FERPA Annual Notice to Reflect Possible Federal and State Data Collection and Use
As of January 3, 2012, the U.S. Department of Education's FERPA regulations expand the circumstances under which your education 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, and they 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.
Under this act TSTC West Texas follows these guidelines for release of student data:
1. Only directory information, as defined by the educational institution, may be released without the written authorization of the student. FERPA allows, but does not mandate, the release of information classified as “directory information." Each college establishes its own definition of directory information. Directory Information as defined by TSTC West Texas includes:
- student’s name
- preferred address
- e-mail address
- preferred telephone number
- major field of study
- enrollment status
- dates of attendance
- degrees, certificates, and awards received
- participation in officially recognized activities and sports
- weight and height of members of athletic teams
- photographic images
- most previous educational institution attended by the student.
2. Non-directory information is never released without the student’s written authorization. These items include, but are not limited to: student schedule and course enrollment, grade point average, academic standing, and grades earned.
3. Students may contact any TSTC West Texas Admissions & Records Office to request directory information be withheld from the public. The request must be in writing and when approved, a code is entered in student information system to flag the request. A message stating "Release No Information" appears on all student information screens. The block is permanent until the student requests a change in writing.
4. Parents (or legal guardians) may receive non-directory information only by providing proof, such as a certified copy of a federal income tax return for the most recent tax year, that the student is a legal dependent.
5. Spouses, friends, siblings and others may not receive non-directory information regardless of need without the specific and written authorization of the student.
6. Authorized representatives of some state and/or federal agencies, particularly those providing financial aid benefit programs, may receive both directory and non-directory information. Examples include Department of Education, Veterans Administration, Social Security Administration, Office of Personnel Management and Department of Defense.
7. School officials at TSTC West Texas and/or other educational institutions may receive both directory and non-directory information on a need-to-know basis if a legitimate educational interest is established. A ‘school official’ is a person: employed by the College in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); 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; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks.
A legitimate educational interest is established if the information is necessary for the requestor to: perform appropriate tasks specified in a position description or by a contract agreement; perform a task related to a student’s education; perform a task related to the discipline of a student; provide a service or benefit to the student such as health care, counseling, job placement, or financial aid; provide educationally related information to the student concerning extra-curricular activities and student organizations; or maintain the safety and security of the campus
A legitimate educational interest is determined by the appropriate administrator from a TSTC West Texas Admissions & Records office. Release of information to a school official having a legitimate educational interest does not serve as permission to share that information with a third party without the student’s written permission.
8. All instances of release of information are documented in the student record.
9. Students may inspect and review their student records upon filing a request with the appropriate administrator at a TSTC West Texas campus. Students may petition TSTC West Texas to amend or correct any part of their academic records which is believed to be inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the privacy or other student rights. When the college decides it will not amend or correct a student’s record, the student has a right to a hearing to present evidence that the record is inaccurate, misleading or in violation. The hearing will be in compliance with Section 99.21 and Section 99.22 of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended.
To insure compliance with FERPA requirements, students or other individuals requesting access to student records will follow these guidelines:
- The transaction of most business related to student records is conducted in person by the student and requires the student’s signature. A picture ID may also be required for some transactions.
- A student may give written and signed authorization to a third party to conduct business.
- All requests for non-directory information must be made in writing to the TSTC West Texas Admissions & Records office.
- All release of student information must be documented on a form to be provided by the TSTC West Texas Admissions & Records office.
- An official transcript is provided at no charge on request of the student as long as there is no outstanding financial obligation to the College. Students must request an official transcript with a SIGNED Transcript Request Form.
- Verification of student enrollment letters or forms for a current semester are not released until after the official census date for the semester and only with the written/signed consent of the student.
- Requests for computer generated lists, labels, or transcripts must be submitted in writing for approval by the TSTC West Texas Admissions & Records office.
- Subpoenas should be referred to the TSTC West Texas Admissions & Records office.
Need more information? Visit the U.S. Department of Education FERPA.