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Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA)

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Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) 

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords parents and students certain rights with respect to the student's education records. These rights are:

  1. The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days after the day SUNY Cobleskill receives a request for access. 

    Parents or eligible students should submit to the College Registrar a written request that identifies the records they wish to inspect. The school official will make arrangements for access and notify the parent or eligible student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.
  2. The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the parent or eligible student believes are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA.

    Parents or eligible students who wish to ask SUNY Cobleskill to amend a record should write the College Registrar, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed and specify why it should be changed. If the school decides not to amend the record as requested by the parent or eligible student, the school will notify the parent or eligible student of the decision and of their right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to   the parent or eligible student when notified of the right to a hearing.
  3. The right to provide written consent before the school discloses personally identifiable information (PII) from 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 school as an administrator, supervisor, instructor, or support staff member (including health or medical staff and law enforcement unit personnel) or a person serving on the school board. A school official also may include a volunteer or contractor outside of the school  who performs an institutional service of 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, medical consultant, or therapist; a parent or student volunteering to serve on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee; or a parent, student, or other volunteer assisting 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 responsibility.

    Upon request, the College may disclose education records without consent to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll or is already enrolled if the disclosure is for purposes of the student’s enrollment or transfer. 
  4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the SUNY Cobleskill to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA are: 

            Family Policy Compliance Office
            U.S. Department of Education
            400 Maryland Avenue, SW
            Washington, DC 20202

SUNY Cobleskill and SUNY System Administration are deemed ‘school officials’ with ‘legitimate educational interest’ under FERPA.  SUNY Cobleskill and SUNY System Administration share student record information regularly in support of student needs. Students personally identifiable information is protected within both entities and requires student authorization to share any non-directory information with a third-party request.  

A “school official” does not need student consent to access the record of a student. Who can be a “school official”?

  1. A person employed by the college in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position (including law enforcement and health staff personnel),
  2. Board of Trustees,
  3. Or a company employed by or under contract to the college to perform a specific task, such as, an agent, an attorney, an auditor, or an outsourced service provider,
  4. A person serving as a student representative or as a volunteer on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks.

A person with “legitimate educational interest” is a “school official” who is contracted by Cobleskill as a volunteer, vendor, auditor, attorney, collection agency, administrator, supervisor, instructor, or support staff member (including healthcare medical staff and law enforcement unit personnel) or a person serving on the Board of Trustees or System Administration and needs to review educational records in order to fulfill his/her/their professional responsibilities.

Cobleskill Directory Information under FERPA 

SUNY Cobleskill has designated directory information, according to FERPA as Amended, to be the student’s:

This information can be released without written prior consent from the student. All other education records will be released only under compliance with FERPA. Students currently enrolled at SUNY Cobleskill may object to the release of “directory information” pertaining to them by completing the FERPA Confidentiality Directory Exclusion Request and submitting the form to the Registrar’s Office, Knapp Hall 101, within fourteen (14) days following the first day of classes each semester.  Completion of this document means Directory Information will be excluded indefinitely unless a student completes and submits the FERPA Revocation of Confidentiality Directory Exclusion Request.

Parental Access under FERPA

A parent’s access to their eligible students’ records requires student authorization by filling out the FERPA Student Records Access Authorization form and submitting it to the Office of the Registrar.  Faculty, staff and administration are not able to discuss student academic records unless authorization from the student is provided.  Requests to revoke access to a student’s record must be submitted in writing to the Office of the Registrar in Knapp Hall.