Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

FERPA is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act that was enacted in 1974. FERPA protects the privacy of eligible student education records. An “eligible student” under FERPA is a student who is 18 years of age or older who attends a postsecondary institution.  All educational institutions that receive federal funding must comply with FERPA.

Annual FERPA Notification

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.

Student Rights under FERPA:

FERPA gives students four basic rights with respect to their education records:

Maricopa defines “education records” as any record (in handwriting, print, tapes, film, or other media) maintained by the college or an agent of the college which is directly related to a student.

  1. The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days after the day the college receives a request for access.  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.
    Authorization to Release Education Record

  2. The right to request an amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes to be inaccurate, or misleading or in violation of the student’s privacy rights.  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 have amended and providing supporting documentation as to why the amendment is desired.

  3. The right to provide written consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records , except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
     
    • Other school officials, including instructors, administrators, supervisors, governing board members, academic or support staff, law enforcement, and health staff within the MCCCD
    • Officials of another school where the student seeks to or intends to enroll, or where the student is already enrolled
    • Authorized representatives of the US Comptroller General, the US Attorney General, and the US Secretary of State, or State and Local Educational Authorities
    • Persons or organizations providing financial assistance to the student
    • Organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, the college
    • Accrediting organizations
    • Parents of eligible student if the student is dependent for IRS tax purposes
    • To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena
    • Appropriate officials in connection with a health and safety emergency
    • Information college has designated “Directory Information” (see Directory Information listed below)
    • To a victim of an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense
    • To the general public, the final results of a disciplinary proceeding
    • To the parents of a student regarding the student’s violation of any federal, state, or local law, or of any rule or policy of the school
     

    Students who believe that MCCCD or an agent of the district has disclosed information contrary to the provisions outlined in this section may submit a grievance via the non-instructional complaint resolution process.

  4. The right to file a complaint with the US Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the college to comply with the requirements of FERPA.  If a student feels that the college/District has failed to comply with FERPA requirements, he/she has the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education's office that administers FERPA:

    The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA is:

    Family Policy Compliance Office
    US Department of Education
    400 Maryland Ave., S.W.
    Washington, DC 20202-5920

Disclosure of Personally Identifiable Information

A student's education records are not accessible to a parent or guardian without written consent, unless they provide a certified copy of the most recent Federal income tax return that shows the student is a dependent. However, if the MCCCD believes it is in the student's best interest, information from a student's education records may be released to a parent or guardian in cases such as:

  • When a student's health or safety is in jeopardy.
  • When a student who is under 21 engages in alcohol- or drug-related behavior that violates MCCCD's policies.

Students have the right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained within their education records, except where FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. Information may be released:

  • To the student.
  • To the parents of a dependent student.
  • To an MCCCD official.
  • To a party seeking directory information.
  • To a party receiving the information pursuant to a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena.
  • Regarding student disciplinary proceedings as expressly permitted by FERPA.
  • To parties otherwise authorized to receive the information pursuant to FERPA.

If a student would like information to be released to a third party, he/she can file an "Authorization to Release Education Record" form with the Office of Admissions & Records/Enrollment Services with the appropriate college(s) or the appropriate department at the District Office.

Directory Information/Privacy Blocks

As an enrolled student, directory information (name, address, phone number, email address, photographs, electronic images, date and place of birth, major fields of study, current enrollment status, participation in officially recognized activities, dates of attendance, degrees, 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) may be released. If a student would rather not have his/her information released as directory information, he/she must complete a nondisclosure form available in the college(s)'s Student Affairs Office. Once the form is completed, the directory information will be withheld for life, even after the student is no longer a student, unless the request is rescinded.

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).

MCCCD Officials with Legitimate Educational Interests

A student's education records may be disclosed, without consent, to MCCCD officials with legitimate educational interests. These include people employed by MCCCD in administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff roles; people contracted by the university for particular services; people serving on the Governing Board; students serving in certain employment capacities or serving on institution-sanctioned committees may have a legitimate educational interest that required disclosure of FERPA protected information. A legitimate education interest is present if the MCCCD official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill professional responsibilities.

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.

Sources: Institutions investigated for this section include: www.ithaca.edu/reslife/FERPA/FERPA_annual_notification.htm; www.clarkson.edu/sas/ferpa/annual_notice.html; www.marquette.edu/registrar/policies/ferpanotifcation.shtml; www.ncsu.edu/legal/legal_topics/ferpa/ferpa_notice.php; www.millersville.edu/registrar/miscellaneous/studentferpa.php; http://registrar.sas.cornell.edu/Student/records.html

Content provided by PaperClip Communications, FERPA Training Binder

For additional information please visit Maricopa Community College District Administrative Regulation 2.5 Student Rights and Responsibilities.