Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

Policy Number
Board of Trustees
Date Approved
Effective Date
Responsible Division
Instruction and Student Support

In accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 (also known as The Buckley Amendment), Carteret Community College is committed to protecting privacy for all students, including distance-learning students.  This protection includes the information collected, how it is used, how we protect it, when it can be released, and access to personal information.  This applies to websites and email administered by the College.  The College may develop more specific privacy practices, procedures, and security statements related to the functionality of each web site.  By using any College web site (Carteret Community College website, Moodle site, Web Advisor, etc.) users are giving consent to the privacy and data practices described by our Privacy Procedures for that particular site.

Any student who believes that any right pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act has been violated or that college policy is not in compliance with the Act, may file a complaint directly:

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Office (FERPA) Department of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW) 330 Independence Avenue S.W.

Washington, D.C. 20201

Definition of terms: 

“STUDENT” - any person who attends, or has attended, the College. 

“FERPA” - Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. Students will be notified of their FERPA rights upon admission, via annual email notification and through this publication, available on the College website. 

"EDUCATION RECORDS" - Carteret Community College, in accordance with the North Carolina Community College System's Records Retention & Disposition Schedule, defines a student's education record as the student’s transcript and follows the records retention schedule established by the State for the disposal of other documents.  The term "education record," under the provisions of the law, does not include the following: 

  1. Records of institutional, supervisory, and administrative personnel which are in the sole possession of the maker and which are not accessible or revealed to any other person except a substitute for the above-named personnel;
  2. Records and documents of security officers of the institution which are kept apart from such education records; 
  3. Records on students which are made or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, counselor, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional acting in an official capacity and which are made, maintained, or used only in connection with a provision for treatment for the student and are not available to anyone other than the persons providing such treatment, except that such records can be personally reviewed by a physician or other appropriate professional of a given student's choice;
  4. Financial records of the parents of the students or other information therein contained; 
  5. Records connected with an application to attend the College, or a component unit of the College, if that application was denied; 
  6. Confidential recommendations if a given student has signed a waiver of the student's rights of access, provided such a waiver may not be required of the student; and 
  7. Confidential letters or statements of recommendation which were placed in educational records prior to January 1, 1975, if such records or statements are not used for purposes other than those for which they were specifically intended.

“DIRECTORY INFORMATION”- although the college does not produce or provide a directory of student information for public use, the following information is considered by the college as available without individual student consent:

  1. Student's name and hometown; 
  2. Major field of study or program; and 
  3. Dates of attendance, degrees, diplomas, or awards earned.

Carteret Community College, in the fulfillment of its responsibilities to students, must maintain accurate and confidential student records. College staff recognizes the rights of students to have access to their academic and personal records in accordance with existing college policy and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (Buckley Amendment). 

Students' records are their own property; therefore, this information is released only when a student signs an Academic Information Request Form. Students may have copies of their transcripts sent to any institutions or individuals they choose or may order copies for their own use. The college charges a nominal amount for copies of transcripts. 

The rules and regulations on access to and release of student information are available to students, faculty, and staff in the College Catalog & Student Handbook. They specify the procedures for release of student information, student access to records, a description of all student records being maintained by the college, and the procedure for students to initiate a hearing to challenge accuracy of educational records. 

Procedure to Inspect Education Records 

  1. Control Provisions on Student Records and Student Information.
    1. Transcripts and other information are released only with written permission of the student. When information other than the transcript is released from the student's official record (Office of Student Records), the student will receive a copy of the release.
    2. Students have the right to inspect their own records whether recorded in hard copy form or digitally archived. Upon inspection of their records, students are entitled to an explanation of any information contained in their records. 
    3. A student’s Education Record shall not be sent outside official enrollment areas (e.g., Counseling, Records, Admissions, Veterans Affairs) except in circumstances specifically authorized by the appropriate Dean. The authorization for such special circumstances must be in writing. 
  2. Release of a Student's Education Records to Educational Institutions, State, and Federal Agencies. 
    1. Such requests for confidential information shall not be honored without proper written consent by the student for the release of such records except under conditions indicated in paragraphs 2 and 5 below. 
      1. The written consent must specify the records or the specific data to be released, to whom they are to be released, and the reasons for release.
      2. Each request for consent must be specific, and each request must be handled separately.
    2. Requests for confidential information will be honored without prior consent of the student in connection with an emergency if, in the view of a reasonable person, the knowledge of such information by appropriate persons is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other persons. However, such a release shall have the approval of the Dean of Student Services unless it can be shown that under the circumstances either time would not permit or no authorized administrator was available.
    3. The following "Directory Information" may be made available to the public by the college unless students notify the Registrar in writing by the third week of the term that such information is not to be made available:
      1. Student's name and hometown;
      2. Major field of study or program; and
      3. Dates of attendance and degrees, diplomas, or awards earned. 
    4. Information Other than "Directory Information"  Any release of student information for public use or use by the media except that designated above (Part B. 3.) must have prior written approval by the students involved.
    5. Disclosure to Government Agencies. 
      1. Properly identified and authorized representatives of or bona fide written requests from the Comptroller General of the United States; an administrative head of a federal health, education, or human services agency; or state educational authorities may have access to student or other records which may be necessary in connection with the audit and evaluation of federal or state supported educational programs or in connection with the enforcement of the federal or legal requirements which relate to such programs. Routine requests for student data from such agencies as OEO, research agencies, and state reporting agencies may be honored without prior approval of the student only in formats where students are not identified. 
    6. Faculty and administrative officers of the college who demonstrate a legitimate educational need will be permitted to look at the official student file for a particular student. 
    7. Confidential information requested by other than federal or state agencies as specified in Part B. 5. above will be released only under the following conditions:
      1. An official order of a court of competent jurisdiction; or
      2. Subpoena. (Students will be notified immediately by registered mail that their records are being subpoenaed.) 
    8.  Record of Who Has Access 
      A record of access to a student’s education record will be maintained within the file itself. This record will show the name, address, date, and purpose of the person who has been granted access. All persons who have access will be included in this record except those institutional employees who, because of the nature of their duties, have been granted access. 

