The Learning College Manual
Isothermal Community College in the execution of its responsibilities to students, must maintain accurate and confidential student records. The Student Services Division has the responsibility for maintaining these records in accordance with existing state laws, college policy, USA Patriot Act Solomon Amendment, and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 as amended.
Student Academic Record
The Admissions and Records Office will develop and, maintain a permanent academic record for each curriculum student who enrolls in the college. This record will include name, address, social security number, date of birth, sex, and major. The academic portion of the record will include courses taken, grades, hours attempted, hours earned, quality points, quality point averages, courses and credits transferred (if applicable), Dean’s List, academic probation or suspension, notation and degrees, diplomas or certificates earned. A transcript(s) of the official academic record may be released or obtained by the student upon written request to the Student Records Office. An official transcript will not be released unless all tuition, fees, and other obligations due the college have been satisfied.
Educational Records and Privacy Rights
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, is a Federal law which states (a) that a written institutional policy must be established and (b) that a statement of adopted procedures covering the privacy rights of students be made available. The law provides that the institution will maintain the confidentiality of student education records.
Isothermal Community College accords all the rights under the law to students who are declared independent. No one outside the institution shall have access to nor will the institution disclose any information from student’s education records without the written consent of students except to personnel within the institution, to accrediting agencies carrying out their accreditation function, to persons in compliance with a judicial order, and to persons in an emergency in order to protect the health or safety of students or other persons. All these exceptions are permitted under the Act.
Within the institution only those members, individually or collectively, acting in the student’s educational interest are allowed access to student education records. These members include personnel in the Offices of the Student Services Division (Admissions/Records, Financial Aid, Dean of Students and the Career and Testing Center) and academic personnel within the limitations of their need to know.
At its discretion Isothermal may provide Directory Information in accordance with the provisions of the Act to include: student name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, major field of study, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, the most recent previous educational agency or institution attended by the student, and participation in officially recognized activities. Students may withhold Directory Information by notifying the Student Records Office in writing within two weeks after the first day of class for any semester. Requests for non-disclosure will be honored by the institution for only one academic year; therefore, authorization to withhold Directory Information must be filed annually in the Student Records Office.
The law provides students with the right to inspect and review information contained in their education records, to challenge the contents of their education records, to have a hearing if the outcome of the challenge is unsatisfactory, and to submit explanatory statements for inclusion in their files if the decision of the hearing panel is unacceptable. The Dean of Students at Isothermal has been designated by the institution to coordinate the inspection and review procedures for student education records, which include admissions, personal, academic, and financial files. Students wishing to review their education records must make written requests to the Dean of Students listing the item or items of interest. Only records recovered by the Act will be made available within forty-five days of the request. Students may have copies made of their records with certain exceptions, (e.g., a copy of the academic record for which a financial or other “holds” exists). These copies would be made at the student’s expense. Education records do not include records of instructional, administrative, and educational personnel which are the sole possession of the maker and are not accessible or revealed to any individual except a temporary substitute, records of a law enforcement unit, student health records, employment records or alumni records. Health records, however, may be reviewed by physicians of the student’s choosing.
Students may not inspect and review the following as outlined by the Act: financial information submitted by their parents; confidential letters and recommendations associated with admissions, employment or job placement, to which they have waived their rights of inspection and review; or education records containing information about more than one student, in which case the institution will permit access only to that part of the record which pertains to the inquiring student.
Students who believe that their education records contain information that is inaccurate or misleading, or is otherwise in violation of their privacy or other rights, may discuss their problems informally with the Dean of Students (or designee). If the decisions are in agreement with the student’s request, the appropriate records will be amended. If not, the students will be notified within a reasonable period of time that the records will not be amended; and they will be informed by the Dean of Students of their right to a formal hearing. Student requests for a formal hearing must be made in writing to the Dean of Students, who within a reasonable period of time (30 days) after receiving such requests, will inform students of the date, place, and the time of the hearings. Students may present evidence relevant to the issues raised and may be assisted or represented at the hearings by one or more persons of their choice, including attorneys, at the students’ expense. The hearing panel which will adjudicate such challenges will be the Vice-President of Academic and Student Services, the appropriate Division Dean and the Dean of Students.
Decisions of the hearing panel will be final, will be based solely on the evidence presented at the hearing, and will consist of written statements summarizing the evidence and stating the reasons for the decision, and will be delivered to all parties concerned. The education records will be corrected or amended in accordance with the decision of the hearing panel, if the decision is in favor of the student. If the decision is unsatisfactory, the student may place with the education record statements commenting on the information in the records, or statements setting forth any reasons for disagreeing with the decisions of the hearing panel. The statement will be placed in the education records, maintained as part of the students’ records, and released whenever the records in question are disclosed.
Students who believe that the adjudications of their challenges were unfair or not in keeping with the provisions of the Act may request, in writing, assistance from the President of the institution to aid them in filing complaints with The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Office (FERPA).
