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What is FERPA and what does it have to do with students?
FERPA is an acronym for the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (20 U.S.C. 1232g, 34 CFR § 99). Congress enacted FERPA, also referred to as the "Buckley Amendment," in 1974. FERPA conditions federal educational funding on providing student access to, and maintaining the privacy of, education records. Faculty, staff, administrators and other college officials are required by FERPA to treat education records in a legally specified manner.
Under FERPA, students are granted seven primary rights:
FERPA applies to students attending any educational program at Central Wyoming College. Students are granted rights under FERPA if they are currently attending CWC or have been in attendance, regardless whether in a credit, no-credit, degree or non-degree credit program. FERPA does not apply to applicants of CWC who have been admitted but who have not actually been in attendance.
What is an education record?
Who Can View Education Records?
Education officials have a legitimate educational interest when, in the exercise or completion of their administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or other administrative responsibilities on behalf of the institution, incur the need to know specific information from education records.
An education official is a person employed by Central Wyoming College in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research or support staff position; a trustee or outside contractor such as an attorney or auditor acting as an agent for the college; students or others serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or who is assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks; volunteers and other non-employees performing institutional services and functions as school officials with legitimate educational interests.
The rights under FERPA transfer from the parents to the student, once the student turns 18 years old or enters a postsecondary institution at any age. The right to inspect is limited solely to the student. The institution may disclose information to parents/legal guardians of a student under the following conditions:
The student has signed a Release of Information form.
There is an emergency situation, and knowledge of information is necessary to protect the health or safety of students or other persons. (Refer these requests to the Vice President of Student Services or the Registrar.)
All requests for student record information of a deceased student must go through the Office of the Registrar.
Technology Use and FERPA
In the current educational environment where the use of technologies is wide spread, it is important that we continue to work in accordance with FERPA regulations to the fullest extent. With new technologies however, additional issues arise about secure transmission of confidential information.
Faxed requests for transcripts, including the student’s signature, or a scanned document attached to an e-mail message authorizing release of a transcript, are acceptable methods of providing the written permission required to release such information.
Faculty or staffs utilizing e-mail correspondence with more than one student are responsible for restricting access to a student’s e-mail address if the student has requested non-disclosure of directory information. Students participating in such classes should be notified of this, and a resolution should be arranged. An example of when this might be of concern to administrators is when mass mailings are sent to students by e-mail, and students have access to other recipients’ addresses.
Passwords allowing access to non-directory student information should not be shared and must be protected from unauthorized disclosure.
Electronic student records must be protected from unauthorized access.
Disposal of electronic or paper records should be done in a secure manner