Q. What is FERPA?
A federal law designed to protect the privacy of education records, to establish the right of students to inspect and review their education records, and to provide guidelines for the correction of inaccurate and misleading data through informal and formal hearings.
Q. The Basics of FERPA
- College students must be permitted to inspect their own education records. EagleNet is a great resource for this.
- School officials may not disclose personally identifiable information about students nor permit inspection of their records without written consent unless such action is covered by certain exceptions permitted by the law.
- School officials may have access to a student’s education records only if they have legitimate educational interest, i.e., according to what they need to perform their job responsibilities.
Q. What are a student's rights?
- To inspect and review their education records.
- To request to amend their education records.
- To limit disclosure of directory (public) information.
- To file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning an alleged failure by the institution to comply with FERPA.
Q. Who is a student?
Any individual who is officially registered and has attended a Kirkwood class, regardless of their age or the class location, or who has been officially registered and attended in the past, and about whom the college maintains education records.
Q. Who is not a student?
A person who has applied for admission but has never been in attendance at the college.
Q. How can I block the release of my directory information?
A current student has a right to block the release of his or her directory information by completing a (link to Directory Information Block) form. However, doing so can have negative consequences you should be aware of:
- When inquiries about your enrollment are received, Kirkwood employees will not acknowledge that you’ve ever enrolled at Kirkwood.
- Enrollment verifications for insurance companies and prospective landlords will be returned without the information they need.
- Prospective employers attempting to verify your degree, diploma or certificate with the National Student Clearinghouse will be denied that information.
- Kirkwood cannot assume responsibility to contact you for subsequent permission to release the information and assumes no liability for honoring your request that directory information be restricted.
- Even though you may have placed a directory block, Kirkwood has the right to share your education records with school officials who have a legitimate educational interest.
Q. What responsibility do I have to protect my own records?
Students play an important role in maintaining the privacy and confidentiality of their education records and are encouraged to take the following steps to ensure safety and security:
- Never share your k number or password.
- Be careful about sharing private information via wireless technology (cell phones, WiFi, etc.).
- Take caution in the use of Web sites, electronic communication and social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and don't reveal information that compromises privacy.
- Learn about safe computing and protecting privacy.
Q. I’ve given someone written consent but have changed my mind, what should I do?
To cancel your permission to release your records, complete the Consent for Release of Education Record form and choose the option to “revoke” your consent.
Q. Who does FERPA allow access to records without written consent?
FERPA allows the people from the following list to access student records without written consent:
- Kirkwood school officials (e.g., faculty and staff) with a legitimate educational interest.
- Those requesting directory information that has not been restricted by student request.
- Officials at another college where the student intends to enroll or is already enrolled so long as it is for purposes related to the student’s enrollment or transfer.
- Entities performing duties on behalf of the college.
- Representatives of agencies or organizations from which the student has received financial aid.
- Other schools to which the student is transferring or has enrolled.
- Federal and state officials, and accrediting organizations, including military recruiters under the Solomon Amendment.
- Requests when there is an articulable and significant threat to the health and safety of the student or other individuals.
- Requests in accordance with a lawfully issued subpoena or court order.
- Others allowed by law can be found in the College Catalog.
Q. How does FERPA apply to course management systems like Angel?
Students who participate in a course that uses Angel may have access to personal information and academic work produced by other students. FERPA requires that students not reveal any information about classmates, course work content, or its authors to anyone outside of the class.
Q. What is the process for getting a faculty recommendation?
Discuss your request with the faculty member and provide him or her with a completed (Reference Release) form.
Q. What role do I play in the rights of other students?
Kirkwood expects that students will respect the rights of faculty and other students who participate in the educational process. These guidelines will help ensure the privacy of other students:
- When emailing groups of students, always put their email addresses in the bcc: (blind copy) area, NOT in the To: area, so their addresses are not shown in the email when it’s received.
- Don't post personal information about other students on Web sites or share personal information about them via email.
- Students who participate in a course that uses Angel may have access to personal information and academic work produced by other students. FERPA requires that students not reveal any information about classmates, course work content, or its authors to anyone outside of the class.
Q. What does the Solomon Amendment require?
Per the Solomon Amendment, institutions of higher education are required to provide "student recruiting information" for all students who are at least seventeen (17) years of age and enrolled for at least one credit hour at their institution to military recruiters. Please note that the Solomon Amendment supersedes FERPA and even if a college has a policy of not releasing directory information it must comply with requests for student recruiting information.
- Student recruiting information includes: name, address, telephone number, date of birth, program of study, class level, degrees awarded.
