Student Records Policy
CONFIDENTIALITY–Howard Community College’s (HCC) 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:
- HCC officials, according to the procedures of records, registration, and veterans' affairs (RRVA) and at the discretion of the custodian of records. HCC officials include contractors, consultants, volunteers, and other parties to whom the college has outsourced institutional services or functions;
- other educational institutions in which the student intends to enrolled or is already enrolled; although the student must be given a copy of the record before transmittal and provided with an opportunity to challenge the content or release of the record;
- Federal, state, and local officials when the law requires information to be reported;
- in connection with financial aid, veterans’ benefits, or tuition assistance, for which a student has applied or received if the information is necessary to determine eligibility, to determine the amount of the financial assistance, or enforce the term and conditions of the financial assistance;
- accrediting organizations in order to carry out accrediting functions;
- parents/guardians of students who are dependents for Internal Revenue Service purposes;
- parents/guardians of students enrolled in Kids on Campus, The Music Institute, soccer camp, and other non-credit youth activities, as well as the parents/guardians of students enrolled in the CORE program through the division of continuing education. Parents/guardians listed in this section may also request amendment of their student’s records on behalf of the student while the student is enrolled in the non-credit program. Once a student enrolls in any credit course, all rights transfer solely to the student;
- "appropriate persons" in the case of health and safety emergencies;
- organizations conducting studies for or on behalf of HCC in order to develop, validate, or administer predictive tests; administer student aid programs; or improve instruction;
- parties requesting “directory information;”
- victims of an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense; this disclosure may only include the final results of the disciplinary proceeding with respect to the alleged crime or offense, regardless of the finding;
- the general public; this disclosure includes the final results of a disciplinary proceeding if the college determines the student is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense and the student has committed a violation of the college’s rules or policies with respect to the allegation made against the person;
- the parents/guardians of a student regarding the violation of any federal, state, or local law, or any rule or policy of the college governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance if HCC determines that the student committed a disciplinary violation and the student is under the age of 21;
- in response to a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena, the college must attempt to notify the student in advance of compliance except as prescribed by law. The college will not notify students when a court order or subpoena states that notification of the student is prohibited; and
- authorized representatives of the United States Comptroller General, the United States Attorney General, the United States Secretary of Education, or state and local educational authorities such as a state post-secondary authority that is responsible for supervising the college’s state-supported education programs. Disclosures under this provision may be made in connection with an audit or evaluation of federal- or state-supported education programs, or for the enforcement of or compliance with federal legal requirements related to those programs. These entities may make further disclosures of personally identifiable information to outside entities that are designated as their authorized representatives to conduct audit, evaluation, enforcement, or compliance activity on their behalf. 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 unless the student opts out of the disclosure. Directory information includes names; photographs; high school attended; program of study; enrollment dates; degrees, honors, and awards if any; participation in officially recognized college activities or sports; and HCC athletes’ weight and height. Directory information may be withheld. Students may request their directory information be withheld by submitting a written request to RRVA. The request to opt out of directory information must be submitted with the refund period of the term. The college honors these requests until the student requests in writing that the request to withhold be terminated.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org).
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. Documents or files may not be removed by the student, and requests for copies of documents other than HCC official transcripts may be denied.
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.