FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) protects the privacy of a student's educational record or those records that are directly related to the student and maintained by the institution.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education. Student educational records are considered confidential and cannot be released without the written consent of the student. This law also gives students the right to consent to the disclosure of educational records, the right to inspect and review educational records, and the right to seek the amendment to educational records that the student believes to be inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the student's privacy rights.

Notification of Rights under FERPA

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) affords eligible students certain rights concerning 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 at any age.) These rights include:

  1. The right to inspect and review the student's educational records within 45 days after the day Harford Community College receives a request for access. A student should submit to the Registrar a written request that identifies the record(s) the student wishes to inspect. The school official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.
  2. The right to request the amendment of the student’s educational records that the student believes is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA.

    A student who wishes to ask Harford Community College to amend a record should write the Registrar, clearly identify the part of the record the student wants changed, and specify why it should be changed.

    If Harford Community College decides not to amend the record as requested, Harford Community College will notify the student in writing of the decision. The student has a right to a hearing re¬garding the request for amendment. Additional information will be provided to the student when notified about the hearing.

  3. The right to provide written consent before Harford Community College discloses personally identifiable information (PII) from the student's educational records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.

    Harford Community College discloses educational records without a student’s prior written consent under the FERPA exception for disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is typically a person employed by the Harford Community College in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person 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 Harford Community College who performs an institutional service or function for which the school would otherwise use its employees and is under the direct control of the school with respect to the use and maintenance of PII from educational records, such as an attorney, auditor, collection agent, or a student volunteering to assist another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official typically has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an educational record to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities for Harford Community College.

  4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Harford Community 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 Ave., S.W.
    Washington, D.C. 20202-5920

Harford Community College may disclose any directory information without prior written consent unless notified in writing that any or all such information about the student is not to be made public without written permission. Please submit written requests to the Registration and Records office. Harford Community College designates the following as directory information:

  • Student name
  • Program of study
  • Dates of enrollment
  • Full-time/part-time status
  • Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
  • Academic honors and awards
  • Degree/certificates awarded

You may contact the Registration and Records office with additional questions about this document or your FERPA rights:

Harford Community College’s Custodian of Records and FERPA Compliance Officer is Patrick S. Elliott, Associate Vice President for Enrollment Services and Acting Registrar.

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