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IS-2528 Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

Administration

Release Date: 4/22/10
Revised: 5/9/17

Administrative Directive

Contents

Introduction

  1. Education Records and Directory Information
  2. Disclosure of Education Record Information
  3. Annual FERPA Notification
  4. Types, Locations and Custodians of Educational Records
  5. Access and Inspection of Educational Records
  6. Corrections of Education Records
  7. Education Record Hearing
  8. Copies of Education Information
  9. Definitions

Introduction

The Family Educational and Rights of Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), is a federal law that protects the privacy of education records of all current and formerly enrolled students of institutions of higher education. FERPA rights begin when the student registers and attends class.

FERPA provides students with the right to inspect review and challenge the content of their official educational records, to request corrections and to protect the privacy of student education records. The process explained in this document provides information regarding the definition of education records and directory information, the type, location and custodians of education records, access to education records, and inspection and correction of education records.

1. Education Records and Directory Information

Education Records

1.1 Under FERPA, "education records" are those records, files, documents and other materials maintained by an institution or its authorized agent that contain information directly related to a student.

1.2 An education record includes but is not limited to information recorded in any way, including: handwriting, print, computer media, video or audio tapes, film, micro fiche or other medium.

Records may include administrative, cumulative academic records, financial aid records and records of disciplinary actions.

1.3. Some records are not considered education record under FERPA These include:

1.3.1 Personal records created and maintained by a school official kept in the sole possession of the school official who made the record, and which are not shared or made available to anyone other than the maker's temporary substitute.

1.3.2 Employment records of College employees who become students are not considered student records.

1.3.3 Records created and maintained by the law enforcement unit of the College for a law enforcement purpose.

1.3.4 Records maintained by the Health Center if the records are used only for treatment of a student and made available only to those persons providing and or assisting in the treatment.

1.3.5 Records that contain information about a student who has not been in attendance at the College, or that only contain information about an individual after she/he is no longer a student at the College (e.g., alumni records).

Directory Information

1.4 Directory information is available to the public and may be released upon request without prior consent. Directory information is information that is not considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. See 34 C.F.R. § 99.3. Limited use directory information, as designated below, may only be disclosed to public or non-profit four-year universities or researchers approved by the CNM Institutional Review Board upon request. CNM reserves the right to deny any request for limited use directory information if the information is being requested for recruitment purposes that are not in the best interest of its students or the College. CNM has designated the following information as directory information or limited use directory information and will release this information in accordance with this policy, unless the student has submitted a request for non-disclosure:

  • Student name
  • Major field of study
  • Dates of attendance
  • Classification; freshmen or sophomore.
  • Enrollment Status
  • Awards and honors
  • Degrees and certificates received
  • CNM-issued e-mail address (limited use directory information)
  • Mailing address (limited use directory information)

2. Disclosure of Education Record Information

Education Record Information

2.1 Educational institutions are required to maintain the privacy of education records and personally identifiable information other than directory information contained in education records, primarily by restricting release of records and information and the access those records and information.

Directory Information

2.2 Directory information is available to the public and may be released upon request unless a written request to withhold this information is on file in the Records Office.

Request forms to withhold information may be obtained at the Main Campus Records Office or online at FERPA Confidentiality Request Form.

Consent to Release Education Records and Information

2.3 Students may consent, in writing, to the release of specified education records to others, provided that:

(1) the student specifies the records to be released;
(2) the student specifies to whom the records are to be released; and
(3) the student gives the reasons for the release.

Students may access the Consent to Release Education Records and Information at the Main Campus Records Office or online at FERPA Authorization for Release Educational Records Form.

Disclosure of Additional Information

2.4 CNM may, without prior written consent of the student, disclose information from the student's educational records to the following:

(1) School officials/instructors with legitimate educational interest in the information
(2) Officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
(3) Federal, state and local authorities conducting an audit, evaluation or enforcement of education programs, so long as personally identifiable information data is protected in a manner which will not permit the personal identification of students by anyone other than those officials, and the data is destroyed when no longer needed
(4) Organizations connected with a student's application for, or receipt of, financial aid
(5) Organizations conducting studies for or on behalf of the College for testing purposes, student aid program purposes, and improving instruction provided that the data is protected in a manner which will not permit the personal identification of students by anyone other than those officials, and the data is destroyed when no longer needed
(6) Accrediting organizations
(7) Appropriate parties in compliance with a judicial order or a lawfully issued subpoena, provided that the College makes reasonable effort to notify the student of the order or subpoena prior to compliance, or to the court in conjunction with legal action between the College and a student
(8) Appropriate persons in a health or safety emergency provided that disclosure to appropriate parties in connection with an emergency if knowledge of information is necessary to protect health or safety of the students or others
(9) Honor societies and other chartered student organizations only for determining eligibility for membership
(10) Authorized recruiters of the U.S. Armed Forces as allowed by the Solomon Amendment
(11) To victims of violent crimes or nonforcible sex offenses, the final results of any disciplinary proceeding by the College against the alleged perpetrator of the crime or offense
(12) To appropriate persons, the final results of a disciplinary proceeding by the College against a student who is an alleged perpetrator of a violent crime or nonforcible sex offense, if the College determines in the disciplinary proceeding that the student committed a violation of College rules or policies with respect to such crime or offense
(13) Schools may inform parents of the student, if he or she is under age 21, and if the student has violated any law or policy concerning the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance.

