What is FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974), As Amended?
- FERPA is a federal law, also known as the Buckley Amendment, which protects the privacy of student education records.
- Under FERPA, personally identifiable information may not be released from a student’s education record without the student’s prior written consent.
- FERPA applies to all educational agencies and institutions that receive federal funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.
- Rights to education records transfer from the parent to the student when the student reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level at any age.
What information can be released without student consent?
Directory Information may be disclosed by the college for any purpose at the college’s discretion. Students who do not wish to have any or all Directory Information made public without their consent must submit a completed Directory Information Non-Disclosure Form to the Records Office. Rockingham Community College designates the following items as directory information:
- Legal and chosen name;
- City and state of address;
- Major field of study;
- Class level;
- Enrollment status (full-time, half-time, or part-time);
- Dates of attendance;
- Degrees and awards received;
- Participation in officially recognized activities;
- The most recent previous educational agency or institution attended; and,
- Weight and height of members of athletic teams.
How can a student consent to the release of their education record information?
Students may grant consent to release education record information to an individual by submitting a completed Consent to Release Student Information Form to the Records Office or by submitting an official transcript request.
To whom can information be released without student consent?
The law allows disclosure without consent to:
- School employees who have a legitimate educational interest;
- Other schools, upon request, in which a student is seeking or intending to enroll;
- Accrediting organizations;
- Organizations doing certain studies for or on behalf of the college;
- Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student to determine eligibility, amount or conditions of financial aid, or to enforce the terms and conditions of aid;
- Parents when a student over 18 is still a dependent (see additional information under parental access);
- Certain government officials of the U. S. Department of Education, the Comptroller General, and state and local educational authorities, in connection with an audit, authorized representatives of the U. S. Attorney General for law enforcement purposes or state or federally supported education programs;
- Individuals who have obtained a judicial order or subpoena;
- School officials who have a need to know concerning disciplinary action taken against a student;
- Appropriate parties who need to know in cases of health and safety emergencies when necessary to protect the health and safety of the student and/or others;
- State and local authorities, within the juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific state law;
- Alleged victim of a crime of violence the results of a disciplinary proceeding with respect to that crime;
- Parent or legal guardian of a student under the age of 21, information regarding any violation of university policy or state, federal or local law, governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance; and,
- Those requesting directory information on a student provided the student has not requested his or her information be withheld.
When may a parent access a student’s educational records?
Rights to access a student’s educational records transfer to the student upon reaching 18 years of age or attending any school beyond the secondary level. The law allows, but does not require, parental access if a student is claimed as a dependent for federal income tax purposes, as defined/described in the IRS Code.
- Access is granted to both the parent who claims the student as well as the parent who is not claiming the student.
- Each time information is requested, the parent must complete the Parental Affidavit of Dependency and Request for Academic Information form or present a copy of the current federal income taxes filed which show the student was claimed as a dependent.
How can a parent access student information if the student is not being claimed by either parent for Federal income tax purposes?
- Parent can have access only if the student is willing to release information.
- The student must complete the Consent to Release Student Information form to grant access.
RCC’s full FERPA Policy procedure information is available in the Notice to Students Regarding Privacy of Records and the Catalog and Student Handbook.
Additional information on FERPA is available in the U.S. Department of Education FERPA FAQ responses.
For questions regarding FERPA and RCC’s procedure, please contact the Records Office.