Student Privacy (FERPA) Student Rights Under The Family Educational Rights And Privacy Act (FERPA)
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. They are:
- The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days of the day the College receives a request for access. Students should submit to the Dean of Students or the Office of the Registrar/Enrollment Manager ("College Official") a written request that identifies the record(s) they wish to inspect. The College Official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the College Official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
- The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes are inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the student’s right to privacy. Students desiring an amendment to their education record should write the College Official responsible for maintaining the record, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the student’s privacy.
- The right to a hearing regarding the request for an amendment of the student’s education records. If the College decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the College must 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 procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
- The right to prevent the College’s disclosure of the student’s personally identifiable information from the student’s education records in most circumstances. The College must obtain the written consent of a student before disclosing that student’s personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. Where required, a student’s consent must specify the records to be disclosed, the purpose of the disclosure, and the party or class of parties to whom disclosure may be made. FERPA contains the following exceptions allowing a College to disclose a student’s personally identifiable information:
- Disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests is permitted without a student’s written consent. 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 institutional services or functions that the College would otherwise use employees to perform (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. A school official must be under the direct control of the institution with respect to the use and maintenance of information from education records.
- Disclosures to parents are permitted in three situations. First, disclosure of a student’s personally identifiable information to parents is permitted absent a student’s written consent in the event of a health or safety emergency. The College may disclose education records in an emergency if the College determines that there is an articulable and significant threat to the health or safety of the student or other individuals. Second, disclosure of a student’s personally identifiable information is permitted to parents of the student if the student is a dependent pursuant to Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and notice is given to the student that a parent has requested such information. Third, disclosure of a student’s personally identifiable information to parents is permitted without the student’s written consent if the student is under 21 and has violated a law or College rule or policy governing alcohol or controlled substance consumption.
- The right to opt out of the disclosure of directory information. Pursuant to FERPA, the College has classified certain personally identifiable information as directory information. Metropolitan Community College defines directory information as the student’s name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, photos, date of birth, place of birth, class, major field of study, dates of attendance, full time/part time status, degrees, honors, and awards received, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, physical traits of athletes, and the most recent previous educational institution attended by the student. Students who wish to restrict the release of directory information must submit the appropriate form to the Office of the Registrar/Enrollment Manager during the first week of each academic term. This form can be found on the College’s website, at Dean of Students’ Office or at the Office of the Registrar/Enrollment Manager. Upon receipt of such request the Office of the Registrar/Enrollment Manager will designate that the student’s directory information is confidential and not to be released outside the College except to individuals, institutions, agencies and organizations authorized in the Act. The College will honor all requests to withhold any of the categories of directory information listed above but cannot assume any responsibility to contact the student for subsequent permission to release information. Nondisclosure will be enforced until the information is subsequently released by the student. A student may not, however, opt-out of disclosure of the student’s name, institutional e-mail address, or electronic identifier in the student’s classroom. Regardless of the effect on the student, the College assumes no liability for honoring the request of the student to restrict the disclosure of directory information.
- The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Metropolitan Community 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 Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-5920
More information from the U.S. Department of Education about FERPA is available online at http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html.
HIPAA and FERPA
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) sets standards to protect the confidentiality of health information. However, the HIPAA Privacy Rule excludes from its coverage those records protected by FERPA at school districts and post-secondary institutions that provide health or medical services to students. This is because Congress specifically addressed how education records should be protected under FERPA. For this reason, records protected by FERPA are not subject to the HIPAA Privacy Rule and may be shared with parents under the circumstances described here.
The Adult Education Supervisor obtains and maintains health records for each student who applies for services, so the receipt and maintenance of health records is well established. In addition, if a financial aid recipient is unable to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) due to medical reasons, the financial aid office may request documentation of the medical condition through the SAP appeal process. This information will be reviewed and then maintained in the student's financial aid file for safe-keeping.
See also http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/understanding/coveredentities/hipaaferpajointguide.pdf for joint guidance on FERPA and HIPAA, and for more information on HIPAA, see the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services website: http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/hipaa/. HIPAA regulations are published as 45 CFR Parts 160, 162, and 164.
Safeguarding Student Information
As required by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley (GLB) Act issued by the Federal Trade Commission, LLRTC has safeguards in place designed to ensure the security and confidentiality of student information, protect against any anticipated threats or hazards to the security or integrity of such information, and protect against unauthorized access to or use of such information that could result in substantial harm or inconvenience to any student.