A general statement of this policy will be published in the college catalog biennially and the full policy will be printed in the student handbook annually. Both the catalog and the student handbook are made available to students, faculty, and staff through print and the Isothermal Community College website. New students receive a student handbook and catalog as part of the enrollment process. Further information regarding this policy and the guidelines and procedures used to enforce it are available in the Student Services Office. The retention and disposition of records will be governed by the Public Records Retention and Disposition Schedule published by the North Carolina Community College System (revised 2001).
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
To fulfill the basic requirements for compliance with the Act, Isothermal Community College will safeguard disclosure of personally identifiable information about students, provide opportunity for challenge of the contents of education records, and maintain adequate records of requests and disclosures as detailed in this section.
Understanding key terms is essential to the interpretation of the Act and the final regulations for its implementation. Some definitions which carry substantive meaning for understanding the Act are listed here.
A. DEFNITION OF TERMS
Act: means the General Education Provisions Act. Title IV of Public Law 90-247, as mended.
Attendance: includes but is not limited to (a) attendance in person or by correspondence study (program) and (b) the period during which a person is working under a work-study (cooperative) program.
Directory Information: may include the following student information: student’s name, major fields of study, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, dates of attendance, degrees, honors and awards received, email address, photograph, and other similar information as defined by the institution.
Disclosure: is defined as permitting access to or the release, transfer or other communication of education records of the student or the personally identifiable information contained therein, orally, in writing, by electronic means, or by any other means to any party.
Educational Institution: means any public or private agency or institution which receives funds from any Federal program under the administrative responsibility of the Secretary of Education. The term refers to the institution as a whole, including all of its components.
Education Records: means those records which are (1) directly related to a student and (2) maintained by the institution or by a party acting for the institution. The term “education records” does not include:
- records of instructional, supervisory, administrative and certain educational personnel which are in the sole possession of the maker thereof, and are not accessible or revealed to any other individual except a substitute who performs on a temporary basis (as defined in the institutional personnel policy) the duties of the individual who made the records.
- records of a law enforcement or security unit of the institution which are maintained apart from other institutional records, maintained solely for law enforcement purposes, and are not disclosed to individuals other than law enforcement officers of the same jurisdiction so long as education records maintained by the institution are not disclosed to the personnel of the law enforcement unit.
- records relating to individuals, who are employed by the institution, which are made and maintained in the normal course of business, relate exclusively to individuals in their capacity as employees, and are not available for use for any other purpose. (Records of individuals in attendance at an institution who are employed as a result of their status as students are education records - e.g., work-study.)
- records relating to a student (See page 10 for definition of “student”) which are: created or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional, to be solely in connection with the provision of treatment to the student; and not disclosed to anyone other than individuals providing such treatment, so long as the records can be personally reviewed by a physician or other appropriate professional of the student’s choice. (Appropriateness may be determined by the institution.) “Treatment” in this context does not include remedial educational activities or activities which are part of the program of instruction at the institution.
- records of an institution which contain only information relating to a person after that person is no longer a student at the institution. (e.g., information gathered on the accomplishments of alumni).
Eligible Student: refers to a student who has reached the age of 18 or is attending an institution of post secondary education. Since these guidelines are specifically for postsecondary institutions, “student” as used in this document is presumed always to refer to an eligible student.
Financial Aid: means a payment of funds to an individual (or a payment in kind of tangible or intangible property to the individual) which is conditioned on the individual’s attendance at an educational agency or institution.
Institution of Postsecondary Education: means an institution which provides education to students beyond the secondary school level; “secondary school level” means the educational level (not beyond grade 12) at which secondary education is provided.
Legitimate Educational Interest: means the demonstrated need to know by those officials of an institution who act in the student’s educational interest, including faculty, administration, clerical and professional employees and other persons who manage student record information.
Panel: means the institutional body which will adjudicate in case where records are challenged.
Parent: includes a parent, a guardian, or an individual acting as a student’s parent in the absence of a parent or a guardian.
Party: means an individual, agency, institution or organization.
Personally Identifiable: means data or information which includes (1) the name of the student, the student’s parent, or other family members; (2) the student’s address; (3) a personal identifier (such as a social security number or student number); or (4) a list of personal characteristics, or other information which would make the student’s identity easily traceable.
Record: means any information or data recorded in any medium, (e.g., handwriting, print, tapes, film, microfilm, microfiche).
School Officials: are those members of an institution who act in the student’s educational interest within the limitations of their need to know, which may include faculty, administration, clerical, and professional employees and other persons who manage student record information.
Student: includes any individual with respect to whom an educational institution maintains education records. The term does not include an individual who has not been in attendance at the institution. An individual who is or has been enrolled in one component unit of an institution, who applies for admission to a second unit, has no right to inspect the records accumulated by the second unit until enrolled therein.