C. Student Access to Records

  1. Students may inspect and review their education records upon request to the Registrar.
  2. Students should submit to the Registrar, or an appropriate College staff person, a written request which identifies, as precisely as possible, the record or records the student wishes to inspect. 
  3. When a record contains information about more than one student, the student may inspect and review only the records which relate to the individual student. 
  4. The Registrar, or an appropriate College staff person, will make the needed arrangements for access as promptly as possible and notify the student of the time and place that the records may be inspected. Access must be given in 15 days or less from the date of receipt of the request. 

Refusal to Provide Copies 

The College reserves the right to deny copies of records, including transcripts, not required to be made available by FERPA in any of the following situations: 

  1. The student has an unpaid financial obligation to the College.
  2. There is an unresolved disciplinary action against the student.
  3. The education record requested is an exam or set of standardized test questions. (An exam or standardized test, which is not directly related to a student, is not an education record subject to FERPA's access provisions.) 

Records Retention: 

Student academic records are retained through an electronic archival system and reviewed at the time of program completion or termination of enrollment by the registrar’s office for accuracy. In accordance with the Records Retention & Disposition Schedule set forth by the North Carolina Community College System, the current student education record includes:

  • Applications for admission
  • Academic transcripts
  • Medical records
  • Aptitude and achievement test results
  • Delinquent account records
  • Grades
  • Degree audits with list of courses taken
  • Number of credits earned
  • Clearance notes
  • Correspondence 
  • Other related records 

Fees for Copies of Records 

A college or university may not charge for search and retrieval of the records. Upon electronically signed approval, the College will authorize the release of an official transcript to the student, another college, university, designated institution or through the Parchment Exchange company, if there is no indebtedness to the College. The fee for an official transcript is $3.50 if sent electronically, or $5.50 if sent by mail; unofficial transcripts are provided free of charge.  Correction of Education Records 

Students have the right to ask to have records corrected that they believe are inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of their privacy rights. Following are the procedures for the correction of records:

  1. A student must request, in writing, to the appropriate official of the College, to amend a record. In so doing, the student should identify the part of the record to be amended and specify why the student believes it is inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of their privacy rights.
  2. The College may comply with the request or it may decide not to comply. If it decides not to comply, the College will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of their right to a hearing to challenge the information believed to be inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the student's privacy rights.
  3. Upon request in writing, the College will arrange for a hearing and notify the student, reasonably in advance of the date, place, and time of the hearing.
  4. The hearing will be conducted by a hearing officer who is a disinterested party; however, the hearing officer may be an official of the College. The student shall be afforded a full and fair opportunity to present evidence relevant to the issues raised in the original request to amend the student's education records. The student may be assisted by one or more individuals, including an attorney. 
  5. The College will prepare a written decision based solely on the evidence presented at the hearing. The decision will include a summary of the evidence presented and the reasons for the decision. 
  6. If the College decides the information is inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the student's right of privacy, it will amend the record and notify the student, in writing, that the record has been amended. 
  7. If the College decides that the challenged information is not inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the student's right of privacy, it will notify the student that they have a right to place in the record a statement commenting on the challenged information and/or a statement setting forth reasons for disagreeing with the decision. 
  8. The statement will be maintained as part of the student's education records as long as the contested portion is maintained. If the College discloses the contested portion of the record, it must also disclose the statement. 
  9. Students have the right to review their official records maintained by the college. Furthermore, students may question any inaccurate or misleading information and request correction or deletion of such data from their files. 
  10. All such requests will be sent to the Registrar and will become part of that student's file. 
  11. All requests for correction of a student file will be acted upon within 15 work days of receipt of the request. If the custodian can verify that such data are, in fact, in error, appropriate corrections will be made, and the student will be notified in writing when the correction has been completed. If an error cannot be readily substantiated, the request will be referred to an ad hoc hearing committee appointed by the Vice President of Instruction and Student Support. 
  12. After a student has had the opportunity to present the case to the hearing committee, the committee will render a decision in writing, stating the reasons for its decision. If the decision is in agreement with the student's request, the student will be permitted to review the file to verify that the change has been made correctly. If the student's request is denied, the student will be permitted to add a statement to the record in question, showing the basis for the disagreement with the denial. Such additions will become a permanent part of the record