Frequently Ask Questions for Students and Parents
What Is FERPA?
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 is a federal law that requires colleges and universities to protect the confidentiality of student education records. The law states that no one outside the institution shall have access to a student's education records, nor will the institution disclose any information from those records without the written consent of the student, unless a specific exception outlined in the law applies.
What Are Education Records?
"Education records" are records that 1) Contain information that is directly related to a student, and 2) Are maintained by an education agency or institution or by a party acting for the agency or institution. Examples of Education Records are: student's transcript, their GPA, their class schedule, attendance information, financial aid information, etc.
What Does Not Qualify as an Education Record?
The following records are not "education records", for the purpose of FERPA:
- Records that are kept in the sole possession of the maker for use as a memory aid and not shared with others are not considered educational records.
- Public Safety records maintained and used only for law enforcement purposes.
- Employment records that relate exclusively to an individual's employment capacity.
- Medical and psychological records made, maintained, or used only in connection with the treatment of the student.
- Post-attendance records (alumni records).
What Are a Student's Rights Under FERPA?
- Right to inspect and review their education records.*
- Right to request amendment of their education records.
- Right to have some control over the disclosure of information from education records.
- Right to file with the U.S. Department of Education a complaint concerning alleged failures by the College to comply with the requirements of FERPA.
* Limitations exist on student's rights to inspect and review their educational records. The institution is not required to permit students to inspect and review the following:
- Financial information submitted by parents;
- Confidential recommendation letters placed in their files prior to January 1, 1975, provided these letters were collected under the established policies of confidentiality and were used only for the purposes for which they were specifically collected;
- Confidential recommendation letters, placed in the records after January 1, 1975, regarding which the student has waived their right to inspect and review and that are related to the student's admission, application for employment or job placement or receipt of honors; and
- Finally, students must not be permitted to view their education records if they contain information about another student, however, in such cases the institution must permit access to that part of the record which pertains only to the inquiring student while redacting the information pertaining to another student.
What About Parental Access to a Student's Education Records?
At the post-secondary level, parents have no inherent rights to inspect a student's education record. The right to inspect is limited solely to the student. Parents may gain access to non-directory information (grades, GPA, etc.) only if they obtain consent from the student.
Can the College Disclose Information Without a Student's Consent?
Pursuant to FERPA, the College may disclose a student's education records without a student's written consent under certain conditions. These include, but are not limited to the following circumstances:
- Disclosure to Anyone, if the college has obtained the prior written consent of the student
- Disclosure to a school official who has a legitimate educational interest.
- Disclosure is to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll, as long as the disclosure is for the purposes related to the student's transfer or enrollment in such institution.
- Disclosure to an education auditing or enforcing agency of a federal or state-supported program. Disclosure associated with eligibility for financial aid.
- Disclosure pursuant to a court order or subpoena. Disclosure is to parents of dependent students, as defined by the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, Section 152. (While FERPA permits disclosure of records to parents of dependent students without student consent, it does not require such disclosure. The parent must provide a copy of their most recent federal income tax return establishing the student's dependency. Full rights under the Act shall be given to either parent, unless the College has been provided with evidence that there is a court order, or other legally binding document relating to such matters as divorce, separation or custody that specifically revokes those rights.)
- Disclosure is to an alleged victim of a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense, when such disclosure is of the final results of any disciplinary proceedings conducted by the College against the alleged perpetrator of such crime or offense.
- Disclosure is to the student's parent about the student's violation of any Federal, State or local law, or any policy of the College which governs the use and possession of drugs or alcohol, but only if the student is under 21 years of age.
- Disclosure concerns sex offenders and other individuals required to register under section 170101 of the Violent Crime Control Law Enforcement Act of 1994.Disclosure that is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other persons.
What Is Annual Notification?
In compliance with FERPA, Nassau Community College annually notifies students of the rights afforded to them under FERPA. This notification is also available on the College Catalog Website and is distributed to students via email.
Where Can I Find Additional FERPA Information?
U.S. Dept. of Education, Family Policy Compliance Office at http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/index.html