Student Privacy – FERPA

Students wishing to authorize release of their record will need to fill out the Authorization to Release Information Form. If you wish to revoke a previous authorization, you should complete a FERPA Retraction Form. Students wishing to withhold directory information will need to complete the Non-Disclosure form. Once completed you may fax or mail form to:

Muskegon Community College – Registrar’s Office
221 S Quarterline Road
Muskegon MI 49442

FAX: (231) 777-0209

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their educational records. They are:

  • 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 to the Dean of Academic Services and Registrar written request that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The College will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.
  • The right to request the amendment of the student’s education record that the student believes is inaccurate or misleading. Students may ask the College to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. Student should submit to the Dean of Academic Services and Registrar in written request, clearly identify the part of the record(s) 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 or 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. One exception, which permits disclosure without consent, is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the College in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position; a person or company with whom the College has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agency); 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 responsibility.
  • The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Muskegon Community College to comply with the requirements of FERPA.
  • As of January 3, 2012, the U.S. Department of Education’s FERPA regulations expand the circumstances under which your education records and personally identifiable information (PII) contained in such records —including your Social Security Number, grades, or other private information — may be accessed without your consent. First, the U.S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or state and local education authorities (“Federal and State Authorities”) may allow access to your records and PII without your consent to any third party designated by a Federal or State Authority to evaluate a federal- or state-supported education program. The evaluation may relate to any program that is “principally engaged in the provision of education,” such as early childhood education and job training, as well as any program that is administered by an education agency or institution. Second, Federal and State Authorities may allow access to your education records and PII without your consent to researchers performing certain types of studies, in certain cases even when we object to or do not request such research. Federal and State Authorities must obtain certain use-restriction and data security promises from the entities that they authorize to receive your PII, but the Authorities need not maintain direct control over such entities. In addition, in connection with Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems, State Authorities may collect, compile, permanently retain, and share without your consent PII from your education records, and they may track your participation in education and other programs by linking such PII to other personal information about you that they obtain from other Federal or State data sources, including workforce development, unemployment insurance, child welfare, juvenile justice, military service, and migrant student records systems.

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 20202-4605

Frequently Asked Questions

What is FERPA?

One of the most significant changes a parent experiences in sending a son or daughter to college, is the difference in privacy standards for educational records. Muskegon Community College has a long history and tradition of protecting student privacy. Additionally, the Muskegon Community College is subject to a federal law called the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (also called FERPA or the Buckley Amendment) that sets privacy standards for student educational records and requires institutions to publish a compliance statement, including a statement of related institutional policies.

Why do I have limited access to my son or daughter’s college records especially when I am paying the bills?

Under FERPA, the access rights that parents and legal guardians had in the elementary and secondary school setting are transferred to students, once a student has turned eighteen, or is attending any post secondary educational institution. Parents can be given access to their son or daughter’s records if the student authorizes the permission in writing.

If a high school student is 17 and taking classes at Muskegon Community College, are the FERPA rights with the parent?

No. Section 99.3 of the FERPA regulations defines an eligible student as an individual who has reached the age of 18 OR who attends a post-secondary institution. If a college student is under the age of 18, that student is still guaranteed FERPA rights because he is attending a post-secondary institution.

How can I find out my son’s or daughter’s grades?

The best approach is to ask your son or daughter directly. Communicating with young adults can be a challenge. They’re not always as forthcoming as we would like. The college years, however, are a period of remarkable growth and maturation. The ability and willingness of students to share information and insights usually grows, especially as they acquire the confidence that comes with assuming greater responsibility for their own lives.

As a parent, can I obtain my son’s or daughter’s schedule from MCC for the purpose of purchasing text books at the book store?

Not without obtaining the student’s written consent to release the student’s schedule to his or her parent. At Muskegon Community College, a student’s class schedule is not listed as directory information; therefore this information may not be released.

What records does FERPA cover?

The privacy protection FERPA gives to students is very broad. With limited exceptions, the FERPA regulations give privacy protection to all students’ “education records.” Education records are defined as “those records that are directly related to a student and are maintained by an educational agency or institution or by a party acting for the agency or institution.” Examples of student records entitled to FERPA privacy protection are grade reports, transcripts, and most disciplinary files. FERPA does not cover counseling or medical records but other policies do.

What is an education record?

Any record that is maintained by MCC and is personally identifiable to the student is considered an “education record.” Exceptions to this are medical records, law enforcement records, employment records, alumni records, and sole possession records such as notes in sole possession of the maker, used only as a personal memory aid and not revealed or accessible to any other person.

Will I be notified if my son or daughter is placed on academic probation?

No. Information about grades and academic standing is sent directly to students. You can, of course, ask your child to keep you informed about his academic performance.

You receive a telephone call from a parent claiming there is a family emergency and they need to contact their child immediately. Can you tell the parents the day, time and location of their child’s class?

Generally, the answer is “no.” At Muskegon Community College, a student’s class schedule is not listed as directory information; therefore this information may not be released. However, every effort will be made to contact the student to give them the emergency information.

Where can I find out more information about FERPA?

FERPA is enforced by the U.S. Department of Education. The Department maintains a FERPA Website (with links to FERPA regulations) at: http://www.ed.gov/offices/OM/fpco/ferpa

FERPA information is also available from the Office of the Registrar, Room 106. If you have further questions, please contact Jean Roberts, Dean of Academic Services and Registrar.