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FERPA and Confidentiality

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. They are:

  • The right to inspect and review the student's educational records within 45 days of the day the College receives a request for access. Students should submit to the Registrar a written request that identifies the record(s) that they wish to inspect. The College 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 College official to whom the request was submitted, the College official will advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
  • The right to request the amendment of the student's education records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading. Students may ask the College to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. They should write to the College official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the College decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the College will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his/her right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
  • The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception which permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the College in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position; a person or company with whom the College has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee (such as a disciplinary or grievance committee).
  • The right to file a complaint with the US Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the College 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
    600 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, DC 20202-4605

For more information about the "Release of Student Information," please refer to the SUNY Schenectady County Community College Catalog.

When Does FERPA take Effect?

FERPA becomes effective on the first day of classes (see academic calendar) for those newly admitted students who are registered for at least one class. “Student” applies to all students, including continuing education students, students auditing classes, distance education students, and former students. Individuals who have applied for admission, but have not been accepted, have no rights under FERPA.

Notice of Disclosure and Directory Information

Generally, schools must have written permission from a student in order to release any information from a student’s education record. However, FERPA permits the disclosure of personally identifiable information (PII) from students’ education records, without consent of the student, if the disclosure meets certain conditions found in §99.31 of FERPA regulations, some of which are listed below:

  • School officials with legitimate educational interest*
  • 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
  • Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies
  • State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific State law

*School Officials with a Legitimate Education Interest

A school official is a person employed by SUNY Schenectady County Community College and/or the State University of New York — SUNY 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 Schenectady County Community College 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 Personally Identifiable Information (PII) from educational 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 has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities for SUNY Schenectady County Community College and/or the State University of New York — this is in accordance with the College’s FERPA policy.

A student may choose to waive their FERPA rights and allow academic information to be shared with certain people by completing a FERPA waiver form. This waiver allows SUNY Schenectady County Community College to share academic information from the student’s education records with the persons listed on the completed form when they provide the student’s SUNY Schenectady ID and the correct password. The FERPA waiver should be completed and presented in person at the Registrar’s Office, Admissions, or the Student Business Office. Alternatively, the student may complete the form, have their signature notarized, and return the original, notarized form to:

Registrar’s Office
Elston 212
SUNY Schenectady County Community College
78 Washington Ave
Schenectady, NY 12305

Directory Information

Institutions are permitted to release directory information on students unless the student has notified the institution to withhold this information. Directory information is “public” information, which may be released without the student’s consent to persons making inquiry. SUNY Schenectady County Community College has designated directory information to include:

  • Student’s full name
  • Campus email address
  • Dates of attendance
  • Degrees awarded
  • Enrollment status
  • Major
  • Degrees and awards received
  • Photograph
  • Participation in officially recognized sports and activities

Students have the right to restrict the disclosure of items designated as directory information. If students exercise this right, such information will not be released without their written consent except as provided by law and College policy. Students wishing to restrict the release of the items identified as directory information must notify the Registrar’s Office within 30 days of the beginning of the term by completing the Confidentiality Request form and returning it to the Registrar’s Office.