The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that 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.
FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children’s education records. These rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level. Students to whom the rights have transferred are “eligible students.”
- Parents or eligible students have the right to inspect and review the student’s education records maintained by the school. Schools are not required to provide copies of records unless, for reasons such as great distance, it is impossible for parents or eligible students to review the records. Schools may charge a fee for copies.
- Parents or eligible students have the right to request that a school correct records which they believe to be inaccurate or misleading. If the school decides not to amend the record, the parent or eligible student then has the right to a formal hearing. After the hearing, if the school still decides not to amend the record, the parent or eligible student has the right to place a statement with the record setting forth his or her view about the contested information.
- Generally, schools must have written permission from the parent or eligible student in order to release any information from a student’s education record. However, FERPA allows schools to disclose those records, without consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions (34 CFR § 99.31):
- School officials with legitimate educational interest;
- Other schools to which a student is transferring;
- Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes;
- Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student;
- Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school;
- Accrediting organizations;
- To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena;
- Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies; and
- State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific State law.
Schools may disclose, without consent, “directory” information such as a student’s name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors and awards, and dates of attendance. However, schools must tell parents and eligible students about directory information and allow parents and eligible students a reasonable amount of time to request that the school not disclose directory information about them. Schools must notify parents and eligible students annually of their rights under FERPA. The actual means of notification (special letter, inclusion in a PTA bulletin, student handbook, or newspaper article) is left to the discretion of each school.
ESCC Policy and Procedure for Implementation of FERPA
The following is the policy and procedure of ESCC for implementation of FERPA.
- As part of the application for admission to ESCC, each student must supply official transcripts from all colleges attended and must complete the application for admission including required information regarding in-state domicile. High school transcripts may be required for some programs.
An ESCC student may view any of these records in his/her admission file and may obtain copies; however, these copies will be stamped “Unofficial Copy Issued to Student.” ESCC will not send copies of these records or transcripts to other institutions. Students can also access and print unofficial transcripts on-line via MyESCC. Requests to view or receive paper copies of these records may be made in person to the registrar who compiles and maintains these records. In addition, the law provides access to these records for persons from various federal and state agencies, auditors and accreditation personnel. Also, ESCC staff with a “legitimate need to know” have access, as determined by the Coordinator of Student /Enrollment Services. These include the following:
- Student Services staff who perform admissions, records, financial aid, counseling, and job placement functions;
- Each faculty member who teaches or advises the student; and
- Administrators and College committee members making decisions which affect the admission, academic, financial aid, or disciplinary status of the student
If a student believes that the documents submitted for admission contain an error, the student must contact the institution or agency which sent the documents to ESCC.
- The College maintains an academic file which contains the courses, grades, term grade point average, and cumulative grade point average for each semester attended; letters of probation, suspension or dismissal; and letters announcing honors or other award
Those with a “legitimate need to know,” the federal, state and accreditation officials mentioned previously, and Accomack and Northampton County school officials in compliance with Virginia law, have access to these records. A student has a right to see any of his/her records and to receive an unofficial student transcript. An official transcript prepared by the registrar with appropriate signature and College seal will be sent to any individual or organization designated by the student.
To request an official transcript, visit the Transcript Requests page or contact the Student Services Help Desk at 757.789.1720.
Other than those with a “legitimate need to know,” those permitted access by law, or those authorized by the student, records will not be released nor will access be granted to any other person. Requests for access to records or for copies of records should be addressed to the registrar.
If a student believes that the record which ESCC maintains is incorrect, the student should prepare a brief written explanation of the inaccuracy and present it to the registrar.
- At the end of each term, the Office of Student Services releases the names of students who earned various honors. Any student who does not wish to be recognized for honors must contact the Coordinator of Student /Enrollment Services and complete the appropriate form by the last examination day of the semester.
- In accordance with Virginia law and with assurances that the information will be used solely for the evaluation and improvement of instructional programs, the Coordinator of Student / Enrollment Services releases to designated school officials in Accomack and Northampton Counties personally identifiable information on graduates of those counties who enroll at ESCC.
- Students who apply for financial aid are required to submit a variety of forms detailing personal, and in some instances, parental income. Access to or release of this information is treated in the same manner as other information covered by FERPA. Students who wish to see their financial aid records should see the enrollment services assistant for financial aid or the Coordinator of Student / Enrollment Services. Parental information will not be released to other parties without the written permission of the parents.
- In disciplinary hearings resulting from the alleged commission of a violent crime on campus or at a College-sponsored activity, the College will release to the alleged victim the results of the disciplinary proceeding
College staff processes requests for information once weekly. Requests for information should be made well in advance of the date the information is needed. Anyone who has questions or wishes clarification of any aspect of this policy should see the Coordinator of Student / Enrollment Services.