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Policy 4004 - FERPA

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Western Dakota Tech Policy Number: 4004

I. Purpose

A. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education. Western Dakota Tech (WDT) is committed to protecting the privacy of student education records. This policy details WDT's response to the provisions of this act.

II. General Statement of Policy

A. FERPA gives eligible students the right to inspect and review their education records maintained by WDT is not required to provide copies of records unless, for reasons such as great distance, it is impractical for eligible students to review the records. WDT may charge a fee for copies.

B. Eligible students have the right to request through the Registrar that WDT correct records which they believe to be inaccurate or If the Registrar decides not to amend the record, the eligible student then has the right to appeal the decision to the VP for Institutional Effectiveness and Student Success. If the VP for Institutional Effectiveness and Student Success denies the appeal, the eligible student has the right to place a statement with the record setting forth his or her view about the contested information.

C. Generally, WDT must have written permission from the eligible student in order to release any information from a student’s education However, FERPA allows WDT to disclose those records, without consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions:

  • A person employed by, approved to volunteer for, or under contract to the school to perform official, educationally-related duties
  • Other schools to which a student is transferring
  • Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes
  • Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student
  • Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school
  • Accrediting organizations
  • To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena (records released after a notification to student and a 14-day waiting period from date notification was sent)
  • Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies
  • State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific state law

D. The following items are considered public data/information and may be disclosed by WDT in response to inquiries concerning individual students, whether the inquiries are in person, in writing, or over the telephone:

  • Name
  • Affirmation of enrollment status
  • Campus location

E. Unless students have officially filed a written request with the Registrar’s Office within seven calendar days after the first day of the semester stating that disclosures cannot be made without their written permission, the following items, in addition to those above, are considered public/Directory Information and may be included in appropriate college directories and publications and may be disclosed by designated staff members in response to inquiries concerning individual students, whether the inquiries are in person, in writing, or over the telephone:

  • School, college, department, program, or division
  • Dates of enrollment
  • Degrees received
  • Honors received
  • Photo
  • Local address and phone number
  • Home address (permanent)
  • Student email address
  • Participation in officially recognized activities and sports

F. WDT has the responsibility for effectively supervising any access to and/or release of official data/information about its students. Certain items of information about individual students are fundamental to the educational process and must be recorded. This recorded information concerning students must be used only for clearly-defined purposes, must be safeguarded and controlled to avoid violations of personal privacy, and must be appropriately disposed of when the justification for its collection and retention no longer exists.

G. For additional information or technical assistance, individuals may call 1-800-872-5327 or write Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW, Washington, D.C. 20202-5920. Individuals who use TDD may call the Federal Information Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339.

H. It shall be a violation of this policy for WDT to not protect the privacy of student education records, to not allow a student to view their education record, to not allow a student the right to request changes to their educational record, or to not provide a process for students to request the release information from their student record.

III. Definitions

A. “Eligible students” are students who are enrolled at WDT, regardless of age, during the attendance period defined by the College, for whom records are maintained. Rights of students under age 18 are transferred from the parent to the student upon the student’s enrollment in higher education.

B. “Education record“ means any information or data maintained by the College that is directly related to the student.

C. “Directory information” is information WDT has identified as information that can be released without permission from the student.

D. A “school official” is a member of WDT acting in the student’s educational interests within the limitations of their “need to know”.

E. A “FERPA breach” is any instance in which there is an unauthorized release or access of personally identifiable information or other information not suitable for public release.

IV. Reporting Procedures

A. When a FERPA breach is committed or when it is recognized that someone else has committed a FERPA breach, whether intentional or accidental, the employee must report the FERPA breach to their direct supervisor who will report it to the Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Student Success so the breach and any resulting training or process changes can be reported to the Federal government for compliance purposes.

V. Dissemination of Policy and Training

A. This policy shall appear on the WDT website and in the WDT Student Handbook.

B. The College will provide FERPA training to all current employees each fall semester and to all new employees each spring and summer semester. Upon employment with WDT and annually thereafter, all WDT employees are required to complete an online FERPA training.

Legal References

34 CFR Part 99; 20 U.S.C. § 1232g  - Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974


Board Approved 03/18/2019


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