Parent Guide to Confidentiality of Student Records
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974, as amended, is a federal privacy law that, generally, prohibits disclosure of personally identifiable information from the educational records of students without prior written consent. Upon enrollment at college, rights under FERPA reside with the student, unlike when the student is in grades K-12 where the rights reside with the parents. Educational records are any records maintained by the College that are directly related to a student; they include financial aid, academic, and disciplinary records, and other personally identifiable information.
There are a number of exceptions that permit disclosure without consent, including one for health or safety emergencies. Specifically, a school may disclose personally identifiable information from an education record “to appropriate parties in connection with an emergency if knowledge of the information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals.” “Appropriate parties” may include parents, law enforcement authorities, emergency responders, and other members of the community.
Additionally, consent is not required for disclosure of information from education records to “school officials” who need the information to perform a professional, job-related task. A school official is a person employed by the College in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position (including Public Safety staff and Student Health Center staff); a person or company with whom the College has contracted as its agent to provide a service instead of using College employees or officials (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving as a trustee; 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).
If a student wishes to authorize disclosure of confidential information to parents/ guardians or any other designated individual, institution, or entity, a student would complete and sign a specific authorization form; such authorization would remain in effect for as long as the student is enrolled at the College or until the student revokes consent in writing. Additional information is available on the Registrar’s FERPA Guidelines website. Click here to complete the FERPA Release form.
Students may obtain more detailed information about FERPA, including the procedures for exercising their rights, from the Office of the Registrar, Harkins Hall, Room 310.