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2015-16 College Catalog

Online Catalog

Student Records Policy

CONFIDENTIALITY–Howard Community College’s policies concerning confidentiality are written and published in accordance with the amended federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974. The college accords all rights under the act to its students. No one outside the college shall have access to, nor will the college disclose any personally identifiable information from, a student’s record without the student’s written consent. This policy applies to all enrolled students.

Exceptions include the following within the limits of the need to know:

  • college officials including contractors, consultants, volunteers, and other parties to whom the college has outsourced institutional services or functions
  • officials of other institutions in which students intend to enroll or are already enrolled
  • persons or organizations providing students with financial aid, veterans benefits, or tuition assistance
  • accrediting agencies carrying out their accrediting function
  • persons complying with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena
  • those who in the event of an emergency must protect the health or safety of students or others
  • authorized representatives from federal, state, or local educational authorities
  • organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf, of HCC
  • parents of a dependent for IRS tax purposes
  • parents of students in the Kids on Campus, The Music Institute, and other non-credit youth activities offered by the college; parents under this exception may conduct business with the college on behalf of the student
  • victims of an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense
  • to the general public, the final results of disciplinary proceedings, if the student is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense in a violation of HCC’s code of conduct
  • to parents of students under the age of 21 who violate federal, state, local, or institutional laws or rules governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance.

All these exceptions are permitted in accordance with FERPA.

Students may also designate third parties who may request student record information. These permissions are maintained in the student information system and remain valid until the student requests in writing that the permission be terminated. Third party access to request information does not include the ability to request amendments to the student's record; therefore, third parties may not conduct business with the college on behalf of the student.

DIRECTORY INFORMATION–FERPA allows the release of student directory information. Directory information includes names, addresses, photographs, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, high school attended, program of study, enrollment dates, degrees, honors, and awards or lack thereof, participation in officially recognized college activities or sports, and HCC athletes’ weight and height. However, the college generally releases only the following directory information: students’ names, enrollment dates, earned degrees, honors and awards, or lack thereof. Directory information may be withheld. Students may request their directory information be withheld by submitting a written request to the office of records, registration and veterans' affairs (RRVA). The college honors such requests until revoked in writing.

ACCURACY OF RECORDS–Students must notify RRVA in writing of record changes involving name, address, telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, or social security numbers. Currently enrolled international citizens should inform the office of admissions and advising of immigration status changes. Students who are no longer enrolled at the college should still officially change their address and other contact information with RRVA. The office of admissions and advising must also be notified in writing about area of study changes; students must obtain an advisor’s signature as part of this process. Change of Information and Change of Area of Study forms are available online at www.howardcc.edu/admissions under "Important Forms" or at howardcc.edu/rrvaforms.

RECORD INSPECTION–FERPA gives students the right to inspect and review information contained in their education records and to challenge the content of their records. The registrar coordinates the inspection and review procedures for student education records. Students seeking to review their records should contact RRVA (RCF-233, 443-518-1240, register@howardcc.edu).

In accordance with FERPA, students may request inspection and review of all or part of their records by writing to the registrar. Records covered by FERPA will be available within 45 days of the request.

Education records include admissions, financial, academic, and financial aid files as well as cooperative education and placement records. Education records do not include records of instructional and administrative personnel, if the record remains in the sole possession of the maker.

Disciplinary records are held by the vice president of student services separate from education records in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct. Alumni, student health, and public safety records are not considered education records.

Students may not review financial information submitted by their parents, confidential letters and recommendations tied to admissions, employment, job placement, or honors to which they have waived inspection and review rights; or records involving more than one student. In that case, the college will allow access only to the part of the record involving the inquiring student.

Also, the college is not required to let students review confidential letters and recommendations placed in their files prior to January 1, 1975 if they were collected under established policies of confidentiality and used only for purposes for which they were collected.

Any student who believes his or her rights were abridged may file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education Family Policy Compliance Office, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20202.