Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

Student Version

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, and the right 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 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 their education records within 45 days of the day the college receives a request for access
  • The right to request an amendment to the student's education records that the student believes are inaccurate and misleading
  • The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
  • The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the college to comply with 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, DC 20202-4605

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 under FERPA. Students who have applied to 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, on which the parents declared the student as a dependent, must be submitted to the Office of the Registrar 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, email, magnetic tape, film, diskette, etc.) that is in the possession of any school official. This includes transcripts or other records obtained from a school at 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; and
  • Records of an institution that contain information about an individual obtained only after that person is no longer a student at that institution, i.e., alumni records.

What is directory information?

Institutions may disclose information of a student without violating FERPA if it has designated that information as "directory information." For MCC as well as the other Connecticut Community Colleges, directory information includes a student's:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Dates of attendance
  • Full time or part time enrollment status
  • Awards and honors
  • Major/Program of Study
  • Graduation date

How does a student authorize release of his or her education records in the form of an academic transcript?

Students must authorize the release of their transcripts by written requests with signatures or by completing and signing transcript request forms available in the Office of the Registrar or on the MCC web page. There is no fee for unofficial transcripts. The receipt of written request via fax with signature to release an education record is permissible.

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 veteran's benefits);
  • To organizations conducting studies for or on behalf of educational institutions;
  • To parents of a dependent student as defined by the Internal Revenue Code;
  • To a person in response to a lawfully issued subpoena or court order, as long as the college first makes a reasonable attempt to notify the student. Normally, the college will comply with a subpoena after two weeks have elapsed from the day the subpoena was received;
  • In a health or safety emergency;
  • To release directory information; and,
  • To release the results of a disciplinary hearing to an alleged victim of a crime of violence.

How does a student refuse to allow the College to release their directory information?

A student has the right to refuse to permit the College to release directory information about the student, except for school officials with a legitimate educational interest and others as indicated in previous paragraph. To do so, a student choosing to exercise this right must notify the Office of the Registrar in writing at Great Path, P.O. Box 1046, Manchester, CT 06045. Once filed, this notification becomes a permanent part of the student's record until the student instructs the College, in writing, to remove it. A Request for Nondisclosure of Directory Information form is available in the Registrar's Office or via email at registrarinfo@mcc.commnet.edu.

View the faculty/staff version of FERPA »

Last Update: July 29 2011
For additional information, contact: 860-512-3210