What is FERPA?

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, also known as the Buckley Amendment, is a Federal Law that helps protect the privacy of student education records, while also defining the obligations and practices that institutions must adopt and implement in order to be in compliance.

What are student’s rights under FERPA?

Students have specific, protected rights that are governed by FERPA. The Act provides students the right to: Inspect and review their education records maintained by the institution; Request that the institution correct records which they believe are inaccurate or misleading, or are in violation of the student’s rights of privacy; Have some control and consent over the disclosure of information from their educational record; File a complaint with US Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the institution to comply with the requirements of FERPA.

Who must comply with FERPA?

The Act applies to all institutions that are the recipients of federal aid administered by the Secretary of Education. Institutions that fail to comply with FERPA may see federal aid administered by the Secretary of Education withheld.

Who is protected under FERPA?

FERPA protects the education records of students who are currently enrolled or formerly enrolled regardless of their age or status with regard to parental dependency.

What educational records are protected under FERPA?

An education record is any record 1) which contains information that is personally identifiable to a student, and 2) is maintained by the institution. Education records include any records in whatever form (handwritten, print, email, magnetic, tape, film, disk, etc.) that are in possession of the college.

Education records do not include:

  • Sole possession records or private notes held by maker that not accessible or released to other personnel.

  • Law enforcement or campus security records that are solely for law enforcement purposes and maintained solely be the law enforcement unit

  • Records relating to individuals who are employed by the institution, unless contingent upon attendance

  • Medical records provided and maintained by physicians, psychiatrist, psychologist or other recognized professionals providing treatment

  • Post attendance records that have no relation to person as a student, i.e., alumni records

What is directory information?

Institutions may disclose information to the public about a student without consent if the information being released is designated as “directory information.” North Seattle College considers the following as directory information:

  • Student Name

  • E-mail Address

  • Enrollment status in the college

  • Date(s) of enrollment

  • The division or area of study

  • Degrees and awards received

  • Participation in officially recognized sports

  • Weight and height of members of athletic teams

Can students restrict their information?

Yes, students may request that the institution not disclose their directory information. The students will need to complete a “request for withholding directory information” form located in the Registration Office. This request will remain active and associated to the student’s file until they request in writing to have it removed.

Who may have access to student information and records?

  • The Student

  • Any outside party that has the student’s written consent

  • School officials (NSC or District employees in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position) who have legitimate educational interests

  • Federal and State officials requiring access to education records involving an audit or evaluation or compliance with educational programs

  • Agencies or individuals requesting information in connection with financial aid

  • Organizations conducting studies for or on behalf of the institution or district

  • Accrediting organizations

  • Any person or entity designated by judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena

  • State or local officials to who disclosure is required by state statute

Training Basics

Any department or individual wishing to better understand FERPA rights and responsibilities please contact Kathy Rhodes, Dean of Enrollment Services and Registrar to schedule a meeting or customized training session.