FRCC officials are regularly asked to balance the interests of safety and privacy for individual students. While FERPA generally requires FRCC to ask for written consent before disclosing a student’s personally identifiable information, it also allows FRCC to take key steps to maintain campus safety.
Health or Safety Emergency
In an emergency FERPA permits FRCC officials to disclose without student consent education records, including personally identifiable information from those records, to protect the health and 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. In addition, the U.S. Department of Education interprets FERPA to permit FRCC to disclose information from education records to parents if a health or safety emergency involves their son or daughter.
While student disciplinary records are protected as education records under FERPA, there are certain circumstances in which disciplinary records may be disclosed without the student’s consent. FRCC may disclose to an alleged victim of any crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense the final results of a disciplinary proceeding conducted by FRCC against the alleged perpetrator of that crime, regardless of whether the institution concluded a violation was committed. FRCC may disclose to anyone – not just the victim – the final results of a disciplinary proceeding, if it determines that the student is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense, and with respect to the allegation made against him or her, the student has committed a violation of FRCC rules or policies. See 34 CFR §99.31(a)(13) and (14).
Disclosure to Parents
FERPA requires written permission by students for release of their grades and or other information. However, FERPA also provides ways for FRCC to share information with parents without the student’s consent. For example:
- FRCC may disclose education records to parents if the student is a dependent for income tax purposes. However, disclosure is at the discretion of the college registrar and the request must be based on a legitimate educational interest. Download request form.
- FRCC may disclose education records to parents if a health or safety emergency involves their son or daughter.
- FRCC may inform parents if their student (who is under age 21) has violated any law or its policy concerning the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance.
- FRCC may share with a parent information that is based on that official’s personal knowledge or observation of the student.
FERPA and Student and Exchange Visitor Information (SEVIS)
FERPA permits FRCC to comply with information requests from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its Immigration and Customs Enforcement Bureau (ICE) in order to comply with the requirements of SEVIS. Officials who have specific questions about this and other matters involving international students should contact the U.S. Department of Education’s Family Policy Compliance Office.
Transfer of Education Records
FERPA permits FRCC officials to disclose any and all education records, including disciplinary records, to another institution at which the student seeks or intends to enroll. While student consent is not required for transferring education records, FRCC’s annual FERPA notification should indicate that such disclosures are made. In the absence of information about disclosures in the annual FERPA notification, FRCC officials must make a reasonable attempt to notify the student about the disclosure, unless the student initiates the disclosure. Additionally, upon request, FRCC must provide a copy of the information disclosed and an opportunity for a hearing. See 34 CFR §99.31(a)(2) and §99.34(a).
Office of the Registrar
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Ave. S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20202-5920