The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Informational Guidelines (FERPA)
What is FERPA?
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 helps protect the privacy of student education records. The Act provides for the right to inspect and review education records, the right to seek to amend those records and to limit disclosure of information from the records. The intent of the legislation is to protect the rights of students and to ensure the privacy and accuracy of education records. The Act applies to all institutions that are the recipients of federal aid administered by the Secretary of Education.
What rights does FERPA afford students with respect to their education records?
- The right to inspect and review their education records within 45 days of the day the college receives a request for access. Students should submit written requests to the registrar‘s office and identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The staff of the office will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the requested records are not maintained by the registrar‘s office, the student will be notified of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
- The right to request an amendment to the student‘s education records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading. Students may ask the college to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. They should submit the request in writing to the registrar‘s office and clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the college decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the college will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his or her right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing will be provided to the student when notified of the hearing.
- The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student‘s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception which permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the college in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the college has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting 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 responsibility.
- The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the college 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 Ave., SW
Washington, D.C. 20202-5920
What is an education record?
An “education record” is any record that is:
- directly related to a student; and
- maintained by an educational agency or institution, or by a party acting for the agency or institution.
This includes any information recorded in any way including, but not limited to, handwriting, print, computer media, video or audio tape, film, microfilm, and microfiche.
What is not considered an education record?
- Sole possession records or private notes held by a school official that are not accessible or released to other personnel;
- law enforcement or campus security records that are solely for law enforcement purposes and maintained solely by the law enforcement unit;
- records relating to individuals who are employed by the institution (unless the employment is contingent on their status as a student);
- records relating to treatment provided by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist; or other recognized professional and disclosed only to individuals providing treatment; and
- records of an institution that contain information about an individual obtained only after that person is no longer a student at that institution.
Who is protected under FERPA?
An “eligible” student under FERPA is a student who is 18 years of age or who attends a postsecondary institution (regardless of parental dependency). These rights begin on the day the student begins attending classes. Formerly enrolled students are also protected under FERPA. Students who have applied but have not attended an institution and deceased students do not come under FERPA guidelines.
When is a student’s consent not required to disclose information?
When the disclosure is:
- to school officials who have legitimate educational interest,
- to federal, state, and local authorities involving an audit or evaluation of compliance with educational programs,
- in connection with financial aid; this includes Veterans’ benefits,
- to organizations conducting studies for or on behalf of educational institutions,
- to accrediting organizations,
- to comply with a judicial order or subpoena,
- in a health or safety emergency,
- releasing of directory information,
- releasing the results of a disciplinary hearing to an alleged victim of a crime of violence.
What is directory information?
“Directory Information” may be released to third parties without the consent of the student, unless the student has signed and submitted a written request to the Registrar’s office to restrict the release of directory information. At Iowa Central directory information includes:
- home and school address and phone number
- e-mail address, both home and school
- date of birth
- major, degrees, honors and awards
- weight and height for athletic team members
- dates of attendance
- enrollment status (e.g. full time or half time)
- participation in recognized activities and sports
- previous education institutions attended
What if I want my directory information held?
Iowa Central will provide a form to be completed by students who want their directory information held. The “Nondisclosure of Directory Information” form must be completed and submitted to the Registrar’s Office by the end of the first 10 class days of the term. The “Nondisclosure of Directory Information” will be in effect until the student requests in writing that it be revoked. Students requesting non-disclosure understand that their name will not appear in the graduation program, in sports bulletins, music & theater brochures, honor rolls, home town papers, etc. This form can be obtained at the Registrar’s Office.
Can I allow others access to my non-directory information?
Iowa Central also provides a form to be completed by students that want their non-directory information released to others. The “Release of Confidential Information” form is often completed by students to give permission for Iowa Central to speak to their parents regarding, financial aid, billing, grades, schedules, class attendance and progress, health, and housing information. This form is available to students via WebAdvisor or a paper copy can be picked up at the Registrar’s Office and is good for one year, so it must be completed each year.
HIPPA & FERPA
HIPPA applies to Health Care Providers, private benefit plans, and health care clearinghouses. It does not apply to other types of organizations whose receipt or maintenance of health records is incidental to their normal course of business. FERPA does not limit what records a schools may obtain, create, or maintain. It provides safeguards for education records.
The receipt and maintenance of health records is well established. If a health records is used to make a decision in regard to a student’s education program (e.g., whether a student should receive extended time for testing; or be exempt from an academic requirement, such as SAP) the health records may be construed to be an education record. In that case the normal FERPA provisions for safeguarding the records would apply.
Iowa Central follows requirements for the privacy of health records (HIPPA).
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