3.23 Student Records - The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
The Family Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law designed to protect the privacy of student’s educational records. The law applies to all schools/colleges, which receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education. FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children’s educational records. These rights transfer to the student, or former student who has reached the age of 18 or is attending any school beyond the high school level. Students and former students to whom the rights have been transferred are called eligible students.
Northeastern Junior College maintains individual records and information about students for the purpose of providing educational, vocational and personal services. Northeastern Junior College complies fully with the law to control release of and access to the aforementioned records.
All students have the right to access their college records. Only approved personnel have the right to access student information without prior consent by the student. Appropriate college personnel based on educational need can use student records. Student records are privileged, private information and should be treated as such.
The Rights of Eligible Students
Eligible students have the right to inspect and review all of the student’s education records maintained by the school/college. School/colleges are not required to provide copies of materials in education records unless, for reasons as great distance, it is impossible for eligible students to inspect the records. The college may charge a fee for copies.
Eligible students have the right to request that college correct records believed to be inaccurate or misleading. If the college decides not to amend the record, the eligible student then has the right to a formal hearing. After the hearing, if the college still decides not to amend the record, the eligible student has a right to place a statement with the record commenting on the contested information in the record.
Generally, colleges must have written permission from the eligible student before releasing any information from a student’s record. However, the law allows colleges to disclose records without consent, to the following parties.
- School employees who have a need to know.
- Other schools to which a student is transferring.
- Certain government officials in order to carry out lawful functions.
- Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student.
- Organizations conducting certain studies for the college.
- Accrediting organizations.
- Individuals who have obtained court orders or subpoenas.
- Persons who need to know in cases of health and emergency; and State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to State law.
Prior Consent Needed
The eligible student must provide a signed and dated written consent before the institution may disclose personally identifiable information, other than directory information, from the student’s education records.
The written consent must:
Specify the records that may be disclosed; state the purpose of the disclosure; and identify the party or class of parties to whom the disclosure may be made.
All requests, other than the above must have prior consent. Directory information unless personally restricted by the student is not restricted.
The following items will be designated as “directory information”. Colleges may disclose any of this information without prior written consent, unless notified by the student in writing to the contrary by the first official class meeting date of each semester.
- student name
- major field of study
- participation in officially recognized activities and sports
- dates of attendance
- degrees and awards received
- most recent educational institution attended
- college issued student email account
- birth year (birth day and month cannot be disclosed)
Disclosure of Directory Information: A student can prevent disclosure of directory information by filing a “Request to Prevent Disclosure of Directory Information” in the college records office.
Request to Release Student Information
All student information requests, other than the unrestricted information, will be denied unless the eligible student can sign a release of specific requested information or they can sign a release for all restricted information to a specific person. Student Information Release forms are available in the Student Services Office, Hays 132 or in the Admissions & Records Office, Hays 137. A release of information has a time limit unless otherwise specified, usually one year.
Parental or Guardian Disclosure
The eligible student may provide a signed and dated written consent for disclosure of personally identifiable information from the student’s education record prior to the start of a semester to avoid a later request.
Right to File a Complaint with the Department of Education
A student may file a written complaint with the Department’s Family Policy Compliance Office (Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, Washington DC 20202-4605) regarding alleged failures by the institution to comply with FERPA requirements.
Conduct or Student Judicial Records
The college has the right to restrict access to personally identifiable conduct or judicial information. The “Right to Know” laws require the college to disclose conduct and specific legal violations that have occurred on the college campus. None of this information can be personally identifiable. Prospective students and parents, and all enrolled students have the “Right To Know” regarding campus crime statistics. If a personal record is generated for a student on-campus for a judicial file, this information is not available to the public. If the police off-campus has generated the record, this information is accessible.
Any violation of federal, state, or local law or of any NJC policy governing the use or possession of alcohol or controlled substances may be made to the parent or legal guardian if the student is under the age of 21 and it has been determined that the student committed a disciplinary violation.
Student information that is provided by the police is accessible as public information and is not restricted nor controlled by the college.
The college information has restricted access: Counseling Records, Assessment Records, Employment Records, Class Schedule, Grades, Transcripts, Scholarship Information, Financial Records, and Financial Aid Information. Numbers of students who participated can be released but not “personally identifiable” information. Private parties calling for a phone release of any of this information should be informed of the following:
“I'm sorry, federal law regarding access to student records and student information requires the following college procedure; the student you are inquiring about must come in and personally sign a release form before the college can send you this restricted information. The college apologizes for not being able to provide you this information upon request but it is against the law. We can attempt to contact the student or better yet you contact the student to come in and sign a release form in the Student Services Office, Hays 132”. This procedure does prevent the release of student information without the student’s consent.