The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a set of federal regulations established in 1974 that guarantees post-secondary students’ educational records remain private. What does this mean to you, as a parent? It means that the federal government now recognizes your child as an adult of legal age and consent, and that the college your child is attending has a responsibility to your child to keep his or her educational information confidential. Information cannot be released to anyone other than the student without the student’s written consent, signed by the student in the presence of UACCM staff. This includes grades, attendance records, and class schedules Only directory information (defined as student name, address, major, dates of enrollment, certificates or degrees received, and most recent school attended) may be released without the written consent of the student. FERPA applies to all college students, including concurrently enrolled students who have not yet graduated from high school.
Dr. Clifford A. Ramirez has written an article titled, “Campus Life and Issues: FERPA and Parents,” that is a great resource to put this law into plain English. Specifics about the Act may also be accessed from the Department of Education’s website. If your student would like to provide written consent allowing another individual access to his or her educational records, a consent form is available from the UACCM Registrar’s Office, located in University Center.
Notification of Rights under FERPA
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. These rights include:
- 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 Registrar’s Office a written request that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The Registrar’s Office 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 Registrar’s Office, the student 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 is inaccurate.
Students may ask the College to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate. They should write the College official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate.
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 procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a 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, 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.
Upon request, the College may disclose education records without consent to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll. [NOTE: FERPA requires an institution to make a reasonable attempt to notify the student of the records request unless the institution states in its annual notification that it intends to forward records on request.]
- 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 are:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-4605
University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton designates the following items as directory information: student name, address, major, dates of enrollment, certificates and/or degrees received and most previous school attended. UACCM may disclose any of these items without prior written consent, unless notified in writing to the contrary prior to disclosure.