Student Records – FERPA

All student records must be current and maintained with appropriate measures of security and confidentiality.  The College is responsible for complying with all legal requirements pertaining to the maintenance, review and release of records retained by the College.

I.          COMPLIANCE WITH FERPA RIGHTS

A. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”) provides students with certain rights to privacy of their educational records and rights of access by others to their educational records.  College employees are expected to fully comply with this Policy.

B. For purposes of this Policy, “student” means an individual who is or has been in attendance at the College.  It does not include persons who have not been admitted, who have been admitted but did not attend the College or individuals enrolled solely in non-credit courses.  “Attendance” starts when the individual matriculates or declares their intention to enroll at the College, whichever comes first.

II.         ANNUAL NOTIFICATION OF RIGHTS

The College shall provide every student with an annual notice of their rights under FERPA.  The Dean of Students, or his/her designee, is responsible for preparing and delivering this annual notice.

III.        RIGHT TO INSPECT RECORDS

A. Students who want to inspect their education records should direct that request to the individual and within the timeframe as designated in the annual notice.  Records which are available for inspection shall be provided to the student during regular business hours.

B. Students may obtain copies of their educational records if circumstances make on-site inspection impractical and the student is in good standing.  When copies are provided, the student may be charged a reasonable fee for the actual copying expense.

IV.        DIRECTORY

A.         The College may release Directory Information without student consent.  The College designates the following information as Directory Information:

  1. Student’s name;
  2. Major field of study;
  3. Participation in officially recognized activities and sports;
  4. Dates of attendance, grade level and enrollment status; and
  5. Degrees, honors and awards received.

B. The College shall only release Directory Information to individuals and organizations that demonstrate, in the College’s opinion, a legitimate, educational interest in the information or provide a direct service to the College; however, the College shall release Directory Information to military recruiters in compliance with the Solomon Amendment unless the student specifically restricts the release of their Directory Information.

C. Students who do not wish to have their Directory Information released to the individuals and organizations identified above shall comply with the “opt out” provisions designated in the annual notice.

V.         RELEASE OF EDUCATIONAL RECORDS

A. The College will not release a student’s educational records, aside from Directory Information, to any third-party unless the student consents to the release or a valid, legal exception applies.

B. College officials with a legitimate educational interest are an exception and do not need your consent.  For a complete list of the disclosures that may be made without your consent, see 34 CFR Part 99.31 – 99.39.  Exceptions to disclosures include, but are not limited to:

  1. Organizations conducting studies;
  2. Health/safety emergencies;
  3. Under the U.S. Patriot Act;
  4. Federal, state and local authorities;
  5. Accrediting organizations;
  6. State, local or tribal welfare agencies;
  7. College officials with legitimate educational interest;
  8. In response to subpoenas and court orders; and
  9. In response to a lawsuit where a student names the College as a party.

B. Disclosures may be made to school officials which include any of the following when that person has a legitimate educational interest in having access to the information:  1) any administrator, certified staff member, or support staff member (including health, medical, safety, and security staff) employed by the College; 2) a member of the College’s Board of Trustees; 3) a contractor, consultant, volunteer, or other party to whom the College has outsourced services or functions, such as, but not limited to: an attorney, auditor, cloud storage provider, consultant, expert witness, hearing officer, law enforcement unit, investigator, insurer/insurance company adjuster, investigator, or any other claims  representative, medical providers or consultants, or counselors/therapists, provided that the person is performing a service or function for which the College would otherwise use employees, is under the direct control of the College with respect to the use and maintenance of education records, and is subject to FERPA requirements governing the use and re-disclosure of PII from education records; and 4) a person serving on a committee appointed by the College.

C. In compliance with Title IX, the College may disclose the final results of campus disciplinary proceedings in which a student respondent is charged with a violent crime or non-forcible sex offense.  Upon the request of the complainant, disclosure may be made regardless of whether the respondent was found responsible.  Disclosures to third parties may be made only if the student respondent is found responsible.  Disclosure in this situation is limited to the name of the violator, the type of student code violation found to have occurred, and the sanction imposed by the College.

D. The College may release a student’s educational records to the student’s parents when requested by the parents and: i) the student violated a law or the College’s policies regarding drugs and alcohol and the student is under the age of 21; or ii) the disclosure is needed to protect the health or safety of the eligible student or other individuals in an emergency situation.

VI.        CORRECTING RECORDS

A student has the right to challenge an item in his/her records believed to be inaccurate, misleading or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights.  The student may file a grievance pursuant to Policy 5.3.6 – Student Grievance beginning at Step Two If the final decision is that the information in the record is, in the College’s determination, not inaccurate, misleading or otherwise in violation of the privacy rights of the student, the Dean of Students shall inform the student of the right to place a statement in the record commenting on the contested information in the record or stating why he/she disagrees with the College’s decision.

