The Federal Education Right to Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) is a federal mandate designed to protect the privacy of students’ records. It includes academic records, financial aid records, attendance records, and any other personally identifiable information collected by the college that, if shared, could violate the privacy rights of current and former students.
As a result of FERPA, students and former students have the following rights:
- To inspect and review educational records.
- To request an amendment of educational records believed to be inaccurate or misleading.
- To consent to the disclosure of personally identifiable information and, conversely, to block the disclosure of information that is considered “directory” in nature.
- To file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the college to comply with the requirements of FERPA.
What is Directory Information—the information which can be shared without a student’s prior consent?
At Prince George’s Community College, directory information includes the following: name, address, telephone number, curriculum, participation in officially recognized college activities and sports, dates of attendance including whether or not the student is currently enrolled, full-time vs. part-time status, and degrees earned or awards received.
What does FERPA consider to be part of a student’s private educational record? And, when may this information be shared with a third party?
Information that may not be shared without the student’s written consent include the following:
- Social Security Number or any other unique identifier which would allow a student to be individually identified.
- Grades and transcripts.
- Test scores.
- Academic standing—warning, probation, or dismissal.
- Current class schedule, including day, time, or location of classes.
- Financial information—amount of bill, who paid it, or how it was paid.
- Attendance records.
Personally identifiable information may be shared in the following situations:
- The student has signed a release which is on file in the Office of Records and Registration.
- The information is requested by another PGCC office or employee with a legitimate educational interest in the information requested.
- The information has been subpoenaed and the student has been notified.
- It has been requested by an authorized representative of a federal- or state-supported program in order to comply with legal requirements related to those programs.
Please click here for the College's Consent for Access to Educational Records. The Consent for Access to Educational Records form is also available in the Office of Records and Registration, Bladen Hall, Room 126.
FERPA Annual Notice to Reflect Possible Federal and State Data Collection and Use
As of January 3, 2012, the U.S. Department of Education's FERPA regulations expand the circumstances under which your education records and personally identifiable information (PII) contained in such records — including your Social Security Number, grades, or other private information — may be accessed without your consent. First, the U.S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or state and local education authorities ("Federal and State Authorities") may allow access to your records and PII without your consent to any third party designated by a Federal or State Authority to evaluate a federal- or state-supported education program. The evaluation may relate to any program that is "principally engaged in the provision of education," such as early childhood education and job training, as well as any program that is administered by an education agency or institution. Second, Federal and State Authorities may allow access to your education records and PII without your consent to researchers performing certain types of studies, in certain cases even when we object to or do not request such research. Federal and State Authorities must obtain certain use-restriction and data security promises from the entities that they authorize to receive your PII, but the Authorities need not maintain direct control over such entities. In addition, in connection with Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems, State Authorities may collect, compile, permanently retain, and share without your consent PII from your education records, and they may track your participation in education and other programs by linking such PII to other personal information about you that they obtain from other Federal or State data sources, including workforce development, unemployment insurance, child welfare, juvenile justice, military service, and migrant student records systems.
Rachel Poleto, Registrar
Bladen Hall, Room 126