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Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
FERPA Annual Notice to Students
Both FERPA and the student handbook guide students and faculty and apply to all learning settings.
Annually, NorthWest Arkansas Community College informs students of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended (FERPA). This act, with which the college intends to fully comply, affords eligible students certain rights with respect to 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.) These rights include:
1. The right to inspect and review the student's education record within 45 days of
the day the college receives a written request for access.
A student should submit a written request to the Registrar that identifies the record(s) the student wishes to inspect. The Registrar will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the Registrar, the student shall be advised of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
2. The right to request an amendment to the student's education record when the student believes the record is inaccurate, misleading or otherwise in violation of the student's privacy rights under FERPA. A student who wishes to ask the college to amend a record should write the college official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record the student wants changed and specify why it should be changed.
If the college decides not to amend the record as requested, the college will notify the student in writing of the decision and the student's right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing. Note: FERPA is not intended to provide a process to be used to question substantive judgments that are correctly recorded. The rights of challenge are not intended to allow students to contest, for example, a grade in a course because they feel a higher grade, or withdrawal, should have been assigned. FERPA is intended to ensure the factual and accurate nature of the information in students' education records and students' rights to verify that information.
3. The right to have some control over the disclosure of information from education records. The 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 has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an educational record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities for the college. Examples of people who may have access, depending on their official duties, and only within the context of those duties, include:
- Person employed by the college in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel) who have been determined to have a legitimate educational interest
- Person serving on the Board of Trustees
- Student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks
- Person or company with whom the college has contracted as its agent to provide a service instead of using college employees or officials (such as an attorney, auditor, collection agent, verification agencies such as the National Student Clearinghouse)
- To officials of another school where the student seeks or intends to enroll, or where the student is already enrolled if the disclosure is for purposes related to the student's enrollment or transfer.
NWACC may also make the following disclosures without student consent:
- Disclosures to state and local authorities (U.S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education and other state and local authorities) that may further disclose information from education records on behalf of the institution
- Disclosures in connection with financial aid for which the student has applied or which the student has received
- Disclosures to organizations conducting studies
Disclosures to accreditation bodies
- Disclosure to parents of an eligible student if the student is a dependent for IRS tax purposes
- Disclosures to comply with subpoenas and court orders
- Disclosures in connection with a health or safety emergency or where an articulable and significant risk is determined
- Disclosures in connection with crimes of violence and nonforcible sex offenses
- Disclosures to parents of students under the age of 21 who are determined to have violated regulations governing the use or possession of alcohol or other controlled substances
- Disclosures concerning sex offender
- Information the college has designated as "directory information"
Release of Information
Students who wish to file a request to release information to a particular person or agency may submit the Consent to Release Information form. Students can access the Consent to Release form here. This authorization will allow the designated person or agency access to the information identified on the form and will remain in effect until the date stated on the form.
Directory information defined by the college may be released without a student's written consent and may be subject to public disclosure.
NWACC designates the following as directory information:
- Student's name
- NWACC email address
- Dates of attendance
- Degree(s) awarded
- Enrollment status (full time, half time, three fourths time, less than half time)
- Program of study
- Previous institution(s) attended
This information will be subject to public disclosure. Students who wish to prevent disclosure of directory information must submit the Authorization to Withhold Directory Information Form to Enrollment Services (2nd floor Student Center). Students who submit this form should note that this action will exclude their name from certain college publications.
The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the 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 Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-8520 (202) 260-3887