Privacy of Students' Education Records
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 ("FERPA") affords students certain rights regarding their education records. These steps include:
The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days after the college receives a request for access. A student should submit a written request that identifies the record(s) the student wishes to inspect to the Office of the Registrar, Joliet Junior College, 1215 Houbolt Rd., Joliet, IL 60431. The record custodian or other responsible school official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the school official to whom the request was submitted, he or she shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed. A student does not have the right to a copy or to copy the educational record during the inspection.
The right to request an amendment of the student's education records that the student believes are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student's privacy rights under FERPA.
A student who wishes to ask the school to amend a record should write to the school official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record the student wants changed, and specify why it should be changed.
If JJC decides not to amend the record as requested, JJC will notify the student in writing of the decision and of the student's right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when the student is notified of the right to a hearing.
The right to provide written consent before JJC discloses personally identifiable information (PII) from the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
JJC discloses education records without a student's prior written consent under the FERPA exception for 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 (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person serving on the board of trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee. A school official also may include a volunteer or contractor outside of JJC who performs an institutional service or function for which the school would otherwise use its own employees and who is under the direct control of the school with respect to the use and maintenance of PII from education records, such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent or a student volunteering to assist another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official typically has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities for JJC.
In addition, it includes persons or organizations providing financial aid, to accrediting agencies carrying function, to representatives of the federal and state governments for audit and evaluation of federal- and state-supported programs, to persons in compliance with a judicial order and to persons in an emergency in order to protect the health and safety of students or other persons.
Rights Regarding Directory Information
FERPA permits school officials to disclose any and all education records, including disciplinary records, to other institutions at which a student seeks to enroll or intends to enroll. FERPA also allows a school to release, without prior consent, information contained in the education record if a student that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. Students have the right to refuse to let the college release designated "directory information" listed in 3.a. below, by using the opt-out procedure explained in 3.b. below.
a. JJC hereby designates the following items as "directory information" which may be disclosed by the College at its discretion:
- Student's Name
- Student's Hometown
- JJC-issued student e-mail address
- Enrollment Status - (Full or Part-time)
- Dates of Attendance
- Major field of study
- Awards, honors (includes Dean's list)
- Degree(s) conferred (including dates)
- Past and present participation in officially recognized sports and activities (height and weight for members of athletic teams)
b. To have any or all of the above "directory information" withheld, the student must give JJC written notice by submitting the attached Request to Withhold Disclosure of Directory Information form to the Office of the Registrar, Joliet Junior College, 1215 Houbolt Rd., Joliet, IL 60431 by the 15th day of classes of the first semester in which the student has enrolled during an academic year. Such a request shall be valid for the current academic year. A student may opt out of disclosure of directory information by providing written notice to the Registrar's office.
The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by JJC to comply with the 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, DC 20202
FERPA & Parents
FERPA Guide for Parents
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (sometimes referred to as FERPA) was designed to protect the privacy of educational records and to establish the rights of students to inspect and review their educational records. It also provided control over the release of educational record information. The original intent of this legislation was to keep elementary and high school records private and to give parents access to their child’s school records.
Once a student turns eighteen, or attends school beyond secondary school, the rights of access to the student’s records transfer to the student. This includes students that are dually enrolled in high school and college. This means that all academic information regarding your college student goes directly to the student unless the student has given specific, written permission to release that information to someone else. While parents naturally have an interest in their child's academic progress (and may even be paying for their education), they are not automatically granted access to their records.
"Education records" are records that are directly related to a student and that are maintained by an educational agency or institution or a party acting for or on behalf of the agency or institution. These records include but are not limited to grades, transcripts, student course schedules, student financial information, and student discipline files. Joliet Junior College will not release any documents that are from another institution or entity to the student or to any party unless required by law.
Under FERPA, a school is not required to provide information that is not maintained or to create education records in response to a parent's request. Accordingly, a school is not required to provide a parent with updates on his or her child's progress in school unless such information already exists in the form of an education record.
Even with a release of records, faculty members are not required to provide updates to parents upon request. It should not be expected for faculty to provide continuous updates regarding the student. Nor does FERPA grant parents the ability to act on behalf of the student or make decisions for the student, i.e. add or drop courses, file complaints, request modifications to instruction, alter documents, etc. (www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/parents.html)
What does FERPA mean for a college parent?