B. DISCLOSURE OF EDUCATION RECORD INFORMATION
- The College shall obtain written consent from students before disclosing any personally identifiable information from their education records (with the exceptions as noted in Sections 2, 3 and 4 below). Such written consent must:
- specify the records to be released.
- state the purpose of the disclosure.
- identify the party or class of parties to whom disclosure may be made.
- be signed and dated by the student.
- The College will disclose education records or components thereof without written consent of students to:
- Students who request information from their own records.
(Written request from the student is required.)
- Authorized representatives of the following for audit and evaluation of Federal- and State-supported programs:
- Comptroller General of the United States
- The Secretary, or
- State educational authorities
- State and local officials to whom disclosure is required by State Statute adopted prior to November 19, 1974.
- Veteran’s Administration
- Students who request information from their own records.
- The College will disclose education records or components thereof without written consent of students to:
- personnel within the institution determined by the institution to have legitimate educational interest.
- persons or organizations providing to the students financial aid or determining financial aid decisions concerning eligibility amount, condition and enforcement of terms of said aid.
- organizations conducting studies to develop, validate and administer predictive tests, to administer student aid programs or improve instruction. Those organizations may not disclose personal identification of students and information secured must be destroyed when no longer needed for their projects. Institutions are advised to obtain such assurance in writing.
- accrediting organizations carrying out their accrediting functions.
- parents of a student who have established that student’s status as a dependent according to Internal Revenue Code of 1954, Section 152.
- persons in compliance with a judicial order or a lawfully issued subpoena, provided that the institution first makes a reasonable attempt to notify the student.
- persons in an emergency, if the knowledge of information, in fact, is necessary to protect the health or safety of students or other persons.
- other school officials, including teachers, within the educational institution or local educational agency who have been determined by the institution to have a legitimate educational interest (professional “need to know”).
- The College may release without written consent those records identified as
public or Directory Information for students who are currently enrolled, provided the following conditions are met prior to disclosure:
- that the institution inform the students of categories designated as public or Directory Information. (See General Policy)
- that students be given opportunity to refuse disclosure of any or all categories.
- that the students be given a reasonable period of time in which to state such refusals in writing.
- Institutions may release without written consent those items identified as public or Directory Information on any student not currently enrolled.
- Institutions are responsible for informing parties to whom personal identifiable information is released that recipients are not permitted to disclose the information to others without written consent of the student.
C. CHALLENGE OF THE CONTENTS OF EDUCATION RECORDS
- The College provides students with an opportunity to challenge the contents of their education records which the students consider to be inaccurate, misleading or other rights.
- Officials who receive challenge requests must decide within a reasonable period of time whether or not corrective action consistent with the students’ request will be taken. Students must be notified of the decisions. If the decisions are in agreement with the students’ requests, the appropriate records must be amended.
- Students who are not provided full relief sought by their challenges will be informed by the appropriate official of their rights to a formal hearing on the matter.
- Student requests for a formal hearing must be in writing. Within a reasonable period of time after receiving the requests, the appropriate official (Dean of Students) must inform students of the date, place and time of the hearings.
- Students will be afforded a full and fair opportunity to present evidence relevant to the issue raised. Students may be assisted or represented at the hearing by one or more persons of their choice, including an attorney at such student’s expense.
- Hearing may be conducted by any party, including an official of the institution, provided such person does not have a direct interest in the outcome of the hearing.
- Decisions of the college will be final, will be based solely on the evidence presented at the hearings and will consist of written statements summarizing the evidence and stating the reasons for the decisions which will be delivered to all parties concerned.
- Institutions will correct or amend any education record in accordance with the decision of the hearing panel if the decision is in favor of the student.
- Should the decision be unsatisfactory to the student, the appropriate official (Dean of Students) must inform the student that:
- the student has the opportunity to place with the education record a statement commenting on the information in the record, or a statement setting forth any reason for disagreeing with the decision of the hearing panel.
- the statement placed in the education record by the student will be maintained as part of the record for so long as the record is held by the institution.
- this record, when disclosed to an authorized part must include the statement filed by the student.
- Rights of the challenge cannot be used to question substantive educational judgments which are correctly recorded. These rights of challenge are not intended to allow students to contest, for example, a grade in a course because it is felt a higher grade should have been assigned.
D. RECORDS OF REQUESTS AND DISCLOSURES
The College is required to maintain records of requests and disclosures of personally identifiable information. The records of requests, whether granted or not, shall include the names and addresses of the person(s) who requested the information and their legitimated interests in the information. Records of requests and disclosures need not be maintained for:
- those requests made by students for their own use.
- those disclosures made in response to written requests from students.
- those made by school officials.
- those specified as Directory Information.
The records of disclosures and requests for disclosures are considered a part of students’ education records; therefore, they must be retained as long as the education records to which they refer are retained by the institutions.
Adopted: May 22, 1991
Policy No: 601-02-07