The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

 

FERPA

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that protects the confidentiality of student educational records. It states that the institution will not disclose any personally identifiable information from those records without the written consent of the student. The law allows several exceptions that permit school officials at the institution to inspect and to review the educational records of students and that permit certain information to be disclosed to the public and to the parents of students with proper identification.

Student Educational Rights and Privacy
FERPA provides students the right:

  • To inspect and review their own educational records;
  • To request corrections in their own educational records;
  • To withhold the release of personally identifiable information from their own educational records (see Directory Information);
  • To file a complaint with the US Department of Education concerning institutional compliance;
  • Obtain a copy of the institutional policy concerning access to educational records.

FERPA does not provide students the right:

  • To review copies of confidential letters and confidential statements for which they have waived that right;
  • To review personal/unofficial records kept by instructors, advisors, and administrators;
  • To review financial statements of their parents;
  • To review campus law enforcement records maintained apart from their education records.

FERPA Definitions
Student: any person who has attended or is attending Greenville Technical College regardless of the mode of instructional delivery (traditional, online, and hybrid)
Parent: a natural parent, a guardian, or an individual acting as a parent in the absence of a parent or guardian
School official: a person who has a legitimate educational interest in the records of a student (see Disclosure of Educational Records)
Educational records: any record (in handwriting, print, tapes, film, or other medium) maintained by Greenville Technical College which is directly related to the student

Non-educational records:

  • Sole possession records that are personal records kept by an instructor or administrator as a sole possession which is not accessible or revealed to any other person except a temporary substitute for the maker of the record;
  • Employment records of an individual whose employment is not contingent on the fact that he or she is a student, provided the record is used only in relation to the individual's employment;
  • Law enforcement records created and maintained by the campus security for law enforcement purposes;
  • Medical records of a physician, psychologist, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional created, maintained or used only for treatment of a student; these records will be made available only to those persons providing the treatment;
  • Alumni records which contain information about a student after he or she is no longer in attendance at Greenville Technical College and which do not relate to the person as a student.

Directory Information is information contained in a student's educational record that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy, if disclosed. These items include the student's:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Telephone number
  • E-mail address
  • Photograph
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Major field of study
  • Participation in officially recognized sports and activities
  • Weight and height of members of athletic teams
  • Dates of attendance (year and semester)
  • Enrollment status (undergraduate; full-time or part-time)
  • Degrees
  • Honors and awards
  • Most recent educational agency or institution attended

Directory Information is generally considered to not be harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed and may be released WITHOUT written consent of the student. Directory Information allows an institution to include information on the student in programs and in news releases of campus activities and productions, in the yearbook, in honor recognitions, in the graduation program, and on the college web site. Directory Information does not include a student's race, gender, social security number, academic grades, grade point average (GPA), country of citizenship, and religion. Releasing this information would be a violation of privacy if released without the student's permission.

Educational Records

  • Educational records are maintained in the Office of Student Records.
  • Students may request to review their own educational records in the Office of Student Records

FERPA states that when a student reaches the age of 18 or is attending an institution of post secondary education, the rights of access to student records "transfer from the parents to the student." Parent's rights are terminated unless the parents either obtain written consent from their son or daughter or submit proof that they claimed the student as a dependent in their most recent federal tax return.

  • Students must provide written authorization for grades or transcripts to be sent to any other address or released to any other person.
  • Official transcripts are released only upon the written request of the student.
  • Transcripts will not be released if the student is financially indebted to the College.

* * * * *
Disclosure of Educational Records
Greenville Technical College will disclose information from a student's educational record only with the written consent of the student. In addition, a picture ID is required of anyone requesting information in person in the Office of Student Records. Exceptions may be made in the following circumstances:

  • To Greenville Technical College officials with a legitimate education interest:
    • requests must go through the personnel in the Office of Student Records;
    • the reviewer must sign, date, and state the purpose of access on the Information Release Authorization Form;
  • To federal, state, or local educational authorities, in compliance with legal requirements or for legitimate educational research, provided that the confidentiality of the records is to be maintained and that written authorization is provided by the campus office or agency needing this information; a picture ID is required of the person requesting the information.
  • To persons or organizations providing financial aid to the student, or determining financial aid decisions concerning eligibility, amount, condition, and enforcement of terms of said aid;
  • To the parent(s) of a dependent student (see Educational Records);
  • To comply with a lawfully issued subpoena, in which case the institution must first make a reasonable effort to notify the student of the intent to release the requested information;
  • To the appropriate persons in the event of a health or safety emergency;
  • To the appropriate persons designated to release directory information (see Directory Information);
  • To the Attorney General only to investigate or enforce legal requirements applicable to federally supported education programs;
  • To courts of a disciplinary proceeding brought by a parent or student against an institution of higher education, or by an institution against a parent or student;
  • To disclose the outcome of a disciplinary proceeding against a student in specified circumstances;
  • To parents and legal guardians of students under age 21, without regard to whether the student is a dependent, if the student breaks laws or violates policies relating to the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance.

Nondisclosure of Educational Records
Greenville Technical College will not disclose information from a student's educational record

  • If the parent that claims the student as a dependent does not want his or her financial information disclosed to his or her spouse or former spouse; a request must be made in writing to the Office of Student Records;
  • To a parent who is a documented perpetrator of domestic violence; a request must be made in writing with appropriate documentation to the Office of Student Records;
  • To requests made by third parties without written authorization by the student;
  • To requests made in person without proper authorization;
  • To requests made in person without a picture ID of the person making the request
  • To requests without a written signature by the person making the request;
  • To requests made by a student or a third party by telephone or e-mail, regardless of the permission status.

Notice of Rights and Policy
Copies of this policy are available in the Student Records Office, Admissions and Registration Center, McAlister Square, Suite 400. Students do not have access to confidential letters or statements of recommendation placed in education records before January 1, 1975 or after January 1, 1975 if the student waived his/her right of access as permitted by law. Questions concerning this law and GTC's procedures concerning release of academic information may be directed to the Office of Student Records at 864-250-8119.

Complaints
Complaints regarding alleged failures to comply with the provisions of FERPA may be submitted in writing to the Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW, Washington, D.C. 20202-4605.