Disclosures Privacy Of Student Records - Garrett College
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Privacy of Student Records

Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act (F.E.R.P.A.)

Privacy Act (F.E.R.P.A.)

The policy of the College is to protect and distribute a student’s educational records, including, but not limited to any personally identifiable information in accordance with the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. A summation of the policy follows here; to view the policy in entirety, refer to the "Notices" section of the Garrett College Catalog

Student Rights

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, also known as the Buckley Amendment, helps protect the privacy of student records. The intent of the Legislation is to protect the rights of students and to ensure the privacy and accuracy of education records. The Act applies to all institutions that are the recipients of federal funding. The College’s Family Educational Rights and Privacy policy is published annually in the College Catalog. There are four basic rights afforded students:

  1. The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days of the day the College receives a request for access.
  2. The right to request the amendment of the student's education records that the student believes is inaccurate.
  3. The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student's education records, except to the extent that F.E.R.P.A. authorizes disclosure without consent.
  4. 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 F.E.R.P.A..

A detailed discussion of these rights, including specific instructions on how students may execute these rights, can be found in the Garrett College Catalog.

Directory Information

FERPA defines "directory information" as information contained in an education record of a student that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. Directory information may be released at the discretion of the College unless a student files a request to prevent their disclosure. A detailed discussion of directory information and the process for non-disclosure, is available in the Garrett College Catalog.

Notice to Reflect Possible Federal and State Data Collection and Use

As of January 3, 2012, the U.S. Department of Education's F.E.R.P.A. regulations expand the circumstances under which 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 student consent. The U.S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or state and local education 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. These authorities may also grant access to researchers performing certain types of studies. 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. Review the complete Annual Notice in the Garrett College Catalog.

Parents Guide FERPA

(Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) protects the privacy of educational records and establishes the rights of students to review their educational records and to control the release of educational records. At the elementary and high school level, this law gave parents access to their child’s educational records. However, at the college level, regardless of the student’s age, the right to access a student’s record belongs solely to the student.
The right to access a student’s record belongs to the student, not the parent or legal guardian. Student academic information (such as class schedule, grades, academic standing, conduct records, billing statements, etc.) will be given to the student. It is up to the student to determine who else may receive access. College faculty and staff are prohibited from discussing information about the student’s academic record with parents unless the student provides written authorization to do so.
The best way to find out how your student is doing is to ask him/her. Perhaps one of the benefits of the FERPA rule is that it provides an additional opportunity for parents to communicate with their college student about their expectations and the student’s responsibilities. Rather than seeing this legislation as a barrier, parents might see this as an opportunity for meaningful dialogue with a student.
There are several exceptions built into the FERPA regulations, such as the health and safety exception. If a student is considered a threat to himself or to others, or there is a need to protect the health and safety of the student for some reason, information may be shared with parents. Additionally, a school may also disclose to parents any violation of the use or possession of drugs or alcohol by students under twenty-one. An important note here is that the law allows, but does not require, such information to be released to parents.

Q: My son is under 18, can i access his records?

A: Only with his written authorization. At the college level, regardless of the student's age, the right to access student records belongs solely to the student.

Q: How can I get a copy of my student's grades?

A: The easiest way to receive information about your student's grades, billing statement, or class schedule is to directly ask the student. Students have 24/7 access to the College's Student Portal where they can print out their grades, unofficial transcripts, financial statements, and schedules.

Q: Will I be notified if my student is put on academic probation or dismissal?

A: Only with written authorization can this information be shared with anyone other than the student. A student's academic standing is evaluated at the close of the Fall and Spring semester; talk with your student, ask the student to print his or her unofficial transcript so you can discuss his or her progress toward degree completion.

Q: Will I be notified of any student conduct issues or disciplinary actions?

A: Student conduct is administered through the Office of Student Life and students are encouraged to openly share and discuss any and all conduct issues with their parents. Although the College will not routinely notify you of conduct offenses, the law does allow the College, at its discretion, to disclose to parents any violation of the use or possession of drugs or alcohol by students under twenty-one.

Q: How does my daughter authorize me to access her records?

A: Students who wish to share their educational records may complete a "Student Information Release" form by visiting the Business Office or the Office of Records and Registration.

As college parents, remember that your students are working toward increased independence and responsibility. Allowing them to determine who receives their academic information is a part of that growing independence. As with many aspects of the college experience, increased communication between college parents and college students will make the experience go smoothly for everyone.