2.02 Privacy of Records – Release of Written Information

Title: Privacy of Records - Release of Information                                                                 
Number: AP 2.02
Adopted: March 1995
Reviewed: September 2018
Revised: September 2018

The Nicolet College policy on record privacy and releasing information follows the directives outlined in the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the federal law governing the protection of educational records.  FERPA rights begin after the student is accepted at Nicolet College and starts classes.

Only the student may authorize the release of their personally identifiable information (PII) in an education record.  All such authorizations must be in writing.  A fee will be assessed for copying all or a portion of a student record, except those students governed by the provisions of the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (EU GDPR) in which no fee will be assessed.

Notification

Students and stakeholders can find this policy on the website, or may obtain a copy of the policy from the Welcome Center in the Red Oak Center.  Additionally, registered students will be notified of this policy annually via all-student email.

Student Rights Under FERPA

  1. Students have a right to inspect and review their own educational records.  The student must submit a signed, written request to the Registrar that identifies the record(s) they wish to inspect.  The Registrar will make arrangements for access within 45 days and notify the student when and where the records may be inspected, except those students governed by the provisions of the EU GDPR in which students will be given electronic access, if requested, within 30 days.  Before being allowed to view the record, the student must present official photo identification.
  2. Students have a right to request the amendment of educational records that they believe are inaccurate or misleading.  The student must present a written request to the Registrar, clearly identifying the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading.

If the Registrar denies the request to amend the record, the Registrar will notify the student and advise them of the right to appeal the decision using the Complaint and Grievance Procedure for Nicolet College Students, in AP 1.06 Student Standards of Conduct.

  1. Students have a right to grant written consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in their own education record; FERPA authorizes some disclosures without consent.
  2. A record of disclosures will be maintained within a student’s file indicating when information has been released from that file and to whom, except for disclosures for legitimate educational interest.  Students will not be notified of legally restricted disclosures or disclosures for legitimate educational interest.
  3. Students have the right to restrict the disclosure of Directory Information.  To restrict the disclosure of Directory Information, a student must file a written request with the Registrar.  This request to restrict disclosure of Directory Information will be honored until the student notifies the Registrar, in writing, to the contrary (see section on Directory Information below).
  4. Students who suspect a FERPA violation has occurred should contact the Registrar. Students also have a right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures of the College to comply with 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, D.C. 20202-8520

EXCEPTIONS UNDER FERPA

Under certain conditions, personally identifiable information can be released without student consent.  These exceptions include:

Directory Information 

The use of the term Directory Information does not mean that the College actually has a document containing Student Directory Information, or that the College has any obligation to produce such a document.  The term Directory Information is a legal term applying to information that the College can release, without student consent, to any third party.

The College has defined Directory Information as the following:

  • Student name
  • Enrollment status and credit load
  • Date of Birth
  • Major field of study
  • Classification and year
  • Dates of enrollment
  • Expected graduation date
  • Types of degrees/diplomas/certificates and date granted
  • Academic honors/awards received and date granted
  • Photos/videos of students for use in College press releases, publications, and web sites
  • Nicolet College assigned student email addresses

U.S. Military

According to the Solomon Amendment, the College must release the student’s name, address, phone number, date of birth, class level, degrees received, major, and the most previous educational institution in which the student was enrolled to the U.S. Armed Forces.

Authorized Federal, State, and Local Authorities

Student authorization is not required to disclose PII to an authorized representative of the following individuals or entities:

  • The Comptroller General of the United States
  • The Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education
  • State educational authorities
  • Accrediting organizations
  • Agencies involving an audit or evaluation of compliance with education programs

Financial Aid

The College may disclose PII from a student’s education record without the student’s consent if the information disclosed is necessary to determine the eligibility for financial aid; determine the amount of the aid; determine the conditions for the aid; and/or enforce the terms and conditions of the aid. The disclosure of PII to Employers, Native American Tribal Education Departments, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, and the Veterans Administration is permissible as long as the disclosure of PII is in connection with the payment of financial aid funds for which the student has applied or has already received. 

Studies

The College may disclose PII from a student’s education record without the student’s consent to organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, Nicolet College.

Other Educational Institutions 

Personally identifiable information can be released to other schools where the student is dually enrolled, seeks, or intends to enroll.

Emergency Situations 

Personally identifiable information can be released to law enforcement personnel, emergency personnel, and College officials in an emergency to protect the health or safety of students or other persons.

Legitimate Educational Interest 

Officials of the College who have a legitimate educational interest may have access to student records without obtaining consent from the student.

Officials of the College are defined as:

  • persons employed by the College in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position,
  • persons serving on College governing bodies, and
  • persons employed by or under contract to the College to perform a specific task, such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent.

An official has a legitimate educational interest if they need to:

  • perform duties specified in their job description or under terms of contractual agreement;
  • provide campus services related to a student, such as advising, financial aid, and counseling;
  • conduct tasks related to a student’s education, campus discipline or security.

Judicial Order

Personally identifiable information must be released to comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena.  Unless the court (or other issuing agency) has ordered that the existence or the contents of the subpoena or judicial order not be disclosed, the College will make a reasonable effort to notify the student before complying so that the student may seek protective action.

Grievance Hearing 

Information about a student or students involved in a grievance investigation may be released to members of the grievance committee, including any students assigned to that committee, if such information applies to the investigation.

Disciplinary Hearing 

The results of a disciplinary hearing may be released to an alleged victim of a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense without the permission of the accused.

U.S. Patriot Act

The College must release, without consent or knowledge of the student, personally identifiable information from the student’s education record to the Attorney General of the United States or designee in connection with the investigation or prosecution of terrorism crimes specified in sections 2332b(g)(5)(B) and 2331 of Title 18, U.S. Code.