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The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

Release of Student Information

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 prohibits the access and release of student educational records without the student’s written consent.

By completing the FERPA Release Form, the student allows South Piedmont Community College to verbally disclose information to indicated parties who appear in person with a government-issued picture ID.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 grants certain rights, privileges, and protections relative to individually identifiable student educational records which are maintained by SPCC. Specifically, SPCC has adopted the following general guidelines and specific procedures on access to and release of student records to officials of another school where the student seeks or intends to enroll, or where the student is already enrolled if the disclosure is for purposes related to the student’s enrollment or transfer, subject to the requirements of §99.34 (§99.31 (a)(2)).

Directory Information

Certain information is considered to be “directory information” and may be used for directory purposes unless a student specifically requests directory information to be protected. SPCC may, although not required, include all of the information listed. In accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), directory information relating to a student may include the following:

  • Student’s name
  • Major field of study
  • Dates of attendance
  • Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
  • Degrees, honors, and awards received

The college will not release directory information for marketing or solicitation purposes.

Right of the College to Refuse Access

SPCC reserves the right to refuse permission to students to inspect the following records:

  • Financial statement of a students’ parents
  • Letters and statements of recommendation for which a student has waived their rights of access or which were filed before January 1, 1975
  • Confidential letters and statements of recommendation concerning admission, employment, honor or honorary recognition if a student has signed a waiver of their right of access
  • Record being withheld for failure to meet financial obligations

Disclosure of Educational Records

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) gives parents certain rights with respect to their children’s education records. These rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level. Educational Records means those records, files, documents, and other materials that contain information directly related to a student and are maintained by SPCC or by any person acting for the College. Not included in the term “educational records” are records of instructional, supervisory, and administrative personnel and records created or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional or para-professional acting in his/her professional capacity.

Any student has the right to his/her educational records. This includes the right to:

  • Inspect and review the contents of these records.
  • Obtain copies of those records at the cost of reproducing those copies.
  • A response from the custodian of the records to reasonable requests for explanations and interpretations of those records.
  • An opportunity for a hearing to challenge the content of those records.

Disclosure of Educational Records to Third Parties

SPCC will disclose information from a student’s educational records only with the written consent of the student, except to:

  • School officials who have a legitimate educational interest.
  • Certain officials of the U.S. Department of Education, the Controller General, Attorney General, Secretary, and state and local education programs.
  • Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes.
  • Organizations conducting certain studies for, or on behalf of, the school.
  • Accrediting organizations to carry out their accrediting functions.
  • To comply with a judicial order or a lawfully issued subpoena.
  • Appropriate officials in cases of health or safety emergencies.
  • State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific state law.

For additional information pertaining to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), consult the Registrar or Vice President of Student Services.

FERPA Exceptions

The only exceptions to this rule of confidentiality are the following:

  1. If a student is clearly likely to do physical harm to another person in the near future, it is the counselor’s duty to warn the person involved. This step would be taken as a last resort and only if absolutely necessary.
  2. If a student is clearly likely to do physical harm to himself or herself in the near future, it is the counselor’s duty to contact others. This step would be taken as a last resort and only if absolutely necessary.
  3. If a student shares information about the abuse or neglect of any juvenile(s) or disabled adult(s), the counselor may be required by state law to report that information to the Department of Social Services.
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