The Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 identifies the rights of students and their families with respect to student educational records kept by institutions. As part of the requirements of FERPA, Tacoma Community College has a Policy on Confidentiality of Student Records to ensure that student record information, including grades, course schedule, and academic progress, remains private for a student who has reached the age of 18 and is enrolled at TCC. Or is officially enrolled in classes at the college.
Student record information is confidential and private. In accordance with both federal law (FERPA) and Tacoma Community College Confidentiality of Student Records Policy, the institution does not release student record information without prior written consent of the student. The one exception to this is that the College may release "directory information" items without prior student consent. Directory information is defined as that information which would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. Designated directory information at Tacoma Community College includes the following:
- Student's name
- Major field of study
- Enrollment status
- Dates of attendance
- Participation in recognized sports
- Degree or certificate earned
- Term degree or certificate awarded
Apply FERPA Restriction
Students who do not wish to authorize the release of directory information can place a FERPA block on their account. To apply a FERPA restriction students can login to their ctcLink account and select Student Homepage--> Profile--> Privacy Restriction-->Select FERPA Block--> Restrict All.
Consequences of restricting Directory Information include restricting degree and enrollment verification to employers. The name and degree received is also restricted, which indicates the students name could not be published in a program or in a press release without the written consent of the student.
Permission to Release Academic Records
The FERPA Permission to Release Academic Records form is used to authorize designated representatives of Enrollment Services to discuss the following information from your educational records with those individuals listed: grades, program(s) of study, attendance (when tracked), advisor, enrolled classes, academic standing and class level. Once the form is processed students will be able to see a (positive) Hold on their ctcLink account--> Student Homepage-->Tasks--> Holds.
Inquiries can be directed to FERPA@tacomacc.edu
Inspect and Review Records
Students have the right to inspect and review their education records within 45 days of the date Tacoma Community College receives a request as listed in (WAC 132V-15). Students should submit a written request to the college official that maintains the record they wish to inspect. For Enrollment Services records the written request should identify the specific record to be reviewed and identification. The request can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Annual FERPA Notification
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords eligible students certain rights with respect to their education records. FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children's education records. These rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level. Students to whom the rights have transferred are "eligible students". These rights include:
- The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days after the day Tacoma Community College receives a request for access. A student should submit to the registrar, dean, head of the academic department, [or other appropriate official,] a written request that identifies the record(s) the student wishes to inspect. The school official 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 school official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be
- The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA.
A student who wishes to ask Tacoma Community College to amend a record should write to the school official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record the student wants changed, and specify why it should be changed.
If Tacoma Community College decides not to amend the record as requested, Tacoma Community 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.
- The right to provide written consent before Tacoma Community College discloses personally identifiable information (PII) from the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without
Tacoma Community College discloses education records without a student’s prior written consent under the FERPA exception for disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official typically includes a person employed by Tacoma Community College in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person serving on the board of trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee. A school official also may include a volunteer or contractor outside of Tacoma Community College who performs an institutional service of function for which the school would otherwise use its own employees and who is under the direct control of the school with respect to the use and maintenance of PII from education records, such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent or a student volunteering to assist another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official typically has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities for Tacoma Community College.
- The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the Tacoma Community College to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is:
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20202