Student Rights Under FERPA
What is FERPA?
FERPA protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.
The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), passed by Congress in 1974 (also known as the Buckley Amendment), requires educational institutions to provide students access to their educational records, to allow students to correct inaccurate or misleading information in these records, and to limit the release of information to third parties.
The rights parents exercise with respect to their children’s education records transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level.
Northern New Mexico College collects and maintains social security numbers (SSNs) of employees, students and others associated with the college as required by law. While the college no longer uses SSNs as a key identifier, it’s still a data element in college systems for purposes of employment, IRS reporting, and financial aid.
Protecting your privacy has never been more critical. While we work diligently to prevent data disclosures, you’re urged to be equally vigilant in your actions both on and off campus.
What are Student Records?
Student records are defined as any information available in any way, including but not limited to:
- computer media
- video or audio tape
- film or Microfilm/microfiche.
Parental Access to Student Records
- Parents may obtain directory information unless the student has placed an affirmative restriction on its release.
- Parents may obtain non‐directory information by obtaining a signed consent from their child, the student. Records of student permission are maintained in the Office of the Registrar.
- Parents may obtain non‐directory information if the child is a legal dependent for tax purposes and files a FERPA Student Request form [pdf] with the Office of the Registrar.
Release of Directory Information
Northern may disclose any of the following classified directory information items without prior written consent, unless the student has submitted a written request to the Office of the Registrar not to release directory information pertaining to them. This information is such which would not generally be considered harmful or be an invasion of privacy if disclosed.
- Student’s name
- Electronic mail address
- Local and permanent mailing addresses
- Date of Birth
- Dates of attendance
- Enrollment status (full‐ or part‐time, undergraduate or graduate)
- Date of admission
- Date of expected or actual graduation
- School, major and minor fields of study
- Grade level classification (freshman, etc. )
- Type of degree being pursued
- Degrees, honors, and awards received (including scholarships and fellowships)
- Weight/height of members of athletic teams
- Most recently attended school prior to Northern
- Whether the student has participated in officially recognized activities and sports sponsored by the college
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) protects students with regard to their education records. Understand what your rights are.
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.
Students should submit to office of the registrar, dean, head of the academic department, or other appropriate official, written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The college official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. Northern will allow students personal access, under direct supervision to their original records.
If the records are not maintained by the college official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed. We make copies for students who otherwise cannot physically visit the Office of the Registrar. Records cannot be destroyed if a request for access is pending.
2) The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading.
Students may ask the college to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. They should write the college official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading.
Northern must decide within a reasonable time to amend or not. If the college decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the college will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his or her right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing. After a hearing, if the decision is still not to amend, the student has the right to insert a statement in the record.
There are no amendments to transcripts sent to Northern from another college nor to our own academic records.
3) The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
Northern will disclose information from a student’s education records only with the written consent of the student, except:
- To school officials with legitimate educational interests (a school official is a person employed by the college in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position); a person or company with whom the college has contracted to perform required functions (such as an attorney, auditor, service provider, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Regents; 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.
A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an educational record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility.
- To officials of other institutions in which the student seeks or intends to enroll provided that the student had previously requested a release of his/her record;
- To authorized representatives of the S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Defense (Solomon Amendment), U.S. Attorney General, INS, the Comptroller General of the United States, state education authorities, organizations conducting studies for or on behalf of the college, and accrediting organizations;
- In connection with a student’s application for, and receipt of, financial aid (to Federal, State and local authorities involving an audit or evaluation of compliance with educational programs or in connection with financial aid);
- To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena;
- To parents of dependent students as defined by the Internal Revenue Code, Section 152;
- To appropriate parties in a health or safety emergency; or
- To the alleged victim of any crime of violence of the results of any disciplinary proceedings conducted by the college.
- The college may disclose the result of a disciplinary proceeding to a parent or guardian so long as the student is under the age of 21 at the time of the incident and the proceeding has resulted in a violation of college drug or alcohol policies, or any federal, state, or local law.
- To students currently registered in a particular class, the names and email addresses of others on the roster may be disclosed in order to participate in class discussion.
Northern has designated the following items as Directory Information: a student's name, electronic mail address, local and permanent mailing addresses, dates of attendance, enrollment status (full- or part-time, undergraduate or graduate), date of admission, date of expected or actual graduation, school, major and minor fields of study, grade level classification (freshman, etc.), type of degree being pursued, degrees, honors, and awards received (including scholarships and fellowships), most recently attended school prior to Northern, weight and height of members of athletic teams, and whether the student has participated in officially recognized activities and sports sponsored by the college.
Northern may disclose any of these items without prior written consent, unless the student has submitted a student privacy written request form to the Office of the Registrar not to release directory information pertaining to them. Requests will be processed within 24 hours after receipt.
4) The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Northern to comply with the requirements of FERPA.
The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA is:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-5920