- Information released is limited to the current semester or previous semester. Any student who has placed a FERPA block on their record will be excluded.
Q. Who is a school official?
Kirkwood defines school officials as the following:
- A person employed by the college.
- A person or company employed by or under contract to the College to perform a special task on its behalf such as an attorney, auditor or collection agency.
- A member of the Kirkwood Board of Trustees.
- A member of an accreditation committee.
- An employee at a high school where a Kirkwood student is dual enrolled.
- An employee of a state or federal approving agency.
Q. What are a parent’s rights under FERPA?
We recognize that parents provide a great deal of financial and emotional support to their children while they are students at Kirkwood. However, we must balance this recognition with the fact that students have legal rights that must be fully respected. Once your son or daughter attends a college class, you no longer have an automatic right to access his or her education records, no matter the student's age. Instead, the access rights transfer to your son or daughter. We cannot discuss your student's information without the written consent of the student.
Q. Can I get my son or daughter’s education records since I’m paying the bill?
FERPA requires the student’s written consent before we can release education records to parents. Your student can login to EagleNet to show you the records, or complete a Consent for Release of Education Record to allow us to speak to you about the records.
Q. Can I call college officials to find out how my son or daughter is doing?
Your son or daughter has primary responsibility for keeping you informed about his or her progress at Kirkwood Community College. FERPA only allows Kirkwood to relay policy information and general observations that are not part of the recorded education record.
Q .How can my son or daughter give me permission to speak with Kirkwood about his or her education records?
The student can complete a Consent for Release of Education Record to allow us to speak to you about his or her records.
Q. What if my son or daughter is a minor?
The college’s policy regarding communication with parents applies equally to students who are minors. When a student attends a Kirkwood class, regardless of the student’s age or the class location, rights under FERPA transfer to the student.
Q. As a parent, will I receive the grades for my son or daughter?
Grades are not sent to parents. Your son or daughter can show you their grades by logging in to EagleNet.
Q. How can I find out about my son or daughter's academic progress, account balance, class schedule or academic record?
The college recommends that you ask your son or daughter about his or her academic progress.
Q. Where can I obtain an enrollment verification for my insurance company?
Students can log in to EagleNet for Students and request an Enrollment Verification. Please be aware that if the student has requested a Directory Information Release Block, the verification cannot be fulfilled.
Q. Can I call for information about financial aid awards?
One Stop staff are available to answer questions about aid programs and financing options for Kirkwood families. Regardless of the student's consent, staff will respond to parent questions regarding the parent's own financial information and provide general information regarding financial aid awards. Once the student has attended class at Kirkwood, the student will need to provide a Consent for Release of Education Records before the staff will discuss details of the student's financial aid award.
Q. What are education records?
With certain exceptions, education records are all records relating to a student that are maintained by the college. Education records include any record, file, document, email or other material (handwritten, digital, photographic, etc.) which contains information directly related to a student such as a student's academic progress, financial information, medical condition, personal interest item or student worker information.
Q. What is personally identifiable information?
Information that would directly identify the student or make the student's identity easily traceable, including, but not limited to:
- The name of the student, the student's parent or other family members.
- The student's contact information (address, phone number, email address).
- A personal identifier such as k number or Social Security Number.
- Any other personal characteristics that make the student identifiable.
Q. What is directory information?
Directory information is data that is generally not considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if released. It may be disclosed to outside organizations without a student's prior written consent unless a student has informed the college that he or she wishes to restrict the release by submitting a Directory Information Release Block form. Kirkwood Community College has designated the following items as "Directory Information":
- Student's name.
- Degrees, diplomas, certificates earned and awards (e.g., Dean's list).
- Dates of attendance (e.g., Fall 2010, Fall 2010-Spring 2012).
- Enrollment status (full-time, part-time, not enrolled).
- Participation in officially recognized activities (e.g., SIFE, DECA).
- Participation in officially recognized sports.
- Height and weight of members of athletic teams.
- Major and hometown (for commencement program only).
Q. What is written consent?
Written consent allows Kirkwood to release non-directory information from a student’s education record. To give consent, a student should complete the Consent for Release of Education Record. The form specifies the records to be released, states the purpose of the release, identifies the party or parties to whom release may be made, is signed and dated by the student and maintained by Kirkwood.
Q. What is legitimate educational interest?
When a school official is performing a task that is specified in their position description or contract, or when there is a demonstrated "need to know" by those school officials who act in the student's educational interest.
Q. Where can I find more information about FERPA?
Kirkwood Community College's FERPA policy can be found at www.kirkwood.edu/catalog.