What is FERPA?
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 helps protect the privacy of student education records. The Act provides for the right to inspect and review education records, the right to seek to amend those records and to limit disclosure of information from the records. The intent of the legislation is to protect the rights of students and to ensure the privacy and accuracy of education records. The Act applies to all institutions that are the recipients of federal aid administered by the Secretary of Education.
What rights does FERPA afford students with respect to their education records?
- The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days after the day the Ogeechee Technical College receives a request for access.
A student should submit to the registrar, dean, head of the academic department, or other appropriate official, a written request that identifies the record(s) the student wishes to inspect. The school official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the school official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
* Request to Inspect and Review Educational Records
- If you have previously submitted and Objection to Release Student Directory Information form and have since decided that you would like to change that status, please complete the Buckley Revocation form and submit this form to the Office of the Registrar in person with appropriate ID as identified in the form directions.
- The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA.
A student who wishes to ask the school to amend a record should write the school official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record the student wants changed, and specify why it should be changed.
If the school decides not to amend the record as requested, the school will notify the student in writing of the decision and the student’s right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
- The right to provide written consent before the university discloses personally identifiable information (PII) from the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
The school discloses education records without a student’s prior written consent under the FERPA exception for disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the Ogeechee Technical College in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person serving on the board of trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee. A school official also may include a volunteer or contractor outside of the Ogeechee Technical College who performs an institutional service of function for which the school would otherwise use its own employees and who is under the direct control of the school with respect to the use and maintenance of PII from education records, such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent or a student volunteering to assist another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities for Ogeechee Technical College.
- The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the Ogeechee Technical 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 Ave., SW | Washington, D.C. 20202-5920
Who is protected under FERPA?
Students who are currently enrolled or formerly enrolled regardless of their age or status with regard to parental dependency. Students who have applied but have not attended an institution and deceased students do not come under FERPA guidelines.
Parents of students termed as “dependent” for income tax purposes may have access to the student’s education records. A copy of the parent’s most recent Federal Income Tax return, where the parents declared the student as a dependent, must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office to document “dependency.”
What are education records?
With certain exceptions, an education record is any record (1) from which a student can be personally identified and (2) maintained by the college. A student has the right of access to these records.
Education records include any records in whatever medium (handwritten, print, magnetic tape, film, diskette, etc.) that are in the possession of any school official. This includes transcripts or other records obtained from a school in which a student was previously enrolled.
What is not included in an education record?
- sole possession records or private notes held by school officials that are not accessible or released to other personnel,
- law enforcement or campus security records that are solely for law enforcement purposes and maintained solely by the law enforcement unit,
- records relating to individuals who are employed by the institution (unless contingent upon attendance),
- records relating to treatment provided by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist or other recognized professional or paraprofessional and disclosed only to individuals providing treatment,
- records of an institution that contain only information about an individual obtained after that person is no longer a student at that institution, i.e., alumni records.
What is directory information?
Institutions may disclose information on a student without violating FERPA if it has designated that information as “directory information.”
The Technical College System of Georgia and its technical colleges define "public directory information" as follows:
- Full name of the student
- Major and field(s) of study Enrollment Status (full-time, part-time, etc.)
- Degrees and awards and date received
- Dates of attendance
- Participation in official sports and activities
- Height and weight of athletic team members
- City of residence
- County of residence
The Technical College System of Georgia and its technical colleges define “non-public directory information” as follows:
- Email address
- Telephone Number
Non-public directory information is not available to the public but is available to any college official. If the student has indicated to restrict their data, then college officials can only access the information when it is needed for educational purposes.
How does a student authorize release of their education record in the form of an academic transcript?
Ogeechee Technical College has retained Credentials, Inc. to accept transcript orders online. Transcript requests can be made at www.ogeecheetech.edu/transcript-requests.
Who may have access to student information?
- The student and any outside party who has the student’s written request.
- School officials (as defined by the College) who have “legitimate educational interests.”
- Parents of a dependent student as defined by the Internal Revenue Code.
- A person in response to a lawfully issued subpoena or court order, as long as the College makes a reasonable attempt to notify the student first. Normally, the College will comply with a subpoena after two weeks have elapsed from the day the subpoena was received.
When is the student’s consent not required to disclose information?
When the disclosure is:
- to school officials (defined in policy) who have a legitimate educational interest,
- to federal, state, and local authorities involving an audit or evaluation of compliance with educational programs,
- in connection with financial aid; this includes Veterans’ benefits,
- to organizations conducting studies for or on behalf of educational institutions,
- to accrediting organizations,
- to parents of a dependent student,
- to comply with a judicial order or subpoena
- in a health or safety emergency,
- releasing directory information,
- releasing the results of a disciplinary hearing to an alleged victim of a crime of violence
How will increasing technology impact FERPA at Ogeechee Technical College?
The use of computerized record-keeping systems is increasing at a fast pace. We can anticipate that the distribution of electronic data will eventually replace most paper documents and provide much information about students to school officials through desktop terminals. It is the responsibility of each school official to understand their legal responsibilities under FERPA. The same principles of confidentiality that apply to paper records also apply to electronic data.
Annual Notice to Students