Notification of Privacy Rights to Students
As established in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), Section 438, commonly known as “The Buckley Amendment,” Howard College provides students with access to their official educational records and provides an opportunity for a hearing to challenge such records on the grounds that they are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise inappropriate. The college will obtain written consent, via the Student Records Release Request Form, from the student before releasing personally identifiable data from these records except for items classified as directory information. However, the college is allowed to contact the student’s parents and/or legal guardians when the student is found to be in violation of the alcohol and/or drug policies within the Student Standards of Conduct and Disciplinary Process. Students may request that all or part of their directory information be withheld from the public by filing a Directory Information Restriction Request Form with the Admissions and Registrar’s Office.
A part of this policy includes the intent to make the contents of the policy known to students on at least an annual basis. This will be done by announcing and publishing the policy in the Catalog and Student Handbook which can be found on the college website.
Address of Record
Students must maintain an accurate permanent address (both physical and email) with the Office of the Registrar. The address is used for official notifications.
Student Access to Educational Records
Students and former students have the right to inspect, review, receive an explanation and interpretation of, and (at their own expense) obtain copies of their education records except as excluded below. This right may be exercised by submitting a written request to the custodian of the records to which access is desired. Such requests will be honored within forty-five (45) days after the request is submitted.
Definition of Educational Records
Educational records include those records, files, documents and other materials which contain information directly related to a student and are maintained by the college or any person acting for the college except as excluded as follows:
- Records of instructional, supervisory, administrative, and educational personnel of the college which are in the sole possession of the maker thereof and which are not accessible or revealed to any person other than a substitute.
- Employment records of persons employed by the college but who are not in attendance in the college. Records made and maintained in the normal course of business which relate exclusively to persons in their capacity as employees are not available for use for any other purpose.
- Records created or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist or other recognized professional or paraprofessional capacity, providing such records are created, maintained, or used only in connection with the provision of treatment to the student and are not available to anyone other than persons providing such treatment. Such records may be personally reviewed by a physician or other appropriate professional of the student’s choice.
- Alumni records which contain information about a student after he/she is no longer in attendance at the college and the records do not relate to the person as a student.
Custodian of Student Records
Howard College maintains records on students in various academic and administrative offices on the campuses. The Registrar is the custodian of the official educational records of each student. The Registrar is responsible for the proposal, interpretation, enforcement, and publication of general policies and procedures consistent with State and Federal Laws as they relate to student records. The chief administrative officer in each office which maintains student records of any type is responsible for the student records in that office and for the release of such information in those records.
The reproduction of records for students will be at their own expense. The charge is based on the fee schedule in the Policy Governing Public Request for College Documents.
Records Not Accessible to Students
- If any record of a student includes information on more than one student, the student shall have the right to inspect and review only the part which pertains to him/her.
- Students will not be granted access to the financial records of their parents or any information contained therein.
- Students will not be granted access to confidential letters and statements of recommendation which were placed in a student’s record prior to January 1, 1975, providing that such letters and statements are used solely for the purpose for which they were intended.
- Students will not be granted access to records connected with an application to attend the college or a component of the college if that application was denied.
- If the student has signed a Records Restriction Form, students will not be granted access to the following recommendations: (1) recommendations for admission to any educational institution, (2) recommendations for applications for employment, and (3) recommendations for receipt of an honor or honorary recognition. The general Records Restriction Forms are available online and on file in the office of the registrar on each campus. A student may cancel the records restriction request by submitting written notice to the custodian of records; however, if a student chooses to revoke their restriction request, they will not become entitled to access recommendations prepared and included in their records during the time the restriction request was in effect.
- Specific policies regarding medical and counseling records are available upon request in the office of the registrar on each campus.
Student Record Release Policy
Howard College will not permit access to or release education records or personally identifiable information (other than directory information) without the written consent of the student to anyone other than those listed below and then only upon the conditions listed. Students who wish to have information released from their records should file a Student Records Release Request form with the Admissions and Registrar’s office.
Information in the following categories may be routinely made public by the college unless the student informs the college that any or all of the information designated should not be released without the student’s prior consent. Requests for the restricted release of directory information should be filed in the Admissions and Registrar’s office. Directory information is:
- Student’s name, address, telephone listing (both local and permanent)
- Date and place of birth
- Major field of study
- Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
- Weight and height of members of athletic teams
- Dates of attendance
- Classification and enrollment status (full-time or part-time)
- Degrees, honors and awards received
- Most recent previous educational agency or institution attended
- E-mail address
Students will be notified upon admission of their right to request that any and all directory information not be released publicly to anyone other than persons authorized by the college’s student record release policy without their written consent. Such requests will be made on the Student Records Release Request Form to be obtained and filed at the Registrar’s office. No other office should issue directory information unless they have first checked with the Registrar.
