Letter from the office of the registrar outlines students’ rights under FERPA

Students can control which information MCC has about them becomes public – to a

point.

In a recent letter to students, Jean Roberts, dean of student services, summarized students'

rights under the federal law known as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

For example, directory information may be released without written consent. This

includes student's name; major field of study; height and weight of athletes; participation in

officially-recognized activities and sports; and dates of attendance, degrees, date of graduation

and awards. Photos are also on the list.

Directory information does not include student identification numbers, Social Security

numbers, or other personally identifiable information.

Students have the right to withhold the release of directory information. To do so, they

should complete a “Request for Non-Disclosure of Directory Information” form, available from

the Office of the Registrar.

However, some records, such as Social Security numbers, grades, or other private

information may be accessed without the student's consent.

They may be used to track students' participation in education and other programs by

linking personal information obtained from other federal or state data sources, including

workforce development, unemployment insurance, child welfare, juvenile justice, military

service, and migrant student records systems.

Robert noted three important student rights regarding placing a “No Release” on students'

records:

 The right to look at their own records.

"Records may be reviewed by submitting a written request to the dean of academic

services and registrar identifying the records you wish to inspect," Roberts said.

 The right to request an amendment to their education record if they believe it is

inaccurate or misleading. They should submit a statement to the registrar for the record,

identifying the part of the record they want changed and why it is inaccurate or misleading.

 The right to approve or deny personally identifiable information contained in a

student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without

consent.

"One exception is disclosure to school officials with a need to know in order to fulfill his

or her official responsibilities,' " Roberts said.

Examples include faculty and staff, administrators, students employed by MCC or who

serve on official institutional committees, and representatives of agencies under contract with the

college.

"MCC receives many inquiries for directory information from a variety of sources

outside the institution, including friends, parents, relatives, prospective employers, the news

media and honor societies," Roberts said. "Having a ‘No Release' on your record will preclude

release of such information, even to those people. MCC assumes no liability as a result of

honoring your instructions to block directory information."

A copy of the act, more details about student rights, and any college policies related to

the act are available from the Office of the Registrar, on the student records portal page of

MCC's home page.

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