federal grand jury subpoena, or any other subpoena issued for a law enforcement purpose, orders the institution not to disclose the existence or contents of the subpoena.
- Persons in an emergency, if the knowledge of information, in fact, is necessary to protect the health or safety of students or other persons.
- An alleged victim of any crime of violence of the results of any institutional disciplinary proceeding against the alleged perpetrator. The information may only be given in respect to the crime committed.
- Schools may disclose personally identifiable information from education records to an outside contractor or volunteer without prior written student consent if the outside contractor or volunteer is a "party acting for" the institution and is performing a service which the institution would otherwise have to perform for itself (as in the case of the National Student Loan Clearinghouse for loan verification or Credentials, Inc.).
- As a service to students, Rogue Central Services will forward written messages to a student's current home address. This service does not include notices or information to groups of students.
Provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended by the Higher Education Amendments of 1998, govern access to a student's disciplinary file. The student and/or those college officials who demonstrate a legitimate educational need for disciplinary information may have access to the student's disciplinary file. Parent(s), who provide proof that a student is a dependent as defined in Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, i.e. a copy of the last federal income tax return listing the student as a dependent, can have access to the student's disciplinary file without written consent of the student. In this case, parents may also have access to a disciplinary file, even if the student has requested otherwise.
In addition, parent(s) may be notified if a student under 21 years of age is found responsible for a violation involving use or possession of alcohol and drugs.
The Campus Security Act permits higher education institutions to disclose to alleged victims of any crime of violence (murder, robbery, aggravated assault, rape, burglary, motor vehicle theft) the results of the conduct proceedings conducted by the institution against an alleged perpetrator with respect to such crime. The Campus Security Act also requires that both accused and the accuser be informed of campus conduct proceedings involving a sexual assault.
Additionally, the Higher Education Amendments of 1998 permit disclosure of the final results of disciplinary cases in which a student has been found responsible for a violation involving violence or for a sex offense.
Institutions must provide students with an opportunity to challenge and amend the contents of their education records which the students consider to be inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of their privacy or other rights. Officials who receive challenge requests must decide within a reasonable period of time whether corrective action consistent with the student's request will be taken. The student must be notified of the decision. If the decision is in agreement with the student's request, the appropriate record(s) must be amended. A student who is not provided full relief sought by his/her challenge must be informed by the appropriate official, in writing, of the decision and his/her right to a formal hearing on the matter.
At the post secondary level, parents have no inherent rights to inspect a student's education records. The right to inspect is limited solely to the student. Records may be released to the parents only under the following circumstances:
- Through the written consent of the student,
- In compliance with a subpoena,
- By submission of evidence that the parents declare the student as a dependent on their most recent Federal Income Tax form (IRS Code of 1954, Section 152). In the case of a dependent student, information may be exchanged without the written consent of the student for the sole purpose of completing a student's financial aid application or the payment of tuition and fees.
The public posting of grades either by name or social security number is a violation of FERPA, whether done via paper source or online. Instructors who post grades should use a system that ensures FERPA requirements are met. This can be done using code words, randomly assigned numbers, or RCC's ID roster. The ID roster for each class section uses only the last four digits of a student's RCC ID (not SSN) and lists the students randomly, not in the order of alphabetized last names.
Students who have ceased attendance or have graduated from an institution of higher education have basically the same FERPA rights as students currently attending the Rogue Community College, including the right to:
- Inspect their education records
- Have a hearing to amend an education record, and
- Have their education privacy protected by the institution.
Once students leave the college they do not have the right to request a privacy code (non-disclosure) be placed on their records.
FERPA's prohibition on disclosure of personally identifiable information from an education record of a student applies to any kind of non directory information (e.g., performance in class, grades, attitude, motivation, abilities, background) conveyed in writing, in person, or over the telephone to third parties.
Recommendation information is usually conveyed by faculty members at the informal request of the student and is usually positive. To meet FERPA requirements, the better practice is for the faculty member to receive a completed Letter of Recommendation Request from the student before providing the information. Rogue Central will archive the completed request for the faculty member.
The College may release a student’s academic records to their parents, a prospective employer, insurance companies, etc., only after receiving a completed FERPA Student Information Release. In compliance with FERPA, this form includes the following information:
- It must specify the records to be released (transcripts, etc.), and
- state the purpose of the disclosure, and
- identify the party or class of parties to whom disclosure may be made, and
- be signed and dated by the student
Information about individuals should be retained only so long as it is valid and useful. Those responsible for academic information have an obligation to destroy information when conditions under which it was collected no longer prevail. Any document containing personally identifiable information must be disposed of properly through some means of confidential disposal. If you need information on confidential disposal, you can call Enrollment Services at 956-7176.
These are interpretive guidelines only. For further detail or specific questions, please call Enrollment Services 956-7176.