Generally, FERPA rules mean that student academic information such as grades or academic standing (GPA, academic transcript, academic warning, academic probation, or discipline records) will be given to the student and not to the parents. College students are considered responsible adults who may determine who will receive information about them. College representatives are prohibited from discussing information about the student’s academic record with parents. JJC has a waiver form, students can access this form through the student portal, which students can sign allowing records to be released to parents. The student may, or may not, wish to sign this release. Students cannot be coerced or forced to sign this form under the law, or it becomes invalid.
The quickest, easiest way for you to receive information about your student's grades or other student information is to ask your child to provide it to you. Students have access to most student information through WebAdvisor portal, which provides online access to transcripts, schedules, grades, and degree audits. Financial aid records and student bills are also available through this portal. Students can print or e-mail needed information to their parents. Students and their parents may also choose to log-in together at regular intervals to review the student's records. This provides a great opportunity to talk with your student about their experience and progress. Finally, parents can request from the student to see the course syllabus, which outlines the expectations of the course, and have conversations with the student about how they are meeting these expectations.
Are there any exceptions to the restrictions limiting the release of student information?
There is a health and safety exception to FERPA regulations. If a student is considered a threat to himself or to others, or there is a need to protect the health and safety of the student for some reason, information may be shared with parents. If non-directory information is needed to resolve a crisis or emergency situation, an educational 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. A school may also disclose to parents any violation of the use or possession of drugs or alcohol by students under twenty-one. An important note here is that the law allows, but does not require, such information to be released to parents.
As students and parents navigate the transition to independence and autonomy we encourage parents to have discussion with their college student. If contacting the College for information that cannot be accessed by the student and shared with the parent, then we encourage the student to contact the College with the parent and have the student lead the conversation. The parent does not have the ability to make decisions for the student, even with a FERPA release. Discussions via email or phone are discouraged, due to privacy concerns.
Ultimately, the goal of FERPA is to protect the privacy of student records and JJC is committed to protecting student information. If you have questions about FERPA, please contact one of the following staff members:
Dean of Students, Cynthia Vasquez Barrios email@example.com 815-280-2309
Assistant Registrar, Kathy Delgado firstname.lastname@example.org 815-280-2764
Compliance Officer, Tracy Morris email@example.com 815-280-2704
- Student Request to Inspect and Review Education Records (PDF)
- Student Request for Formal Hearing (PDF)
- Request to Withhold Disclosure of Directory Information
- Student Optional Disclosure of Private Mental Health Information Form
- FERPA Form
FAQ on Directory Information
Here is some information that students may ask about the release of their directory information. Directory information may be released, without written consent those items that are specified as directory information.
What is “Directory Information”?
Information contained in an education record of a student that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed.
What type of educational record information is contained in the release of directory information?
The students name, hometown, student’s college e-mail address, place of birth, major field of study, grade-level, enrollment status (e.g., undergraduate, full or part-time), dates of attendance, participation in officially recognized activities, and sports; weight and height of members of athletic teams; degrees or certificates, honors and awards received; and the most recent educational agency or institution attended.
In what circumstances can student directory information be solicited and by whom?
Federal law allows the information to be release to anyone seeking information that is contained in directory information. The college requires that the request be in writing to the Office of the Registrar.
Are students required to participate in directory information releases?
No, students have the right to withhold directory of information. Students are given the opportunity to opt out of the disclosure each semester by completing the 'Request to Withhold Disclosure of Directory Information' form in the section above. The student must complete the request no later than 15 days after the start of the academic semester. The request will remain on file for the academic year and students will need to complete new request the following fall semester.
Who generally submits requests for access to directory information?
Public or private institutions such as other community colleges, four-year universities, all branches of the armed services, or any other public or private service agencies ( e.g. scholarship and academic clearing houses), and any sporting information outlets.
If I opted out of directory information and leave school and are no longer in attendance may JJC disclose the directory information?
No, JJC is required to honor the eligible student’s request to opt out of the disclosure of directory information made while the student was in attendance, unless the student rescinds the opt out request.
Is there any benefit to disclosing this personal information?
That is a personal decision weighed by the individual student. This information is used by various parties that may offer opportunities to the student that might not otherwise be known to the student.