Student records at the Maricopa County Community College District or any of its associated colleges are governed by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The following is a description of the rights of students under these regulations.
Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) students are afforded certain rights when it comes to their education records. The information below outlines these rights. Students will be notified on an annual basis, via email, of their rights under FERPA. The annual notification may be found here. Students are also invited to review the information on this page at any time.
A student is defined as any individual who is attending or has attended one (or more than one) of the following colleges in the Maricopa County Community College District: Chandler-Gilbert Community College, Estrella Mountain Community College, Gateway Community College, Glendale Community College, Mesa Community College, Paradise Valley Community College, Phoenix College, Rio Salado College, Scottsdale Community College, South Mountain Community College.
An educational record is any record maintained by the Maricopa County Community College District or one or more of its associated colleges, which is directly related to the student. An educational record does not include: (1) a personal record kept by a staff member, if it is kept in the sole possession of the maker of the record and is not accessible to or revealed to any other person, except a temporary substitute for the maker of the record; (2) records created and maintained by the Maricopa County Community College District Police Department (or associated campus police) for law enforcement purposes; (3) an employment record of an individual whose employment is not contingent on the fact that he or she is a student, provided the record is used only in relation to the individual's employment; (4) records made or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional, if the records are used only for treatment of a student and made available only to those persons providing the treatment; or (5) alumni records which contain information about a student after he or she is no longer in attendance at one (or more) of the colleges and which do not relate to the person as a student.
Student Rights under FERPA
FERPA affords students certain rights with respect to their educational records. These rights include:
- the right to inspect and review information contained in their educational records;
- the right to request to amend their educational records;
- the right to consent to disclosure, with certain exceptions specified in the Act, of personally identifiable information from educational records; and
- the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the college or district to comply with the requirements of FERPA.
Additional information relating to reach right is outlined below.
1. The right to inspect and review information contained in their educational records.
This right should be granted within 45 days of the day the college or district receives a written request for access. Students requesting access to their records must present proper identification and a signed, formal written request to the registrar, financial aid director, dean, or other appropriate college/district official. The request should identify the record(s) the student wishes to inspect. The appropriate college/district 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/district official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
Students may request of copy of their educational records. Students requesting copies will pay the current rate associated with an official transcript and the per page fee for records that are copied. If a student would like to inspect and review his/her education records, he/she may make a request in writing to the Office of Admissions & Records/Enrollment Services at the appropriate college(s), identifying which records to review. Student Request to Inspect and Review Education Records.
There may be occasions when a record may not be copied, especially if doing so may compromise another student or faculty member's privacy. The college or district may deny access to the following records: (a) parents' financial statements; (b) letters of recommendation, if the student has waived his or her right of access; (c) records filed before January 1, 1975; or (d) records not included in the FERPA definition of educational records.
The Maricopa County Community College District and its associated colleges reserve the right to deny copies of records, including transcripts, in any of the following situations: (a) the student has an unpaid financial obligation to the college or district; (b) there is an unresolved disciplinary action against the student; or (c) the educational record requested is an exam or set of standardized test questions.
2. The right to request the amendment of their educational records.
Students may exercise this right when they believe their records are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student's privacy rights under FERPA.
A proper request to correct a student education record must:
- Be written to the college registrar;
- Clearly identify the part of the record they want to be changed; and
- Specify why the record is inaccurate or misleading.
Any written request, which does not include the required information, will not be considered and the requestor will be notified in writing that their request was not made properly.
If the college or district decides not to amend the record as requested, the college registrar will notify the student in writing of the decision and of the student's right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment.
3. The right to consent to disclosure, with certain exceptions specified in the Act, of personally identifiable information from educational records.
Permission to Release Student Information
With the exception of directory information, the Maricopa County Community College District or its associated colleges must receive written consent from students before disclosing any personally identifiable information from their educational records, unless such disclosure without consent is authorized by law. Students wishing to disclose all or portions of their academic record must complete the Authorization to Release FERPA Protected Information and return it to the college registrar at the college where the records are housed.
A Maricopa County Community College District office or college may release personally identifiable information from a student's educational record without first obtaining the student's written permission when the disclosure is to:
College or district officials who have a legitimate educational interest in the records. A college or district official is defined as:
- a person employed by the college or district in an administrative, academic, research, or support staff position, whether full- or part-time.
- a person appointed by the Governing Board .
- a person employed by, under contract to, or assigned to the college or district to perform a special task for the benefit of the college or district, such as an attorney or auditor.
- a person who is employed by the college or district police department.
- a person serving on an official disciplinary, grievance, or appeals committee.
College or district personnel have a legitimate educational interest in the record if they are:
- performing a task that is specified in his or her position description or performing a task that is related to his or her contract agreement or appointment.
- performing a task related to a student's education.
- performing a task related to the discipline of or grievance by a student.
- providing a service or benefit relating to the student or student's family, such as health care, counseling, job placement, or financial aid.
- maintaining the safety and security of the campus and/or investigating violations of the law that affect the college or district.
- a contractor, consultant, volunteer, or any entity working for and on behalf of the college or district
Certain officials of the U.S. Department of Education, the Comptroller General, the Attorney General, and state and local educational authorities, in connection with audit or evaluation of certain state or federally supported educational programs.
- state and local officials to whom disclosure is specifically required by state statute adopted prior to November 19, 1974.
- Veterans Administration Officials.
