FERPA Frequently Asked Questions
FERPA Issues For Staff:
- Is MiraCosta College obligated to release directory information?
- What student information can be released, and to whom?
- Who can release student information?
- How will I know if a student has requested that directory information not be disclosed?
- Does FERPA apply to students who are deceased?
- Can student workers have access to student records?
- Can student clubs and student organizations have access to student records?
- Must we release a transcript if a student has a financial hold?
- What about crisis situations or emergencies?
- Whom do I contact with questions or concerns?
Is MiraCosta College obligated to release directory information?
An institution is not obligated to release directory information to anyone. FERPA only states that an institution may release information, but there is no obligation to do so.
What student information can be released, and to whom?
Although FERPA permits the release of directory information, the policy of MiraCosta College is to restrict the disclosure of student information unless permission is granted by the student in writing or if the disclosure is to comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena (see below). An institution may also disclose personally identifiable information without the student's written consent to "school officials" whom the institution has determined to have a "legitimate educational interest." A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his/her professional responsibility.
Who can release student information? MiraCosta College's general policy is that staff shall not release any directory information about students. Admissions and Records staff may release information if the discolsure is to comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena. All other requests for release of directory information may be submitted to the Director of Admissions and Records or the Dean of Admissions and Student Support for approval or denial. The district reserves the right to deny any such requests.
How will I know if a student has requested that directory information not be disclosed? When a student requests to restrict disclosure of directory information, a FERPA flag is placed in PeopleSoft. To see if a student has requested to restrict disclosure of directory information: From the PeopleSoft Main Menu, select Campus Community > Personal Information > Biographical > Person FERPA > FERPA Quick Entry. Enter the student's name or student ID number and click "Search." If there is a check mark under the "Restrict" column, the information cannot be released. If you do not have access to this information in PeopleSoft, contact the Admissions and Records Office at (760) 795-6620.
Does FERPA apply to students who are deceased?
The privacy rights of an individual expire with that individual's death. Records held by an institution for a deceased person is not a FERPA issue but a matter of institutional policy. MiraCosta College will exercise its own discretion in deciding whether, and under what conditions, information should be disclosed to survivors or third parties.
Can student workers have access to student records?
FERPA does not preclude an institution from identifying students as "school officials" with a "legitimate educational interest" for specific purposes. The same requirements and responsibilities for a full time school official exist for student workers. The student workers must be trained on FERPA just as if they were faculty or staff.
Can student clubs and student organizations have access to student records?
Many student organizations maintain scholarship committees, academic excellence awards and related types of activities that are based upon personally identifiable information. However, the students in charge of these activities are not "school officials" and may not have access to student record information unless the student has provided written authorization.
Must we release a transcript if a student has a financial hold?
Students have the right to inspect the contents of their student folder, regardless of their financial status with the institution. However, an institution is not required to release an official transcript if the student has a past due account.
What about crisis situations or emergencies?
If non-directory information is needed to resolve a crisis or emergency situation, an education institution may release that information if the institution determines that the information is "necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals." Factors to be considered or questions to be asked in making a decision to release such information in these situations are: (1) the severity of the threat to the health or safety of those involved; (2) the need for the information; (3) the time required to deal with the emergency; (4) the ability of the parties to whom the information is to be given to deal with the emergency.
Whom do I contact with questions or concerns? Questions or concerns should be submitted to the Director of Admissions and Records or the Dean of Admissions and Student Support.