What Is FERPA?

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) protects the privacy of student records. FERPA protects students and ensures their educational records are accurate and secure. FERPA applies to institutions that receive federal aid by the Secretary of Education.

What rights do I have?

FERPA maintains the privacy of your student records. It gives students the right to:

1. Inspect and review educational records
Contact the Welcome Center at any HACC campus to review your records. Ask for a Records Review Request form. HACC will allow you to review your records within 45 days of receiving your request.

Students can request copies of educational records with a fee of $.10 per page. HACC may refuse to duplicate records if you have outstanding financial obligations.

2. Seek and amend educational records
You have the right to amend a record if it is inaccurate or misleading. Write to the Registrar and identify what you want changed. Specify which parts are inaccurate.

If HACC chooses not to amend the requested record, we will contact you. We will explain your right to a hearing. If a student chooses to request a hearing, the Registrar will appoint a committee. The committee includes one administrator, one faculty member and a member of the Student Affairs staff. The committee will hold a hearing with you and discuss your requested amendment.

The committee must:

  • Schedule the hearing within 45 days of the student's request
  • Record the minutes from the hearing
  • Follow the "due process" guideline
  • Give the student the opportunity to submit more information if they cannot form an agreement

3. Limit disclosure of information
HACC may not release personal information unless you give written consent. Contact the Welcome Center at any campus for a Consent to Release Information form.

Are there exceptions to non-disclosure?

There are exceptions to non-disclosure. The HACC staff can release information without a student's written consent in the following situations:

Directory information

HACC does not promote the release of directory information. However, FERPA regulations permit the release of directory information without written consent. FERPA does not consider directory information to be harmful or invasive.

Designated directory information includes:

  • Student name, address and telephone listing
  • E-mail address
  • Date of birth
  • Field of study at HACC
  • Participation in activities and sports
  • Dates of attendance at HACC
  • Degrees and awards
  • Photograph
  • Educational institution most recently attended
  • Enrollment status
  • Academic level

Non-directory information

HACC can provide non-directory information to school officials. School officials must have legitimate educational interest. A school official is:

  • a person employed by HACC. They serve an administrative, supervisory, academic or support staff role.
  • a person or company serving as HACC's agent. This agent is providing a service —they include attorneys, auditors or collection agents.
  • a person serving on the Board of Trustees a student serving on an official committee. Committees include a disciplinary or grievance committee.

A school official has a legitimate educational interest if he needs the student's record to fulfill his responsibilities for HACC. HACC may release non-directory information without consent in other situations. Student information may be released to:

  • parents of dependent students
  • accrediting organizations
  • federal, state and local authorities
  • organizations conducting studies for educational institutions
  • a subpoena or court order
  • financial aid representative
  • health or safety emergency respondents
  • an alleged victim of a crime of violence

How do I request a non-disclosure?

You can refuse to permit the release of directory information. Make a request in writing and contact the Welcome Center on campus for information.

Requesting a non-disclosure may have negative consequences. For example, HACC cannot confirm your degree to an employer. Your name will not be listed in the graduation program. Your non-disclosure request will remain in effect unless you revoke it. You must submit a written request to revoke your non-disclosure.

Where do I file a complaint?

Students also have the right to file a complaint if HACC does not comply with FERPA. You can make a complaint regarding a FERPA violation with the U.S. Department of Education.

Send your complaint to the Office that administers FERPA:

Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202-5920