FERPA is a federal law which requires that the College, with few exceptions, obtain a student's written consent prior to disclosing to a third party any education records pertaining to that student. An "education record" is defined as any record directly relating to the student which is maintained by the College. Disclosing a student's education record to a third party without that student's consent is a violation of federal law. However, the College MAY disclose information designated as "directory information" without prior written consent of the student UNLESS the student has chosen to withhold all information and Opts-Out. Directory information is generally considered information that is not harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. The type of information which the College has designated as "directory" is listed below. The College chooses not to disclose directory information to just anyone who asks, but rather a process has been developed to ensure that the privacy and safety of our students are protected.
Student Rights under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students attending post-secondary institutions certain rights with respect to their education records. An "Education Record" is defined as a record that is directly related to a student and is maintained by Nassau Community College. FERPA 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.
- A student should submit a written request to the Office of the Registrar that identifies the record(s) the student wishes to inspect. A College official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the particular records are not maintained by the Office of the Registrar, the College official responding to the request shall advise the student of the correct Department and individual within the College 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, 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 to 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 of 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 the student is notified of the right to a hearing.
- The right to provide written consent before the College discloses personally identifiable information from the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent, as described below. Nassau Community College will not disclose information from a student's education record without the student's written consent, except in the following situations:
- The College discloses education records without a student's prior written consent to school officials with legitimate educational interests.
- A "school official" is a person employed by the College in an administrative, supervisory, academic, or support staff position (including Public Safety personnel and health staff); a person employed by the State University of New York (SUNY) System Admninistration, a 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, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks.
- A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities for the College.
- Upon request, the College also discloses education records without the student's consent to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll, as long as the disclosure is for the purposes related to the student's transfer or enrollment in such institution.
- Disclosure to authorized representatives of the Comptroller General of the United States, the Attorney General of the United States, the U.S. Department of Education, state/local educational authorities, organizations conducting studies for or on behalf of the College, and accrediting organizations. Disclosures under this provision may be made in connection with an audit or evaluation of Federal or State-supported education programs, or for the enforcement of or compliance with Federal legal requirements related to those programs. These entities may make further disclosures of Personally Identifiable Information to outside entities that are designated by them as their authorized representatives to conduct any audit, evaluation, or enforcement or compliance activity on their behalf.
- Disclosure is in connection with a student's application for, and receipt of, financial aid, if the information is necessary to determine eligibility for the aid, determine the amount of the aid, determine the conditions of the aid, or enforce the terms and conditions of such aid.
- Disclosure is to comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena.
- Disclosure is to parents of dependent students, as defined by the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, Section 152. (While FERPA permits disclosure of records to parents of dependent students without student consent, it does not require such disclosure. The parent must provide a copy of their most recent federal income tax return establishing the student's dependency. Full rights under the Act shall be given to either parent, unless the College has been provided with evidence that there is a court order, or other legally binding document relating to such matters as divorce, separation or custody that specifically revokes those rights.)
- Disclosure is to appropriate parties in the event of a health or safety emergency.
- Disclosure of information the College has designated as "Directory information", as more particularly described below.
- Disclosure is to a victim of a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense, when such disclosure is of the final results of any disciplinary proceedings conducted by the College against the alleged perpetrator of such crime or offense.
- Disclosure to the general public of the final results of a disciplinary proceeding, if the College determines that the student is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense and the student has committed a violation of the College's Code of Conduct with respect to the allegation made against him or her.
- Disclosure is to the student's parent about the student's violation of any Federal, State or local law, or any policy of the College which governs the use and possession of drugs or alcohol, but only if the student is under 21 years of age.
- 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
Additional information about the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act may be obtained on the United States Department of Education website.
FERPA requires that the College, with the exceptions outlined above, obtain a student's written consent prior to disclosing to a third party any personally identifiable information about that student. However, the College may disclose information designated as "directory information" without prior written consent of the student. Directory information is generally considered information that is not harmful or an invasion of privacy if released.
Nassau Community College has designated the following items as directory information:
- a student's name,
- student's ID number ("N Number")
- mailing address,
- major field of study,
- enrollment status (full-time/part-time),
- dates of attendance,
- degrees being pursued,participation in College sports and/or activities,
- weight and height of members of athletic teams, and
- degrees, honors and awards received.
The main purpose of designating the above information as "directory" is to permit the College to include this information in certain publications, such as: listing your name on the graduation program, submitting your awards and accomplishments for publication in a local newspaper, or printing your name in a playbill should you participate in a theater production on campus. All requests by outside parties for Student Directory Information will be considered on an individual basis by the Registrar's Office. The College takes very seriously its responsibility to safeguard the privacy of our students. As such, most requests for Directory Information of all students (or categories of students) will be denied. For example, the College will not release any directory information to individuals or organizations seeking to conduct solicitations or fund-raising activities.
Nassau Community College honors its duty to protect the confidentiality of student records. However, the College may disclose a student's "directory information" without obtaining student's written consent, unless the student has submitted a written "opt out" request, to the Office of the Registrar not to release any directory information pertaining to them. The opt-out form will be available in the Office of the Registrar and may be filled out any time. Please note that submitting an "opt-out" request will not prevent the College from requiring students to display or disclose their ID card with their N number printed on it when engaging in College-related activities and transactions.
NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES OF OPTING OUT: Students who choose to restrict access to their Directory Information should be aware that doing so may result in unintended negative consequences. For example, organizations such as potential employers, scholarship agencies, members of the press, loan agencies, educational organizations and others will not be given access to the student's directory information, and will not be able to contact the student. Opting out of directory information classification may mean that you will miss out on valuable employment, educational, cultural and other opportunities.