The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974, also known as the Buckley Amendment, helps protect the privacy of student education records. The Act provides three basic rights:
- The right to inspect and review the education records relating to the student maintained by the schools the student attends.
- The right to challenge and require the school 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 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 recipients of federal aid administered by the Secretary of Education. For more detailed information refer to the Notification of Rights under FERPA for Postsecondary Institutions which is available from the Office of Student Records.
Who is protected under FERPA?
- Students, who are currently or formerly enrolled, regardless of their age or status in regard to parental dependency, are protected.
- Students who have applied to but have not attended Richland Community College and deceased students do not come under FERPA guidelines.
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 in whatever medium (handwriting, computer media, print, e-mail, magnetic tape, film, diskette, microfilm and microfiche, video or audio tape, etc.) that is in the possession of any school official.
Directory Information is information that is generally not considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. Under the terms of FERPA, Richland Community College, has established the following as directory information:
- Telephone number
- E-mail address
- Grade level
- Date and place of birth
- Program in which enrolled
- Participation in officially-recognized institutional or extracurricular activities
- Dates of attendance
- Certificates or degree(s) conferred (including dates)
- Honors and awards received
- Most recent educational institution or agency attended
- Student ID number, user ID, or other unique personal identifier used to communicate in electronic systems that cannot be used to access education records without a PIN, password, etc.
The above information may be released for any purpose at the discretion of our institution. However, FERPA states that each student has the right to withhold any or all of the information. Richland Community College will honor the student’s request to restrict the release of “Directory Information.” Once restricted, that information cannot be released without the written consent of the student. A Request to Opt Out of Directory Information must be on file with the Office of Student Records. This form also prevents your name from appearing in the newspaper for honors, graduation and/or other awards or in the graduation program.
Parental Access to Children’s Education Records
At the postsecondary level, parents have no inherent right to inspect a student’s education records. The right to inspect is limited solely to the student. Records may be released to parents ONLY under the following circumstances: (1) through the written consent of the student, (2) in compliance with a subpoena, or (3) by producing a copy of the most recent Federal Income Tax form showing that the student was claimed as a dependent.
What is the procedure for obtaining confidential information?
In order for a third party (i.e., parent) to receive information about a student (i.e., their son or daughter), Richland Community College must have on file in the Office of Student Records a Student Information Release Authorization Form. This form may be completed in person in N134 or online through myRichland.
Statement of Nondiscrimination and Equal Opportunity
Richland Community College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age in its programs and activities and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. The following person(s) has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Gabriela Brunner |Title IX Coordinator | One College Park, Decatur, IL 62521| 217-875-7211 Ext. 6280; Leanne Brooks | Section 504 Coordinator | One College Park, Decatur, IL 62521 | 217-875-7211 Ext. 6362. For further information on notice of non-discrimination, visit http://wdcrobcolp01.ed.gov/CFAPPS/OCR/contactus.cfm for the address and phone number of the office that serves your area, or call 1-800-421-3481.