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The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that protects the confidentiality of student educational records. Once a student reaches 18 years of age or attends a postsecondary institution, he or she becomes an “eligible student,” and all rights formerly given to parents under FERPA transfer to the student.
Under FERPA, an eligible student has the following rights:
The right to have access to his or her education records
The right to seek to have the records amended
The right to have control over the disclosure of personally identifiable information from the records (except in certain circumstances specified in the FERPA regulations)
The right to file a complaint with the Department of Education
Piedmont Technical College will disclose information from a student’s educational record only with the written consent of the student. FERPA allows disclosure of information without written consent under the following circumstances:
School officials with a legitimate educational interest may obtain access to personally identifiable information within the education record. A school official is defined as an employee of the college or a college contractor to whom we have outsourced institutional services or functions. A legitimate educational interest is defined as the need to review an education record in order to fulfill a professional responsibility as part of the individual’s job at the college.
Disclosure in connection with financial aid for which the student has applied or which the student has received.
Parents of a “dependent student” may have access to student records if the parents demonstrate to the college that the student is a dependent by providing the most recent tax documentation.
Disclosure to appropriate parties, including parents, regarding the student’s violation of any federal, state, or local law, or of any rule or policy of the institution, governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance.
To comply with a judicial order or a lawfully issued subpoena.
Disclosure of “directory information.” Directory information is general information that may be released by the institution for any purpose, at its discretion, unless a signed request for nondisclosure is on file with the Student Records Office. The following is considered directory information at Piedmont Technical College:
a. student name
c. e-mail address
d. telephone number
e. major field of study
f. dates of attendance
g. degrees and awards received
h. enrollment status
j. grade level or year
Additional conditions under which FERPA allows information to be released without student consent can be found at the following website: http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/students.html
Students have the right to withhold disclosure of directory information under FERPA. To withhold disclosure, students must complete the FERPA Non-Disclosure Request Form in the Student Records Office.
Occasionally, colleges and universities request directory information on our students in order to offer transfer opportunities to graduates. It is the policy of Piedmont Technical College to release the name and address of students only when requested in writing by public or private, not for profit, institutions of higher education. We are required to release this information to the military when requested. Information is not released for students who request that their records remain confidential.
Records created by a campus law enforcement unit, created for a law enforcement purpose, and maintained by the law enforcement unit, are not “education records” subject to the protections of FERPA. As such, the law enforcement unit may disclose law enforcement unit records to third parties without the eligible student’s prior written consent. However, education records, or personally identifiable information from education records, which the school shares with the law enforcement unit do not lose their protected status as education records because they are shared with the law enforcement unit.
Students have the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the College 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 20202-5901