Records Maintenance and Privacy Guidelines
The Office of the Registrar maintains permanent educational records for all students who have ever enrolled at South Florida State College. The student educational record may contain an application for admission, high school and/or college transcripts, the South Florida State College academic record or transcript, authorized changes to the record and other documentation appropriate to a student's enrollment at the college.
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
FERPA is a federal law that applies to educational agencies and institutions that receive funding under a program administered by the U.S. Department of Education. The statute is found at 20 U.S.C. 1232g and the Department's regulations are found at 34 CFR Part 99.
Under FERPA schools must generally afford students attending a postsecondary institution access to their educational information, an opportunity to seek and have their records amended, and some control over the disclosure of information from the records.
FERPA requires the college to protect the privacy of student record information with regard to access to a student's college records, the release of such records, and the opportunity to challenge records should they be inaccurate, misleading, or inappropriate.
No information, other than the data determined to be "directory information" can be provided to a custodial parent, non-custodial parent, or other third party without the permission of the student unless very specific criteria have been met.
FERPA requires the college to establish a policy with regard to the data items that can be released to third parties upon request, and to establish the procedures for the release of such information. Students have the option of making their "file" and "data" confidential. Students choosing to have their data marked as confidential are identified in the student information system and their information is excluded from the college's directory information.
Disclosure of Education Records
A school must:
- Have a student's written consent prior to the disclosure of education records.
- Ensure that the consent is signed and dated and states the purpose of the disclosure.
A school may disclose education records without prior consent when:
- The disclosure is to school officials who have been determined to have a legitimate educational interests
- The student is seeking or intending to enroll in another school
- The disclosure is to state or local education authorities auditing or enforcing Federal or State supported education programs or enforcing Federal laws which relate to those programs
- The disclosure is to the parents of a student who is a dependent for income tax purposes
- The disclosure is in connection with determining eligibility, amounts, and terms for financial aid or enforcing the terms and conditions of financial aid
- The disclosure is pursuant to lawfully issued court order or subpoena
- The information disclosed has been appropriately designated as directory information by the school
Parent Access to Records
Student records may be released to a parent (either custodial or non-custodial) of the student without the student's prior approval only when a South Florida State College parent information request form has been completed. This form requires the requesting party to attach documentation that verifies the student was claimed as a dependent student on the most recently filed IRS tax return. (Copies already supplied to the Financial Aid Office can be used.) Once this form and documentation is received, the student will be notified of the request prior to the release of the requested information 10 days hence. Student information is subject to the FERPA guidelines even if the student is below age 18.
FERPA permits institutions to disclose information to a parent if a health or safety emergency involves their son or daughter. Schools are also allowed to inform parents if the student is under age 21 has violated any law or its policy concerning the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance. A school official may generally share with a parent information that is based on that official's personal knowledge or observation of the student.
Students may choose to have their records provided to a parent, or other third party, on a one time or one year basis by completing the student Release of Academic Information form.
Health or Safety Emergency
In addition, the school is allowed to disclose without the student consent education records, including personally identifiable information from those records, to protect the health and safety of students and other individuals. At such times, records and information may be released to appropriate parties such as law enforcement officials, public health officials, and trained medical personnel. This exception to FERPA's general consent rule is limited to the period of the emergency, and generally does not allow for a blanket release of personally identifiable information.
While student disciplinary records are protected as education records under FERPA, there are certain circumstances in which disciplinary records may be disclosed without the student's consent. A postsecondary institution may disclose to an alleged victim of any crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense the final results of a disciplinary proceeding conducted by the institution against the alleged perpetrator of that crime.
An institution may disclose to anyone the final results of a disciplinary hearing if it determines that the student is an alleged perpetrator of violence or non-forcible sex offense and with respect to the allegation made against him or her, the student has committed a violation of the institution's rules or policies.
Law Enforcement Unit Records
Investigative reports and other records created and maintained by the law enforcement units are not considered to be education records subject to FERPA. Accordingly, institutions may disclose information from law enforcement unit records to anyone, including outside law enforcement authorities, without student consent. The Campus Safety Office is responsible for referring potential or alleged violations of law to local police authorities.
Directory information can be released to the public without the student's consent following specific request procedures. Directory information will not be released if the student had requested in writing to keep their information confidential.
At any time the student can complete a form in the Records Office to mark their records as confidential.
The South Florida State College directory information includes:
- Student name
- Date of attendance
- Academic program
- Honors received (vice president's and president's lists, cum laude, etc.)
- Degree Received and date conferred
- Lists of prospective graduates/graduates
- Participation in officially recognized activities/sports
- Weight and height of athletic team members
The college reserves the right to provide additional information, such as street address and telephone number, where there is a signed articulation agreement with another postsecondary institution for purposes of recruiting students, and in cases that are superseded by the Solomon Amendment giving military recruiters access to student recruiting information.
Any other information is considered to be personally identifiable information and cannot be released to a third party, including parents, without the student's written consent.
The procedure to request South Florida State College directory information is indicated below. Directory information requests are not recorded in individual student records.
- The requests must be made in writing on the letterhead of the company, agency, or school requesting the information.
- If the request is being made by an individual the request needs to indicate the name, address, and phone number of the requestor and the reason for the request.
- Requests for the entire student directory, requests from any military sources under the Solomon Amendment, or requests for a "class" of students, such as all students in any one major, should be directed to the Records Office.
Student Access to Educational Records
Schools are required by FERPA to:
- provide a student with an opportunity to inspect and review his or her education records within 45 days of the receipt of the request
- provide the student with copies of education records or otherwise make records available to the student if the student, for instance, lives outside of commuting distance of the school
- redact the names and other personally identifiable information about other students that may be included in the student's education records.
Amendment of Education Records
Under FERPA a school must:
- Consider a request from a student to amend inaccurate or misleading information in the student's education records
- Offer the student a hearing on the matter if it decides not to amend the records in accordance with the request
- Offer the student a right to place a statement to be kept and disclosed with the record if as a result of the hearing the school decides not to amend the record.
A school is not required to consider requests for amendment under FERPA that:
- Seek to change a grade or disciplinary record
- Seek to change the opinions or reflections of a school official or other person reflected in an education record
Students have the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the college to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-5901
Questions about the administration of FERPA at South Florida State College and the release or amendment of any student record, should be addressed to the Registrar.
Change in records -- Students may request a change to their record in writing. Typical changes include name, address, telephone number, social security number and program code (major). Most changes require the student to present appropriate documentation.
Enrollment verification - An official college statement indicating term of enrollment and student status (i.e. full- or part-time).
Transfer credit evaluation - Statement of all course work and grades accepted from another postsecondary institution.
Non-release of directory information- A student may submit a request for non-release of directory information by completing a form in the South Florida State College Records Office. This non-release request will remain in effect until the student requests a removal of the non-release hold.
Official Transcripts-Students may request an official copy of his/her academic record in writing. There is a $5 fee for each official hard-copy transcript requested. Electronic transcripts are free.