Parties to Whom Educational Records May Be Released Without the Student’s Written Consent
- Officials of Howard College who have legitimate educational interests. A college official is a person employed by the college in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement/security); a person or company with whom the college has contracted (such as attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; a student/employee serving on an official committee, such as disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility.
- Officials of other institutions in which the student seeks to enroll.
- Authorized representatives of federal and state agencies in connection with the audit and evaluation of federally supported education programs or in connection with the enforcement of federal requirements of such programs, provided that data collected shall be protected so as not to permit personal identification of students and such information will be destroyed when no longer needed for audit, evaluation, or enforcement purposes.
- State and local officials or authorities to whom such information is required to be reported or disclosed pursuant to state statute adopted prior to November 19, 1974.
- In connection with a student’s application for or receipt of financial aid.
- Organizations conducting studies for educational agencies for the purpose of developing, validating, or administering predictive tests, administering financial aid programs, and improving instruction, providing such studies do not permit the personal identification of students and the information is destroyed when no longer needed.
- Parents of a student under the age of 21 when the student is found in violation of the Student Standards of Conduct and Disciplinary Policy for either alcohol and/or drugs.
- Parents of a dependent student as defined by the Internal Revenue Service. The college assumes that a student is independent unless proof to the contrary is presented. Requests for the release of information to the parents of a dependent student can be honored only in the event of specific requests for information each time information is desired, with the exception that standing requests will be honored for the release or receipt of a students’ grades and bills for semester tuition and fees to be sent to the student’s parents rather than the student. Copies of grades and bills will not be sent to both the student and the parent.
- Accrediting organizations in order to carry out their functions.
- To appropriate persons in connection with an emergency if, in the opinion of the president, a vice president, or a dean, such information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other persons and is in accordance with federal guidelines regarding the release of information for health or safety emergencies.
- Information is furnished in compliance with a judicial order, or pursuant to any lawfully issued subpoena.
- Information that results from a disciplinary hearing where the student is the perpetrator of a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense. Under this exception, the information may be released to anyone, including the media. No information on the victim or witnesses may be released.
Student’s Right to Challenge Content of Records
Students have the right to challenge the content of their educational records in order to insure that the records are not inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the privacy or other rights of the student. They have the right to have corrected or deleted any such inappropriate data contained therein, and to insert into such records a written explanation respecting the content of such records. Students who wish to exercise these rights should submit a written request to the custodian of the record(s) in question.
The custodian of the record may attempt to settle the dispute over the contents of the records with the student through informal meetings and discussions which will be held within a reasonable period of time after the request is submitted.
Formal hearing procedures may only be necessary when informal means are not satisfactory to the student or the custodian of the record in question. If a formal hearing is requested, the President or his/her designate shall conduct the hearing and render a decision within a reasonable period of time following the request. The student and the custodian of the record shall be afforded full and fair opportunity to present evidence relevant to the issue raised. The decision of the President or his/her designate is final and shall be presented in writing, to all interested parties.
Creation, Permanence and Destruction of Records
The custodian of each record will abide by policies for reviewing and destroying records. These recommendations will be reviewed by the President and appropriate administrators. This review will insure compliance with Federal and/or State Records Management Policies and the following recommended guidelines:
- Only such records as are demonstrably and substantially relevant to the educational purposes of the institutions or department shall be generated or maintained.
- Permanent retention of student records is limited to those records which are of long range value to the individual and/or to the college.
All duplicate copies of permanent records, other than those maintained by the custodian of the permanent record, and all non‑permanent student records shall be maintained only for the minimum period of time required to serve the basic official functions of the individual or department generating or maintaining them. Such records shall be destroyed as soon as they are no longer needed and, unless an exception is permitted by the President or administrator, may not be retained for more than seven years after a student departs from the college. If a student has requested access to his records, such access must be granted prior to the destruction of any materials contained in his record.
The college intends to comply fully with the requirements of state and federal laws as they relate to student records. Students who feel that their rights have been abridged are encouraged to attempt to resolve the matter with the college district.
If the student’s concerns are not satisfied by the college, he/she may file a complaint or report a violation of the rights afforded by federal law by contacting:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202
Such complaints must be received within 180 days from the date of the alleged violation, unless the time is extended by the governing department.