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Parents FERPA FAQ's

Q.   What is considered directory information?

A.   Directory information means information contained in an educational record of a student that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. Directory information may include, but is not limited to, the student’s name, address, telephone number, electronic mail address, photograph, date and place of birth, major field of study, grade level, enrollment status (e.g., undergraduate or graduate, full-time or part-time), dates of attendance, participation in officially recognized activities or sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, degrees, honors and awards and the most recent educational agency or institution attended. An institution is entitled to determine what directory information it will release and what directory information it will not release according to its own policies. A student may request, in writing, that the institution withhold all of their directory information.

Q.   When is someone considered “a student” at MCC?

A.   Student, except as otherwise specifically provided by applicable statute or regulation, means any individual who is or has been in attendance at an educational agency or institution and regarding whom the agency or institution maintains educational records.

      As soon as someone registers for a class at MCC, they are considered a student.

Q.   I am paying for my child to attend Metropolitan Community College, so why am I not allowed to have access to their information? Also, why can’t you tell me if my child is still registered for a particular class?

A.   According to FERPA, the College can only release an eligible student’s non-directory information with his/her written permission. In order to release non-directory information, the student must first fill out an Authorization to Release Information Student form.

      A parent can access his/her child’s protected educational records in certain circumstances if he/she is a considered a dependent and they meet the requirements set forth in 34 C.F.R. §99.31.

      For dual enrollment students: For dual enrollment students, the students’ postsecondary records must be treated by MCC like any other MCC student, and his/her records may only be provided to parents as allowed by the FERPA guidelines. Educational records relating solely to the students’ K-12 activities can be released to parents without the student’s consent (as long as the student is 17 years of age or younger).     

      According to the Department of Education, “If a student is attending a postsecondary institution—at any age—the rights under FERPA have transferred to the student. However, in a situation where a student is enrolled in both a high school and a postsecondary institution, the two schools may exchange information relating to that student. If the student is under 18 years of age, the parents still retain the rights under FERPA at the high school and may inspect and review any records sent by the postsecondary institution to the high school.” All such requests shall be directed to the participating high school not the college.

Q.   My child has already signed an Authorization to Release Student Information form, why don’t you have that information?

A.   The Registrars Office may not yet have the form. Once the Registrars Office receives the form, it takes up to five days to process. Contact the Registrars Office at 531-MCC-2353 to check on the status of his/her form.     

Q.   Are there separate waivers for giving verbal and written information?

A.   No, MCC utilizes the Authorization to Release Student Information form for both verbal and written information.     

Q.   I would like to register my child for several classes. Can I do this?

A.   Only with the proper release form (Authorization to Release Student Information) indicating that you, the parent, may do so.

Q.   Who has access to a student’s academic records?

A.   The conditions under which prior consent is not required to disclose protected educational information are set forth in 34 C.F.R. §99.31.

Q.   What information can be given to a person who says he/she is a parent of a student? What proof or ID would a parent need to present?

A.   Unless the student has submitted the Authorization to Release Student Information form giving written permission for his/her parent to access his/her educational records or they meet the requirements of 34 C.F.R. §99.31, the College cannot release non-directory information to that individual. Once an Authorization to Release Student Information form has been submitted and notated in the system, the parent would need to present a photo ID if they request information in person.

Q.   Your child owes money to the College. He/she believes that that according to FERPA he/she has the rights to have his/her transcripts released. Is this true?

A.   No, FERPA protects students from unauthorized release of information and guides the College in understanding who is authorized to receive such information. It also allows an institution to withhold a transcript from being released to a third party if a student has a financial obligation to it. The student may view his/her records, but the College is permitted to withhold its release to a third party until the student has fulfilled his/her financial obligation to the College.

Q.   Does FERPA apply if a student is deceased?

A.   No, a student’s rights under FERPA cease once a student is deceased. Each institution may implement its own policy regarding the release of protected information regarding a deceased student. Individuals named by the court as executor, executrix, personal representative or who have been granted similar standing in relation to the decedent’s estate may have the same access to the deceased student’s protected educational information as the student would have had.

Q.   What are the consequences for violating FERPA?

A.   An individual who believes that their rights under FERPA have been violated may file a complaint with the United States Department of Education.