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Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.

These rights include:

The right to inspect and review the student’s educational records within 45 days of the day the college receives a request for access. Students should submit to the appropriate college official a written request that identifies the record they wish to inspect. The college official will make arrangements for access and notify the students of the time and place where the records may be inspected.

What is considered an educational record?

  • Academic records
  • Admission records
  • Athletic records
  • Disciplinary records
  • Financial aid records
  • Tuition payment records
  • Veterans records

The following exceptions to the above list apply:

  • Confidential letters and recommendations placed in student files prior to 1975.
  • Parents’ financial records.
  • Records connected to the application to CCON if the application was denied.
  • Education records containing information about more than one student, in which case the college will permit access only to that part of the record which pertains to the inquiring student.
  • Alumni records or any records created after the student left the college.
  • All other records excluded by FERPA.

The right to request the amendment of the student’s educational records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading. Students may ask someone from the college to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. They must petition the college official responsible for the record in writing, clearly identifying the part of the record they want changed. They must specify why they believe it is in error. If the college official decides not to amend the record, the college will notify the student of the decision, and if applicable, advise the student of the process to appeal that decision.

The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s educational records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. Columbia College of Nursing will disclose information from a student’s educational records only with the written consent of the student except:

  • To a CCON official with a legitimate educational interest in the records.

A CCON official is:

  • A person employed by the college in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position.
  • A person or company with whom the college has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent).
  • A person serving on the Board of Trustees.
  • A student serving on an official committee or assisting another CCON official in performing his or her tasks.

A CCON official has a legitimate educational interest if the official is:

  • Performing a task that is specifically identified in his or her job description or by a contract agreement.
  • Performing a task related to a student’s education.
  • Performing a task related to the discipline of a student.
  • Providing a service or benefit relating to the student, such as counseling, job placement, or financial aid.
  • To accrediting organizations to carry out their functions.
  • To comply with a judicial order or a lawfully issued subpoena.
  • To appropriate parties in a health or safety emergency.
  • To representatives of agencies from which the student has received financial aid.

As of January 3, 2012, the U.S. Department of Education’s FERPA regulations expand the circumstances under which your educational 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. They also 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.

 

Students have the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by CCON to comply with the requirements of FERPA.

For additional information, you may call 1-800-USA-LEARN (1-800-872-5327) (voice). Individuals who use TDD may use the Federal Relay Service.

Or you may contact us at the following address:

Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202-8520