3. Annual FERPA Notification

3.1 Students are notified of their FERPA rights annually through the College's official catalog and the CNM website.

3.1.1 Under FERPA, students have the right to:

  • Request non disclosure of educational records and directory information
  • Inspect and review education records
  • Request amendment of education records
  • Consent to disclosures of education records with certain exceptions
  • File a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education

3.1.2 Procedures to follow when exercising the right to:
Inspect and review education records Request amendment of education records File a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education

4. Types, Locations and Custodians of Education Records

The following table provides a list of the types of records that CNM maintains, the departments the records are located in, the physical location of those education records and the custodians of the records.

Table 4.1

Record Types

Department

Location

Custodian

Admissions/ Student Records/ Registration

Enrollment Services

Student Services Main Campus

Director/ Registrar

Health

Health Center

Student Services Main Campus

Director

Financial Aid

Financial Aid and Scholarship Services

Student Services Main Campus

Director

Financial

Business Office

Business Office Main Campus

Comptroller

Job Placement

Job Connection Center

Student Services Main Campus

Director

Disciplinary Records

Dean of Students

Student Services Main Campus

Dean of Students

GED

Assessment

Student Services Main Campus

Director

Accuplacer

Assessment

Student Services Main Campus

Director

Workkeys

AVP Instruction

Main Campus

AVP Instruction

CASAS

SAGE

Ken Chappy Building Main Campus

DEAN of ECA

Student Records for non credit

Enrollment Services/DADE/Emeritus/ Workforce Training

Student Services Main Campus

Director or Designee

High school Aged Programs

Enrollment Services or AVP for Instruction

Student Services Main Campus

Director or Designee

Records associated with students with disabilities

Special Services

Student Services Main Campus

Director

Technology Use Records not previously listed

Computer Information Technology Department

Main Campus

Director

Grade books

Enrollment Services

Main Campus

Director

All other request for education records not listed

Vice President for Student Services

Main Campus

Vice President Student Services

5. Student Access to and Inspection of Education Records

5.1  Students have the right to inspect and review education records upon submitting a written request to the appropriate record custodian.

5.2  The record custodian, or an appropriate College staff person, shall make the necessary arrangements for access to the requested educational records with reasonable promptness.  The student shall be notified regarding the time and place for the record inspection.  Access must be given to students within 45 days or less from the receipt of the request. (IIIA)  The College shall respond with reasonable promptness to reasonable requests for explanations and interpretations of the records.

5.3 Limitations exist regarding some educational records, therefore students are not allowed to inspect the following records:

(1) Financial records of the parents or legal guardians of student or any information therein
(2) Confidential letters and statements of recommendation for which the student has waived right of access
(3) Those records which are excluded from the FERPA definition of education records
(4) Educational records containing information about more than one student (However, in such cases CNM permits access to that part of the record that pertains only to the inquiring student)

5.4  The College shall not destroy any education records if there is an outstanding request to inspect and review those records

6. Correction of Education Records

6.1 Students have the right to request in writing the correction of records they believe are inaccurate, misleading or in violation of the privacy rights of the student.  The fairness of a grade may not be challenged under this provision.

6.2  A request for amending an education record must be made through the official record custodian or designated office (See Table 4.1).  Depending on the nature of the request, the record custodian may require a written request.  The student should identify the part of the record that s/he wants changed and specify what is inaccurate, misleading or in violation of privacy or other rights and the change the student proposes.

6.3 If the request is approved, the record is amended and the student is notified in writing of the change.  If a request for correction is denied, the student may request a formal hearing on the matter.

7. Education Record Hearing

7.1  If a request for correction is denied, the student shall be informed in writing of the decision and the right to a formal hearing on the matter.

