FERPA: Family Education Rights and Privacy Procedures
Anne Arundel Community College, hereinafter called “the college,” accords all rights under the law to its students, past and present. No one outside the institution shall have access to, nor will the institution disclose, any personally identifiable information from students’ education records without the written consent of the student. Exceptions to this are: personnel within the institution who have “need to know” for education reasons; officials of other institutions in which the student seeks to enroll; persons or organizations providing students with financial aid; accrediting agencies carrying out their accreditation function; persons in compliance with a judicial order; and persons who, in an emergency, need to know in order to protect the health or safety of students or other persons. All these exceptions are permitted under the act.
Within the college community, only those members, individually or collectively, acting in the students’ educational interest are allowed access to student education records. These members include personnel in the Admissions and Enrollment Development office, Records and Registration office, the vice presidents’ offices, Office of the President and selected personnel within the limitations of their “need to know.” At his/her discretion, the registrar may provide directory information in accordance with the provisions of the act to include: student name, address, telephone number, MyAACC email address, date and place of birth, major field of study, dates of attendance, student ID, part-time and full-time status, degrees and awards received, the most recent educational agency or institution attended by the student, participation in officially recognized activities or sports, and weight and height of members of athletic teams. The college will generally release only the student’s name, dates of attendance and degrees and honors earned as directory information.
Students may withhold directory information by notifying the registrar, in writing, within one (1) month after the first day of the term. Requests for nondisclosure of directory information will be honored by the college for the current academic year only; therefore, renewed requests for nondisclosure must be filed with the registrar at the beginning of each term in order to remain in effect.
The law provides students with the right to inspect and review information contained in their education records, to challenge the contents of their education records, to have a hearing if the outcome of their challenge is unsatisfactory to them and to submit explanatory statements for inclusion in their files if they feel the decisions of the hearing panel to be unacceptable. The registrar of the college has been designated by the college to coordinate the inspection and review procedures for student education records, which include admissions, academic, financial and financial aid files, and academic, cooperative education and placement records. Education records do not include the following: records of instructional, administrative and educational personnel, which are the sole possession of the maker and are not accessible or revealed to any individuals except a temporary substitute; records of alumni; and records of student health. Health records may be reviewed by physicians of the student’s choosing. Students MAY NOT inspect and review the following as outlined by the act: financial information submitted by their parents; confidential letters and recommendations associated with admissions, employment or job placement, or honors to which they have waived the rights of inspection and review; education records containing information about more than one student, in which case the college will permit access to ONLY that part of the record which pertains to the inquiring student. The college is not required to permit students to inspect and review confidential letters and recommendations placed in their files prior to Jan. 1, 1975, provided those letters were collected under established policies of confidentiality and were used only for the purposes for which they were collected.
Any student wishing to review his/her education records must make a written request to the registrar listing the item or items of interest. Only records covered by the act will be made available within forty-five (45) days of the request. A student may have copies made of his/her records with certain exceptions (e.g. a copy of the academic record for which a financial “hold” exists or a transcript of an original or source document which exists elsewhere).
A student who believes that his/her education records contain information that is inaccurate or misleading, or is otherwise in violation of his/her privacy or other rights, may discuss the problem informally with the registrar. If the decision is in agreement with the student’s request, the appropriate record will be amended. If not, the student will be notified within a reasonable period of time that the records will not be amended; he/she will be informed by the registrar of his/her right to a formal hearing. Student requests for a formal hearing must be made, in writing, to the vice president for learning who, within a reasonable period of time after receiving such requests, will inform the student of the date, place and time of the hearing. The student may present evidence relevant to the issues raised and may be assisted or represented at the hearing by one or more persons of his/her choosing, including attorneys, at the student’s expense. The hearing panel, which will adjudicate such challenges, will be composed of the following three people: vice president for learning; vice president for learning resources management; and director of admissions and enrollment development. The registrar, as consultant to the panel, will be present during the presentation of all evidence and arguments; he/she will not participate in the voting of the panel.
Decisions of the hearing panel will be based solely on the evidence presented at the hearing. They will consist of written statements summarizing the evidence and giving the reasons for the decisions; copies of the document will be delivered to all parties concerned. If the decisions are unsatisfactory to the student, the student may place statements with the education records commenting on the information in the records or statements setting forth any reasons for disagreeing with the decisions of the hearing panel.
The statements will be placed in the education records, maintained as part of the student’s records and released whenever the records in question are disclosed.
Any student who believes the adjudication of his/her challenge was unfair, or not in keeping with the provisions of the act, may request, in writing, assistance from the president of the college, who may direct the panel to review its decisions. Further, any student who believes his/her rights have been abridged may file complaints with the Family Policy and Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, D.C. 20202-4605, concerning the alleged failures of the college to comply with the act.
Revisions and clarifications will be published as experience with the law and institutional policy warrant.