- Officials of other institutions in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
- Persons (other than parents) or organizations providing financial aid to students, or determining financial aid decisions on the condition that the information is necessary to: (a) determine eligibility for the aid, (b) determine the amount of the aid, (c) determine the conditions for the aid, or (d) enforce the terms and conditions of the aid.
- organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, educational agencies or institutions to develop, validate, and administer predictive tests, to administer student aid programs, or to improve instruction.
- accrediting organizations carrying out their accrediting functions.
- parents of a student who is claimed as a dependent on a parent's most recent Federal tax statement, as evidenced by inclusion on the Authorization to Release FERPA Protected Information form.
- Persons in compliance with a judicial order or a lawfully issued subpoena, provided that the college or district makes a reasonable attempt to notify the student in advance of the compliance. Note: The college or district is not required to, and should not, notify the student if a federal grand jury subpoena, or any other subpoena issued for a law enforcement purpose, orders the college or district not to disclose the existence or contents of the subpoena.
- The college and/or the district is not required to obtain a subpoena to produce educational records of a student if it is sued by the student or takes legal action against a student. The records produced must be needed by the college or district to proceed with legal action as plaintiff or to defend itself.
- The Attorney General of the United States or his designee in response to an ex parte order in connection with the investigation or prosecution of terrorism crimes.
- Persons in an emergency, if the knowledge of the information is, in fact, necessary to protect the health or safety of students or other persons.
- A victim of an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or a nonforcible sex offense. The disclosure may only include the final results of the disciplinary proceeding conducted by the college or district with respect to that alleged crime or offense. The college or district may disclose the final results of the disciplinary proceeding, regardless of whether or not the college or district concluded a violation was committed.
- If the college or district discloses the final results of the disciplinary proceeding where it has determined that: (a) the student is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or nonforcible sex offense, and (b) with respect to the allegation made against him or her, the student has committed a violation of the College or district's rules or policies, the final results must include only: (a) the name of the student, (b) the violation committed, and (c) any sanction imposed by the College or district against the student.
- Parents regarding the student's violation of any federal, state, or local law, or of any institutional policy or rule, governing the use of alcohol or a controlled substance if: (a) the college or district has determined that the student has committed a disciplinary violation with respect to that use or possession, and (b) the student is under the age of 21 at the time of the disclosure to the parent. This item does not supersede any state law prohibiting the college or district from disclosing this information.
2012 Amendment to FERPA Regulation
As of January 3, 2012, the U.S. Department of Education's FERPA regulations expand the circumstances under which your education records and personally identifiable information (PII) contained in such records — including your Social Security Number, grades, or other private information — may be accessed without your consent. First, the U.S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or state and local education authorities ("Federal and State Authorities") may allow access to your records and PII without your consent to any third party designated by a Federal or State Authority to evaluate a federal- or state-supported education program. The evaluation may relate to any program that is "principally engaged in the provision of education," such as early childhood education and job training, as well as any program that is administered by an education agency or institution. Second, Federal and State Authorities may allow access to your education records and PII without your consent to researchers performing certain types of studies, in certain cases even when we object to or do not request such research. Federal and State Authorities must obtain certain use-restriction and data security promises from the entities that they authorize to receive your PII, but the Authorities need not maintain direct control over such entities. In addition, in connection with Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems, State Authorities may collect, compile, permanently retain, and share without your consent PII from your education records, and they may track your participation in education and other programs by linking such PII to other personal information about you that they obtain from other Federal or State data sources, including workforce development, unemployment insurance, child welfare, juvenile justice, military service, and migrant student records systems.
4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the College or district 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 20202-5901
Release of Directory (Public) Information
At its discretion, the college or district may provide Directory Information in accordance with the provisions of FERPA. Types of information considered as Directory Information are listed below.
Directory (Public) Information at Maricopa County Community College District and its associated colleges
date and place of birth
major fields of study
current enrollment status
participation in officially recognized activities
dates of attendance
awards and academic honors received
Dean's List selection
previous institutions attended
program and promotional materials on participants in various sports and similar public activities, including weights and heights of athletic team members
Directory information is considered public information.
Privacy of Directory (Public) Information
Blocking the Release of Directory (Public) Information
By default, a college or district may release a student's directory information. Students may prohibit (or block) the public disclosure of directory information by completing a Privacy Block form.
Students should consider very carefully the consequences of a decision to withhold directory information. A privacy block will call for the college or district to not release this directory information. Therefore, any future requests for such information from non-institutional persons or organizations will be refused.
Although the college or district will honor a student's request to withhold directory information, it cannot assume responsibility to contact the student for subsequent permission to release this information. Regardless of the effect upon the student, the college or district assumes no liability as a result of honoring a student's instructions to withhold such information.
A few other notes:
- If a student blocks directory information, it still may be inspected by those MCCCD officials authorized by law to inspect education records without consent.
- If a student chooses to block directory information, it cannot be released to friends, family, prospective employers, the news media, advisors, student activities, and honors societies.
- Some reasons for considering a privacy block on directory information include harassment or the advice of a legal or medical professional.
- If a student wishes to keep public data private but release information so it can be published in commencement programs and honors lists, contact the Office of Admissions & Records/Enrollment Services at the appropriate college(s).
If a student wishes to remove the privacy block, he or she must rescind the previous block. The college and district cannot assume responsibility to contact students for subsequent permission to release this information. It is the sole responsibility of the student to initiate the release of blocked information.
Using Social Security Numbers
Due to identity theft concerns and privacy issues, students will no longer be asked to provide a social security number as a personal identifier. Instead, students will be assigned a student ID number upon enrollment that can be used to access education records, as needed.