Privacy and access to student records
It is the policy of St. Clair County Community College to comply with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the Federal law that governs the release of and access to student education records.
A student is an individual for whom the college maintains education records and who is or has been enrolled in and attended credit-bearing courses at the college.
Education records include those records which contain information directly related to a student and which are maintained by the college or by a person acting for the college. The following are not education records: records kept in sole possession of the maker, law enforcement records, records relating to individuals employed by the college, records related to treatment provided by a health professional, records that contain information about an individual after that person is no longer a student, i.e., alumni records.
Directory information may appear in public documents and may otherwise be released to individuals outside the college with the student’s specific consent. St. Clair County Community College has designated the following items as directory information:
- Name, hometown, college email address
- Student status; part-time/full-time
- Major field of study
- Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
- Dates of attendance, degrees, date of graduation and awards
Non-disclosure of directory information may be requested by currently enrolled students. Non-disclosure means the college may not release any directory information about the student, except as permitted under the provisions of FERPA. The college may not even acknowledge to third parties that the person is a student.
Legitimate educational interest is the need to review an education record in order for a college official to carry out his or her responsibilities in regard to performing an administrative task outlined in the official’s duties, or performing a supervisory or instructional task directly related to the student’s education.
A college official is any person employed by the college in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research or support position; a person elected to the Board of Trustees; a student or college graduate serving on an official college committee or assisting another college official in performing his or her tasks; a person employed by or under contract to, or serving as the agent of, the college to perform a specific task.
Authorized disclosures without the student’s prior written consent include but are not limited to information necessary to the health and safety of the student or other individuals if the college determines that there is an articulable and significant threat to the health or safety of a student or other individuals, internal disclosures for a legitimate educational reason, information returned to the author/sender of the information, information forwarded to schools where the student plans to enroll or transfer, notice to parents about drug and alcohol violations.
Student Rights Beginning the first day of class, you have the following rights concerning your student records:
- The right to inspect and review all material in your file(s) except:
- Professional mental health treatment records to the extent necessary, in the judgment of the attending physician or professional counselor, to avoid detrimental effects to the mental health of the student or of others. These records may, however, be reviewed by a physician or other appropriate professional of your choice.
- Financial information furnished by your parents in support of an application for financial aid.
- Confidential letters of recommendation that were placed in your file prior to January 1, 1975.
- Confidential letters of recommendation concerning admission, employment or honorary recognition, for which you have waived access. (The college may not require you to sign a waiver in order to obtain services, but a person writing a recommendation may insist on a waiver as a condition for his or her writing it.)
- Personal notes made by a faculty member or counselor that are accessible only to that person and are not shared with others.
- Materials in any admissions files, until you have been admitted to, and have attended the college.
- All other records which are excluded from the FERPA definition of education records.
Education records are maintained in a number of college offices. Requests to review records must be made in writing to the responsible official of each office that maintains the records. The responsible office will comply with the request within 45 days of receipt.
- The right to request an amendment of your education records if you believe it is inaccurate or misleading. If you believe there is an error in your record, you should submit a statement to the college official responsible for the record, clearly identifying the part of the record you want changed and why you believe it is inaccurate or misleading. That office will notify you of the decision and advise you regarding appropriate steps if you do not agree with the decision.
- The right in most instances to control access to information in your records by persons or agencies outside the college. With respect to college officials, information from your records will be made available only if the college official can demonstrate a legitimate educational interest consistent with their official functions for the college and consistent with normal professional and legal practices. Except for directory information, however, persons outside the college – including your parents and/or spouse – will be given information from your records only (1) when you authorize it in writing, or (2) in connection with your application for or receipt of financial aid, or (3) in connection with studies conducted for the purpose of accreditation, development and validation of predictive tests, administration of student aid programs, or improvement of instruction, or (4) when disclosure is required in a health or safety emergency or by federal or state law or by subpoena. If information from your record is subpoenaed, a reasonable attempt to notify you will be made as quickly as possible. In addition, the results of a disciplinary hearing conducted by the institution against the alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence will be made available to the alleged victim of that crime.
- The right to limit disclosure of your directory information. If you do not want the college to release those items designated as directory information, you must file a written request to that effect with the Registrar. However, you should carefully consider the consequences of that action before making the decision to do so. Information is not withheld selectively. If you choose to have directory information withheld, all items designated as directory information will be withheld from everyone who inquires. If you have requested non-disclosure of directory information and wish to repeal that request, you must file a written request to that effect with the Registrar.
- The right to a hearing if you believe that you have been improperly denied access to your records, your records contain information that is inaccurate or misleading, or information from your records has been improperly released to third parties. If you believe that one or more of these situations has occurred, contact the head of the office responsible for the record or send an e-mail to the Registrar at email@example.com detailing the specifics of the situation including the office(s) and records involved. If the head of the office does not agree with your contention, you may request a hearing by a hearing panel or hearing officer designated by the Registrar’s procedures. If the decision of the hearing panel or hearing officer agrees with you, the necessary corrective action will be taken. If the decision of the hearing panel or hearing officer disagrees with you, you have the right to submit an explanatory statement, which must be included as a permanent part of your record.
- The right to file a complaint to federal officials if you believe that there has been a violation of the rights afforded you under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. The complaint must be submitted in writing within 180 days of the alleged violation to:
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue SW
Washington, D.C. 20202-5920
Phone: (800) USA-LEARN (800-872-5327)
Questions about the policies and procedures of any unit should be directed to the head of that unit. Questions about the college’s “Policies on Student Rights and Student Records” or about the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 should be directed to:
St. Clair County Community College
323 Erie St.
P.O. Box 5015
Port Huron, MI 48061-5015