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College-wide Policies

Privacy and Release of Student Education Records (FERPA)

Under the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), otherwise known as the Buckley Amendment, the privacy of educational records are protected. As such, Colorado College has expectations in place regarding access to those records and release of information from those records.

Responsible office
Dean of the College
Responsible party
Dean of the College
Last revision
August 2013
Approved by
The Cabinet
Approval date
August 2013
Effective date
August 2013
Additional references
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974; USA PATRIOT Act of 2001

Scope

All financial and administrative policies involving community members across campus are within the scope of this policy. If there is variance between departmental expectations and the common approach described through college policy, the college will look to the campus community to support the spirit and the objectives of college policy.

Policy

Authorities delegated and retained/administrative responsibility

The president of the college delegates administration of the FERPA policy to the dean of the college. The dean of the college will ensure that the college has procedures in place to ensure compliance with FERPA.

Annual notification

On an annual basis, the college will send a notice to enrolled students to explain student rights under FERPA.

Rights under FERPA

(a)    Right to access

A student should submit a written request to the registrar of the college that identifies the record(s) the student wishes to inspect. In a timeframe not to exceed 45 days after receipt of the request, the registrar will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.

Students also have the right to:

  • Be provided with a list of personal educational records, files, and documents maintained by Colorado College
  • Obtain copies of records at the student’s own expense
  • Receive a response from the college to a reasonable request for explanation or interpretation of records

(b)    Right to challenge record content

In the event a student believes that his/her education record is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s rights under FERPA, the student may request an amendment to the education record. The student initiates this process by making this request in writing to the registrar of the college. The request should clearly identify the part of the record the student wishes to amend along with the basis for the amendment.

If the college determines that an amendment is not warranted, the Registrar’s Office will notify the student in writing of that decision. The registrar’s communication to the student will also advise the student that he/she has a right to a hearing regarding the request for an amendment and include information on the college’s hearing process. 

(c)    Right to provide written consent

A student has the right to provide written consent before the college discloses personally identifiable information (PII) from the student’s education record except under certain circumstances. These include FERPA authorized disclosure and other federal authorizations, such as the USA PATRIOT Act.

FERPA-based exemptions from obtaining students’ prior written consent

  • School officials with legitimate educational interests

The college can disclose education records without a student’s prior written consent to a school official (definition below).

  • Officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll

Upon request, the college may disclose education records to the officials of another school in which a CC student seeks to enroll, intends to enroll, or is already enrolled. Colorado College states in its annual notification to students that it intends to forward records upon receipt of such requests.

  • Personally identifiable information (PII) from students’ education records

FERPA permits the disclosure of PII from students’ education records without consent from the student under certain circumstances. The college may disclose PII from education records without obtaining prior written consent of the student in the following cases:

(1)    To other college officials, including professors within the college whom the college has determined to have legitimate educational interests.  This includes contractors, consultants, volunteers, or other parties to whom the school has outsourced institutional services or functions, provided that certain conditions are met. 

(2)    In connection with an audit or evaluation of federal education programs, or for the enforcement of or compliance with federal legal requirements that relate to those programs.  These entities may make further disclosures 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.

(3)    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.

(4)    To organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, the school, in order to: develop, validate, or administer predictive tests; administer student aid programs; or improve instructions.

(5)    To accrediting organizations to carry out their accrediting functions

(6)    To parents of an eligible student if the student is a dependent for IRS tax purposes

(7)    To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena

(8)    To appropriate officials in connection with a health or safety emergency, subject to certain criteria

(9)    Information the college has designated as “directory information.” At Colorado College, each residence hall room has been assigned a telephone number. At the beginning of the academic year, a temporary listing of students with on-campus telephone and room numbers will be made available to the campus. Later in the fall, the campus telephone directory is published with the following information: student’s name, Worner Center mailbox number, local telephone number, campus or local address, and home address. If students do not want to be listed in the directory, they may fill out the appropriate form at registration.

(10)  To a victim of an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense, subject to certain requirements. The disclosure will include only the final results of the disciplinary proceeding with respect to that alleged crime or offense, regardless of the finding.

(11)  To the general public, the final results of a disciplinary proceeding, subject to certain requirements, if the college 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 the college’s rules or policies with respect to the allegation made against him or her.

(12)  To parents of a student regarding the student’s violation of any federal, state, or local law, or of any rule or policy of the school, governing the use or possession or alcohol or a controlled substance if the school determines the student committed a disciplinary violation and the student is younger than 21.

(13)  To companies that have been contracted by the college to manage a college operation. For example, the college contracts with a third party to manage the billing for student long-distance telephone service. These companies sign a contract stating that this information is confidential and will not be made public.

USA PATRIOT Act-based release without prior written consent

The Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT Act) allows the attorney general or the attorney general’s designee to collect education records in the college’s possession if those records are relevant to an authorized investigation related to an act of domestic or international terrorism. (USA PATRIOT Act Section 507).

Information about the college

According to federal regulations, all prospective and current students have a right to know specific information about the college they are considering or currently attending. The following chart lists topics of interest and the offices from which you can obtain information:

 

Topic                                                                  Source of information

General college information

Catalog of courses, Registrar’s Office, Admissions Office

Financial aid

Catalog of courses, Financial Aid Handbook, Financial Aid Office, Admissions Office

Refund policy

Catalog of courses, Financial Aid Handbook,

Student Loans and Accounts Office, Financial Aid Office,

Student Life Office

Graduation rates

Registrar’s Office, Office of Institutional Research

Drug and alcohol abuse prevention

Associate dean of students

Campus safety report

Associate dean of students

Athletics participation rates and gender

Athletics Department

Athletics financial support data

Athletics Department

Athletics revenue and expense information

Athletics Department       

Filing a complaint

Students may contact the U.S. Department of Education concerning any alleged failure of Colorado 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., SW

Washington, D.C. 20202-5901

Procedures

None

Definitions

Education record:

those records, files, documents, and other materials which (1) contain information directly related to the student; and (2) are maintained by  the college or by a person acting on behalf of the college. The following are not education records:

(1)    Records of instructional, supervisory, and administrative personnel and educational personnel that are not accessible to anyone else other than a substitute

(2)    Records maintained by Campus Safety

(3)    Records made and maintained in the normal course of business by those employed by the college, as long as the records relate exclusively to that person’s capacity as an employee and are not available for use for any other purpose than the normal course of business;

(4)    Records made, maintained and used related to the treatment of a student (18 years of age or older) by a physician, psychologist, psychiatrist, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional. These records are not available to anyone other than the persons providing the treatment except a physician or other appropriate professional of the student’s choice.

Directory information:

includes the student’s name, address, telephone listing, 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, degrees and awards received, and the most recent institution attended by the student.

Eligible student:

under FERPA, an eligible student is one who is 18 years of age or older or who attends a postsecondary institution.

School official:

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 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 be a volunteer or contractor outside of the college who performs an institutional service or function for which the college would otherwise use its own employees and who is under the direct control of the college 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/her tasks.  A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an educa­tion record in order to fulfill his/her professional responsibilities for the college.