Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. These rights belong to any student who is or has been in attendance at Northeast Iowa Community College. Attendance is defined as physically attending and/or participating in any NICC course.

These rights include:

  • The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days of the day the college receives a request for access. Students should submit written requests to the Registrar that identify the record(s) they wish 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 Registrar will advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
  • The right to request the amendment of the student's education records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading. Students may ask the college to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. They should write the college Registrar, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the college decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the college will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his/her 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.
  • The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
  • 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 college also advises students that:

  • The college may deny access to the following classes of records: financial information submitted by parents; confidential letters or recommendations to which the student has waived rights of inspection; private records of instructors, counselors, or administrators kept in their own use; alumni records which contain only directory information, and information collected after the student has left the college; and medical, psychiatric, psychological, or similar records.
  • The college may disclose educational records without consent of students to the following:
    1. personnel within the college who maintain educational records and those with a legitimate educational interest, including faculty or staff who deal with the student and carry out education studies and employees designated by them to assist in these tasks. NICC defines "legitimate educational interest" as "needs the record(s) to carry out employment responsibilities." Therefore, any college employee or person acting on behalf of the college may have access to student records without the student's written consent if that person needs the access to carry out his/her employment responsibilities;
    2. officials of other colleges or universities in which the student seeks to enroll, with a notice of the disclosure being sent to the student's last known address;
    3. organizations conducting studies approved by the college having educational value or concerning financial aid;
    4. accrediting organizations approved by the college carrying out their accrediting functions;
    5. persons in compliance with a judicial order or a lawfully issued subpoena within a reasonable period of time after the notice of the disclosure has been sent to the last known address of the student, unless the terms of the subpoena forbid advance notification;
    6. persons in an emergency if, in the judgment of an official in charge of the records, knowledge of the information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other person.
  • The college may disclose, without the written consent of the student, "directory" type information unless the student specifies to the contrary a described below. Directory information includes: student name, address, personal email address, phone number, photograph, date and place of birth, major field of study, dates of attendance, grade level, enrollment status (e.g. full-time or part-time, number of credits), participation in officially recognized activities and sports with height and/or weight of team members, current membership in clubs, degrees, honors and awards received, academic honor roll, high school and other colleges attended, and the most recent educational agency or institution attended.
  • Students may refuse disclosure of directory information by filling out the appropriate form in the Registrar's Office within ten calendar days of the beginning of the term in which enrollment occurs. If the Order to Prevent Disclosure of Directory Information is filled out any time after this ten-day period, the college cannot guarantee that information was not released prior to the non-disclosure request. Students may either choose individual categories or have everything withheld. The request for withholding will remain in effect until the student rescinds it in writing.
  • When personally identifiable information other than directory information is released, a notice will be given that the recipients are not permitted to disclose the information to unauthorized persons without written consent of the student. College personnel will be informed annually of this restriction and their responsibilities under this Act so that individual notices will not be required.

FERPA rights cease upon death. However, it is the policy of Northeast Iowa Community College that no records of deceased students be released for a period of 25 years after the date of death unless specifically authorized by the executor of the estate of the deceased or by the next of kin.