7.2  The student may submit a written request for a hearing or may submit a written statement commenting on the challenged information and/or setting forth reasons for disagreeing with the  decision.  A statement may be provided in lieu of a hearing only when the student and the College agree that this is the best course of action.   If a statement is provided, the College shall maintain the statement as part of the official education record for as long as the record is held by the Institution and shall include this statement when disclosing the record to an authorized party.

7.3 Within any specific timeframe a reasonable time after the student's written request for a formal hearing, the appropriate Vice-President shall arrange and hold a hearing.  The student shall be notified in advance of the date, place and time of the hearing.

7.4 The hearing shall be conducted by a hearing officer who does not have a direct interest in the outcome of the hearing.  The hearing officer may be an official of the College.  The student shall be afforded a full and fair opportunity to present evidence relevant to the issue raised.

7.5 The student may be assisted or represented at the hearing by one or more persons of her/his choice, including an attorney, at the student's expense.  Notification of the intent to have legal  representation must be disclosed to the hearing officer at least two working days prior to the scheduled hearing.

7.6 The hearing officer shall prepare a written decision, based solely on the evidence presented at the hearing, to the appropriate Vice-President.  The written decision shall issued within a reasonable period of time after the hearing and shall include a summary of the evidence presented and the reasons for the decision.

7.7 The appropriate Vice-President shall notify the student and the appropriate record custodian of the decision and shall provide a written copy of the hearing officer's decision to the student and to the record custodian.

7.7.1    If the challenged information is determined by the hearing officer to be inaccurate, misleading or otherwise in violation of privacy rights, the student  shall be informed in writing of the change.

7.7.2    If the challenged information is not determined by the hearing officer to be inaccurate, misleading or otherwise in violation of privacy rights, the student shall be informed in writing that:

  • The student has the right to place in the record a statement commenting on the challenged information and/or setting forth reasons for disagreeing with the hearing officer's decision.
  • The College maintains the statement as part of the official education record for as long as the record is held by the institution.
  • The College includes this statement when disclosing the record to an authorized party.

7.8 Students have the right to file a complaint, with the U.S. Department of Education, concerning alleged failures by CNM to comply with FERPA requirements.

8. Copies of Education Records

8.1 The right to inspect and review education records under FERPA does not mean that a student has a right to copy the record, unless circumstances effectively prevent the  student from exercising the right to inspect and review his/her education records. The College may charge a fee for copies.

8.2 CNM reserves the right to deny student requests for transcripts or copies of records, not required to be made available by FERPA, if the student has an unpaid financial obligation to the College.

9. Definitions

FERPA

The acronym for Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended.

Student

A student, as defined in this administrative directive, refers to an individual who is or has been admitted to and who has been in attendance at CNM for whom education records have been generated.

Education Records

Those records, files, documents and other materials maintained by an institution or its authorized agent that contain information directly related to a student.

School Official

A person employed by the College in an administrative, supervisory, academic/research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the College has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor or collection agent); a person serving on the Governing Board or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another official in performing his or her tasks.

Legitimate Educational Interest

It means the demonstrated need to know by those officials of an institution who act in the student's educational interest, including faculty, administration, student employees, clerical and professional employees, and other persons who manage student records information. Any school official who needs information about a student in the course of performing instructional, supervisory, advisory, or administrative duties for the College has a legitimate educational interest.

Custodian of Records

The Custodian of Records is a person designated to be responsible for the maintenance, care, and security of student records, in compliance with the terms of  FERPA: The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974

Records Not Available Under FERPA

Students shall have access to all education records concerning them maintained by the university with the exception of the following:

  1. A personal record kept by a University faculty or staff member which meets the following tests:
    • It is in the personal possession of the individual who made it.
    • Information contained in it has never been revealed or made available to any other person except the maker's temporary substitute.
  2. An employment record which is used only in relation to a student's employment by the university, except where an individual in attendance at the university is employed as a result of his or her status as a student.
  3. Records relating to a student which are created or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist or other recognized professional or para-professional acting in his or her professional or para-professional capacity, or assisting that capacity, which are used in connection with providing treatment to a student, are not disclosed to anyone other than the individuals providing the treatment.
  4. Financial records and statements of a student's parents/legal guardians.
  5. Confidential letters and statements of recommendation which are placed in the education records of a student prior to January 1, 1975.
  6. Confidential letters and statements of recommendation which are placed in the education records of a student on or after January 1, 1975, if the student has waived his or her right to inspect and review the letters or statements.
  7. Records concerning admissions to an academic component of the university which the student has never attended.

Forms

Support Materials

Reference Materials