FERPA Policy

All students have the right to review their educational records with the following exceptions as outlined by FERPA:

  1. Records which are developed by and are the sole possession of faculty, staff, and other personnel, and which are not accessible to other persons.
  2. Records created and maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist or other professional or paraprofessional acting in the capacity having to do with the treatment of a student. Note that a physician or other appropriate professional of the student’s choice may personally review such records.
  3. Records created and maintained by law enforcement units solely for law enforcement purposes, and which are not made available to other persons except law enforcement officials of the same jurisdiction.
  4. Financial records of student’s parents or any information contained therein.
  5. Confidential letters and statements of recommendations placed in the educational record of a student before January 1, 1975.
  6. Confidential letters and statements of recommendation which are placed in the educational records of a student or after January 1, 1975, if the student has waived his/her rights to inspect and review the letters or statements.
  7. An employment record which is used only in relation to the student’s employment by the College, except where an individual in attendance at the College is employed as a result of his/her status as a student.

To review records, students and former students may go to the Admissions and Records Office, present a valid photo identification card, and ask to review the record. If it is an inappropriate time to retrieve the record on short notice, students may be requested to complete a “Request to Review Education Records” form in the Admissions and Records Office. Because of various circumstances, the College may delay to a maximum of forty-five (45) days’ release of the records for review. The College is not required to provide access to records of applicants for admission who are denied acceptance or if accepted, do not attend.

Challenge of the Contents of Educational Records

Students may challenge information in their educational records that they believe to be incorrect, inaccurate, or inappropriate if they do so within one year of the term in question. This challenge must be in writing and must be submitted to the appropriate Dean. The Dean must decide within a reasonable period whether corrective action will be taken, and the Dean must provide written notification to the student and the Student Services Officer of the corrective action that has been approved. Students who are not provided full relief sought by their challenge must be referred to the Dean of Students who will inform them of their right to a formal hearing. Students must make their request for a formal hearing in writing to the Dean of Students. The following procedures shall apply:

  1. The hearing panel that will adjudicate such challenges will be the Admissions and Registration Committee.
  2. Within a reasonable period of time after receiving the written request for a hearing, the chairperson of the Admissions and Registration Committee must inform students of the date, place, and time of the hearing reasonably in advance of the hearing.
  3. Students will be afforded a full and fair opportunity to present evidence relevant to the issue raised. They may be assisted or represented at the hearing by one or more persons of their choice, including an attorney, at their expense.
  4. Decisions made by the Admissions and Registration Committee must be in writing must be based solely on the evidence presented at the hearing, and must include a summary of the evidence and the reasons for the decision. The decision should be delivered in writing to both the student and the Dean of Students.
    1. The Admissions and Records Office will correct or amend the educational record in accordance with the decision of the hearing if the decision is in favor of the student and inform the student in writing of the amendment.
    2. Should Bishop State Community College decide not to amend the record in accordance with the student’s request, the Admissions and Records Personnel must inform the student that:
      1. The student has the opportunity to place with the educational record a statement commenting on the information in the record or a statement setting forth any reason for disagreeing with the decision of the hearing.
      2. The statement placed in the educational record by the student will be maintained as part of the record for as long as the record is held by Bishop State Community College.
      3. This record, when disclosed to an authorized party, must include the statement filed by the student.
      4. Challenges to information in educational records will not be heard if more than one year has elapsed since the quarter in question.

Disclosure of Educational Record Information

Bishop State Community College shall obtain written consent from students before disclosing any personally identifiable information from their educational records. Such written consent must: (a) specify the records to be released, (b) state the purpose of the disclosure, (c) identify the party or class of parties to whom disclosure may be made, and (d) be signed and dated by the student. FERPA states that certain information from student records may be classified as “directory information.”

The following information has been declared by Bishop State Community College as “directory information”:

  • Name of Student
  • Address, including email
  • Telephone number
  • Date/place of birth
  • Major/fields of study
  • Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
  • Height/weight of athletic team members
  • Dates of attendance
  • Degrees and awards received
  • Most recent educational institution attended
  • Photographs

At the discretion of the College, photographs and directory information may be released to inquiring individuals or agencies unless students sign a “Do Not Release Directory Information” form in the Admissions and Records Office during the first two weeks of the semester. THIS FORM MUST BE RESUBMITTED ANNUALLY. FERPA established rules stating that some personnel and agencies may have access to students’ “educational records” without the written consent of the students. Bishop State Community College will disclose information from a student’s educational record only with the written consent of the student except:

