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Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA)

FERPA helps protect the privacy of student education rights.  The act provides three basic rights:

  • The right to inspect and review the education relating to the student maintained by the schools the student attends
  • The right to challenge and require the schools to amend any portion of the education records concerning the student that is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights
  • The right to require the school to obtain written consent prior to the disclosure of personally identifiable information,  except in those instances specifically noted in the statute

The act applies to all institutions that are recipients of federal funding and administered by the Secretary of Education.

Who is protected under FERPA?

  • Students, who are currently or formerly enrolled in credit and non-credit classes, regardless of their age or status in regard to parental dependency, are protected.
  • FERPA does not apply to records of applicants for admission who are denied acceptance or, if accepted, do not attend GCC.

What are education records?

With certain exceptions, an education record is any record (1) from which a student can be personally identified and (2) is maintained by the college.  Education records include any records maintained by the college except for 1) those in the sole possession of the maker and used as a memory maker and not shared with another person, 2) records of the law enforcement unit of the institution, subject to the provisions of section 99.8, 3) human resource related information, 4) medical treatment information, 5) information received after an individual is no longer a student, 6) grades on peer-graded papers before they are collected and recorded by the teacher.

What is Directory Information?

At GCC, directory information is the following:

  • Student’s name
  • Student’s major
  • Dates of Attendance
  • Graduation date(s)
  • Honors conferred
  • Town/state

Can parents access children’s education records?

  • Under FERPA, once a student reaches the age of 18 OR attends a school beyond the secondary level, they become an eligible student and all rights formerly given to parents are transferred to the student.
  • At the postsecondary level, parents have no inherent right to access a student’s education record.  The right of access in limited solely to the student, even if the student is under 18.  Records may be released to parents ONLY under the following circumstances (1) through written consent of the student, (2) in compliance with a subpoena.

Authorizing access to academic records

A student may grant access to their academic and financial information to a third party. Information on access to billing and financial information can be obtained from the Bursar’s Office. Release of academic information is permitted via the Student Academic Information Release Authorization form.

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