Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Student Information Release Policy / Confidentiality of Records
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) 20 United States Code 1232(g), 34 CFR Part 99 requires any school that receives federal funds to release or withhold a student’s education records in accordance with its rules.
The Alamo Colleges designate student Directory Information as:
Public Notice Designating Directory Information
- Enrollment status
- Dates of attendance
- Previous education agencies/institutions attended
- Degrees received
- Awards received
- Social Security numbers are not Directory Information
- The Alamo Colleges must release students’ addresses and telephone numbers to military recruiters.
- Request for Nondisclosure
FERPA permits release of Directory Information without a student’s consent unless a student makes a written request to withhold the information. A Request for Nondisclosure Form must be submitted to the Registrar’s office with valid photo student identification or driving license by the twelfth (12) class day of a Fall or Spring semester, or the fourth (4) class day of a Summer term or a student’s Directory Information is public. The Request for Nondisclosure is effective for the academic year in which it is submitted. It is the student’s responsibility to renew the request each academic year.
Students who elect nondisclosure must request their information in person using a valid photo student ID or driver’s license.
All students attending college, including minors, are protected under FERPA.
Alamo Colleges officials are permitted to share student information freely with parents if the parents claim the student as a dependent on their taxes.
Notification of Rights under FERPA for Postsecondary Institutions
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords eligible students certain rights with respect to their educational records. (An “eligible student” under FERPA is a student who is 18 years of age or older or who attends a postsecondary institution.) These rights include:
The right to inspect and review the student’s education records records within 45 days after the day Alamo Colleges receives a request for access.
A student should submit to the registrar, dean, head of the academic department or other appropriate official, a written request that identifies the record(s) the student wishes to inspect. The Alamo Colleges official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the Alamo Colleges official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA.
A student who wishes to ask Alamo Colleges to amend a record should write to the Alamo Colleges’ official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record the student wants to changes, and specify why it should be changed.
Privacy of Student Education Records
If Alamo Colleges decides not to amend the record as requested, Alamo Colleges will notify the student in writing of the decision and the student’s right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
The right to provide written consent before Alamo Colleges discloses personally identifiable information (PII) from the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
serving on the board of trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee. A school official also may include a volunteer or contractor outside of Alamo Colleges who performs an institutional service or function for which Alamo Colleges would otherwise use its own employees and who is under the direct control of Alamo Colleges with respect to the use and maintenance of PII from education records, such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent or a student volunteering to assist another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities for Alamo Colleges.
Upon request, Alamo Colleges also discloses education records without consent to officials or another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Alamo Colleges or university 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
See the list below of the disclosures that Alamo Colleges may make without consent.
FERPA permits the disclosure of PII from students’ education records, without consent of the student, if the disclosure meets certain conditions found in §99.31 of the FERPA regulations. Except for disclosures of school officials, disclosures related to some judicial orders or lawfully issued subpoenas, disclosures of directory information, and disclosures to the student, §99.32 of FERPA regulations requires Alamo Colleges to record the disclosure. Eligible students have a right to inspect and review the records of disclosures. Alamo Colleges may disclose PII from the education records without obtaining prior written consent of the student -
To other school officials, including teachers, within Alamo Colleges, whom the school has determined to have legitimate educational interests. This also includes contractors, consultants, volunteers, or other parties to whom the school has outsourced institutional services or functions, provided that the conditions listed in §99.31 (a)(1)(i_(B)(1) - (a)(1)(i)(B)(2) are met. (§99.31(a) (1)).
To officials of another school where the student seeks or intends to enroll, or where the student is already enrolled if the disclosure is for purposes related to the student’s enrollment or transfer, subject to the requirements of §99.34. (§99.31(a) (2)).
To authorize representatives of the U.S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or State and local educational authorities, such as a State postsecondary authority that is responsible for supervising Alamo Colleges state -supported education programs. Disclosure under this provision may be made, subject to the requirements of §99.35, in connection with an audit or evaluation of Federal or State-supported education programs, or for the enforcement of or compliance with Federal legal requirements that relate to those programs. These entities may make further disclosure of PII to outside entities that are designated by them as their authorized representatives to conduct any audit, evaluation, or enforcement or compliance activity on their behalf. (§§99.31(a)(3) and 99.35)
In connection with financial aid for which the student has applied or which the student has received, if the information is necessary to determine eligibility for the aid, determine the amount of the aid, determine the conditions of the aid, or enforce the terms and conditions of the aid. (§99.31(a)(4))
- To organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, Alamo Colleges, in order to: (a) develop, validate, or administer predictive tests; (b) administer student aid programs; or (c) improve instruction. (§99.31(a)(6))
- To accrediting organizations to carry out their accrediting functions ((§99.31(a)(7))
- To parents of an eligible student if the student is a dependent for IRS tax purposes. (§99.31(a)(8))
- To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena. (§99.31(a)(9))
- To appropriate officials in connection with a health or safety emergency, subject to §99.36. (§99.31(a)(10))
- Information the school has designated as “directory information” under §99.37 (§99.31(a)(11))
- To a victim of an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense, subject to the requirements of §99.39. The disclosure may only include the final results of the disciplinary proceeding with respect to that alleged crime or offense, regardless of the finding. (§99.31(a)(13))
- To the general public, the final results of a disciplinary proceeding, subject to the requirements of §99.39, if Alamo Colleges determines the student is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense and the student has committed a violation of Alamo Colleges rules or policies with respect to the allegation made against him or her. (§99.31(a)(14))
- To parents of a student regarding the student’s violation of any Federal, State, or local law, or of any rule or policy of Alamo Colleges, governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance if Alamo Colleges determines the student committed a disciplinary violation and the student is under the age of 21. (§99.319(a)(15))
- Health or Safety Emergency
Disclosure to Parents
College officials must balance the interests of safety and privacy for individual students. While the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) generally requires colleges to ask for written consent before disclosing a student’s personally identifiable information, it also allows colleges and universities to maintain campus safety.
In an emergency, FERPA permits school officials to disclose education records without student consent, including personally identifiable information from those records, to protect the health or safety of students or 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. (See 34 CFR § 99.31(a) (10) and § 99.36). 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 from a student’s education records.
The Department of Education interprets FERPA to permit institutions to disclose information in education records to parents if a health or safety emergency involves their son or daughter. When a student turns eighteen (18) years old or enters a post-secondary institution at any age, all rights afforded to parents under FERPA transfer to the student. However, FERPA also provides ways in which schools may share information with parents without the student’s consent. For example:
Schools may disclose education records to parents if the student is a dependent for income tax purposes.
Schools may disclose education records to parents if a health or safety emergency involves their son or daughter.
A school official may generally share information with a parent that is based on that official’s personal knowledge or observation of the student.
FERPA and Student Health Information
Post-secondary institutions that provide health or medical services to students may share student medical treatment records with parents under the circumstances described above. While these records may otherwise be governed by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), the HIPAA Privacy Rule excludes student medical treatment records and other records protected by FERPA.