Notification of Student Rights under FERPA
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99), a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records, applies to all federally funded schools. FERPA provides parents with certain rights to their children’s education records. These rights transfer to the student at the age of 18 or during enrollment at a higher education institution. FERPA provides students with rights to their education records, including:
1. The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days of the day Whatcom Community College (hereinafter referred to as “the College”) receives a request for access.
Students submit a written request to the registrar, identifying the record(s) they wish to inspect. The registrar coordinates access and notifies the student with details to inspect the records. If the records are maintained by another College official, the registrar will refer the student to the correct College official.
2. The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA.
Students interested in amending a record submit a written request to the responsible College official. The request identifies which part of the record needs to be changed and provides reasoning for the change. Once the College finalizes a decision, students are notified in writing, including the student’s right to a hearing regarding the amendment request.
3. The right to provide written consent before the College discloses personally identifiable information (PII) from the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. FERPA authorizations include:
- Disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interest. A school official is a person employed by the College in an administrative, supervisory, academic or 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, third party servicers such as the National Student Clearinghouse, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks.
- Volunteers or contractors outside of the College performing institutional services or functions under the direct control of the College with respect to the use and maintenance of PII from education records. Examples include attorneys, auditors, collection agents, or student volunteers assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. College volunteers or contractors have a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility for the College.
- The Solomon Amendment authorizes disclosure of “student recruitment information” for military recruiting purposes without student consent. Disclosed information for currently enrolled students over the age of 16 includes name, address, telephone listing, year of birth, class level, academic major, degrees received, and most recent previous educational institution.
4. The right to prevent disclosure of directory information.
The College routinely publishes and discloses student directory information. Whatcom Community College defines directory information as: address, email address, telephone number, field of study, weight and height of athletes, most recent previous school attended, photographs, date of birth, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, honor roll, enrollment status (full or part time), dates of attendance, and degrees/awards (including names of scholarships). A College official will determine whether to disclose directory information if requestor presents a legitimate need.
To prevent disclosure of personally identifiable directory/student recruitment information, students sign and submit a “notice of non-disclosure” form to the admissions and registration office, Laidlaw Center, 102.
5. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Whatcom Community 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 20202-5920.
The College will publish this notice in its College catalog and on its public website, and will reference it in its class schedule publications. The College’s complete FERPA policy is contained in Washington Administrative Code (WAC) 132U-280.