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
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.
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 email@example.com.
Annual FERPA Notification
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords parents and students who are 18 years of age or older ("eligible students") certain rights with respect to the student's education records. These rights are:
- 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.
Parents or eligible students who wish to inspect their child’s or their education records should submit to the school registrar a written request that identifies the records they wish to inspect. The school official will make arrangements for access and notify the parent or eligible student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.
- The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the parent or eligible student believes are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA.
Parents or eligible students who wish to ask Tacoma Community College to amend their child’s or their education record should write the Registrar, to clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it should be changed. If the school decides not to amend the record as requested by the parent or eligible student, the school will notify the parent or eligible student of the decision and of their right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the parent or eligible student when notified of the right to a hearing.
- The right to provide written consent before the school discloses personally identifiable information (PII) from the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
One exception, which permits disclosure without consent, is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. The criteria for determining who constitutes a school official and what constitutes a legitimate educational interest must be set forth in the school’s or school district’s annual notification for FERPA rights. A school official typically includes a person employed by the school or school district as an administrator, supervisor, instructor, or support staff member (including health or medical staff and law enforcement unit personnel) or a person serving on the school board. A school official also may include a volunteer, contractor, or consultant who, while not employed by the school, performs an institutional service or 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, medical consultant, or therapist; a parent or student volunteering to serve on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee; or a parent, student, or other volunteer assisting 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 responsibility.
- The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Tacoma Community College to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA are:
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202