  1. To school officials within the institution who have been determined by the College to have a legitimate educational interest in the records.
  2. To school officials including counselors and instructors who are involved in counseling students, administrators who assist in counseling and who advise students with other problems, professional staff, and clerical staff who directly relate to the administrative tasks of the College, college law enforcement officials, and college attorneys.
  3. To a school official who has a legitimate educational interest if the official is performing a task that is specified in his or her position description or by a contractual agreement, performing a task related to a student’s education, or performing a task related to the discipline of a student. When doubt is raised by about an individual’s “need to know” or legitimate educational interest in having access to specific information, the issue shall be decided by the President of Bishop State Community College.
  4. To certain officials of the U.S. Department of Education, the Comptroller General, and state and local educational authorities in connection with certain state or federally-supported educational programs.
  5. In connection with a student’s request for or receipt of financial aid, as necessary to determine the eligibility, amount, or conditions of the financial aid, or to enforce the terms and conditions of that aid.
  6. To state and local officials to whom information is specifically required to be reported or disclosed pursuant to state statute adopted prior to November 19, 1974.
  7. To organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of Bishop State Community College.
  8. To accrediting organizations to carry out their accrediting functions.
  9. To parents of eligible students who claim the students as dependents for income tax purposes. Determining dependency, as defined by Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code, requires a copy of the parents’ most recent Federal Income Tax Form. In case of a divorce, separation, or custody, when only one parent declares the student as a dependent, Bishop State Community College will grant equal access to the student’s educational records upon demonstration of dependency as described.
  10. To appropriate parties in a health or safety emergency subject to a determination by the President or college deans.
  11. To personnel complying with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena, provided that the Admissions and Records Office makes a reasonable attempt to notify students in advance of compliance. NOTE: Bishop State Community College is not required to notify students if a federal grand jury subpoena, or any other subpoena issued for a law enforcement purpose, orders the College not to disclose the existence or contents of the subpoena.
  12. To an alleged victim of any crime of violence (as that term is defined in 18 U.S. C. 16) of the results of any institutional disciplinary proceeding against the alleged perpetrator of that crime with respect to that crime.

Bishop State Community College will inform parties to whom personally identifiable information is released that they are not permitted to disclose the information to others without the written consent of the students.

Bishop State Community College will maintain a record of all requests for and/or the disclosure of information from a student’s educational records. The record will indicate the name of the party making the request, any additional party to whom it may be re-disclosed, and the legitimate interest the party had in requesting or obtaining the information. The record may be reviewed by the eligible student.

Annual Notification of FERPA Rights

Bishop State Community College will give annual notice to current students of their rights under the Act by publishing information in the College Catalog. Annual notification of rights will be provided to currently enrolled students via email to the student’s campus email account.

Types, Locations, and Custodians of Educational Records

The following is a list of the types of records that Bishop State Community College maintains, their locations, and their custodians.

TYPELOCATIONCUSTODIAN
Admission RecordsAdmissions/Records Office, Student Life ComplexCollege Registrar
Cumulative Academic Records (Current and Former)Admissions/Records Office Student Life ComplexCollege Registrar
Financial Aid RecordsFinancial Aid Office Student Life ComplexManager of Financial Aid and Veterans Services
Student Account RecordsBusiness Office, Administration BuildingDean of Finance
Athletic Eligibility RecordsOffice of Athletic Director Teaching and Learning CenterAthletic Director
Disciplinary RecordsOffice of the Dean of Students, Student Life ComplexDean of Students
Admission Records - Associate Degree Nursing (ADN)Nursing Office, Baker-Gaines Central CampusDirector of Nursing
Admission Records - Physical Therapy Assistant (PTA)PTA Office, Baker-Gaines Central CampusDirector of PTA Program

Computer Access to Records

Bishop State Community College has established policies for initially instructing and periodically reminding school officials of FERPA’s confidentiality requirements before it gives them access to the computer system. These school officials are informed of the criteria Bishop State Community College uses to determine legitimate educational interest and of their responsibilities for assuring that access is not abused.

Students’ Rights after Ceasing Attendance or Graduation

Students who have ceased attendance or have graduated from Bishop State Community College have basically the same FERPA rights as students currently attending, including the right to (a) inspect their educational records, (b) have a hearing to amend an educational record, and (c) have their educational record privacy protected by Bishop State Community College. Former students do not have the right to request of Bishop State Community College nondisclosure unless they asked, at their last opportunity as students, that no directory information be disclosed.

Privacy Rights of Deceased Students

For twenty-five years (25) following the death of a student, the release of educational record information will not be made unless authorized by the student’s parents or the executor/executrix of the deceased student’s estate.

Disposal of Records

The disposal of college record requirements is based on an approved general records schedule adopted by the Alabama College System.