VII.       MISCELLANEOUS

A. Students who believe their rights have been violated may file a complaint with the Family Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Ave., SW, Washington D.C. 20202.  Complaint must be filed within 180 days of the date of the alleged violation or the date the student knew or should have known of the alleged violation.

B.  A hold may be applied to the release of an official transcript, diploma or other information requested from an official record for a student who has an overdue indebtedness to the College.  A hold may be applied for failure to comply with a disciplinary directive.  Such a student continues to have the right to see and photocopy his official record upon request.

C. The College shall only destroy student records in accordance with federal and state laws and regulations and as allowed by the Records Retention & Disposition Schedule for North Carolina Community Colleges.  The College shall not destroy student records if there is an outstanding request, grievance or legal matter related to those records.

FERPA Annual Notice

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”), a federal law, provides students with certain rights with respect to their education records.  These rights are:

A.         The right to inspect and review your education records within forty-five (45) days of the day the College receives a request for access.  You should submit to the Director of Records and Registration a written request that identifies the record(s) you wish to inspect.  The Director of Records and Registration will make arrangements for access and notify you of the time and place where the records may be inspected.  If the records are not maintained by the Director of Records and Registration, the Director will advise you of the correct official to whom your request should be made.

B.         You have the right to challenge an item in your education records believed to be inaccurate, misleading or otherwise in violation of your privacy rights.  You may file a grievance pursuant to Policy 5.3.6 – Student Grievance beginning at Step Two.  If the final decision is that the information in the record is, in the College’s determination, not inaccurate, misleading or otherwise in violation of the privacy rights of the student, the Dean of Students shall inform the student of the right to place a statement in the record commenting on the contested information in the record or stating why he/she disagrees with the College’s decision.

C.         The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in your education records.  FERPA requires that the College obtain your written consent prior to the disclosure of any such information with certain exceptions.  College officials with a legitimate educational interest are an exception and do not need your consent.  For a complete list of the disclosures that may be made without your consent, see 34 CFR Part 99.31 – 99.39.  Exceptions to disclosures include, but are not limited to:

  • Organizations conducting studies;
  • Health/safety emergencies;
  • Under the U.S. Patriot Act;
  • Federal, state and local authorities;
  • Accrediting organizations;
  • State, local or tribal welfare agencies;
  • College officials with legitimate educational interest;
  • In response to subpoenas and court orders; and
  • In response to a lawsuit where a student names the College as a party.

D.  A College official includes any of the following when that person has a legitimate educational interest in having access to the information:

  1. Any administrator, certified staff member, or support staff member (including health, medical, safety, and security staff) employed by the College;
  2. A member of the College’s Board of Trustees;
  3. A contractor, consultant, volunteer, or other party to whom the College has outsourced services or functions, such as, but not limited to: an attorney, auditor, cloud storage provider, consultant, expert witness, hearing officer, law enforcement unit, investigator, insurer/insurance company adjuster, investigator, or any other claims  representative, medical providers or consultants, or counselors/therapists, provided that the person is performing a service or function for which the College would otherwise use employees, is under the direct control of the school district with respect to the use and maintenance of education records, and is subject to FERPA requirements governing the use and re-disclosure of personally identifiable information from education records; and
  4. A person serving on a committee appointed by the College. A College official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility.

E. The College may release Directory Information about you unless you have advised the College to the contrary.  The College has designated the following information as Directory Information: name; major field of study; participation in officially recognized activities and sports; dates of attendance, grade level and enrollment status; and degrees, honors and awards received.

  1. The College shall only release Directory Information to individuals and organizations that demonstrate, in the College’s opinion, a legitimate, education interest in the information or provide a direct service to the College; provided, however, the College shall release Directory Information to military recruiters in compliance with the Solomon Amendment unless you specifically restrict the release of your Directory Information.
  2. If you do not want the College to disclose your Directory Information described above from your education records to the recipients identified above without your prior written consent, you must submit a completed Student Release Form to Student Services within fourteen (14) days of the beginning of the academic year or within fourteen (14) days of you enrolling in the College.

F.  In compliance with Title IX, the College may disclose the final results of campus disciplinary proceedings in which a student respondent is charged with a violent crime or non-forcible sex offense.  Upon the request of the complainant, disclosure may be made regardless of whether the respondent was found responsible.  Disclosures to third parties may be made only if the student respondent is found responsible.  Disclosure in this situation is limited to the name of the violator, the type of student code violation found to have occurred, and the sanction imposed by the College.

G. The College may release a student’s educational records to the student’s parents when requested by the parents and: ii) the student violated a law or the College’s policies regarding drugs and alcohol and the student is under the age of 21; or iii) the disclosure is needed to protect the health or safety of the eligible student or other individuals in an emergency situation.

H.  You have the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures of the School District to comply with the requirements of FERPA.  The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is the:

Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC  20202-5901

Questions regarding student records should be directed to the College’s Office of Records and Registration.