Student’s Right to Privacy
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. These rights include:
- The right to inspect and review their education record within 45 days of the day the College receives a request for access. Students should submit to the Registrar or Vice President and Dean for Academic Affairs written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The student will be notified of a time and place where the records may be inspected.
- The right to request the amendment of that part of a student’s education record that the student believes is inaccurate or misleading. The student should write to the Registrar, clearly identifying the part of the record he/she wants changed and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If Columbia College decides not to amend the record as requested, the College will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his or 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. Although not required, institutions may release information from a student’s record without prior consent, under the following allowable exceptions include the following:
- To school officials with legitimate educational interest (as defined by institution within FERPA guidelines).
One exception, which permits disclosure without consent, is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is defined as a person employed by the College in an administrative, supervisory, academic or support staff position (including law enforcement unit and health staff); 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, or 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 educational record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility. Upon request, the College discloses educational records in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility.
- To schools in which the student seeks or intended to enroll.
- To federal, state and local authorities involving an audit or evaluation of compliance with education programs.
FERPA Annual Notice to Reflect Possible Federal and State Data Collection and Use
As of January 3, 2012, the U.S. Department of Education’s FERPA regulations expand the circumstances under which your education records and Personally Identifiable Information (PII) contained in such records - including your Social Security Number, grades, or other private information - may be accessed without your consent. First, the U.S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or state and local educational authorities (“Federal and State Authorities”) may allow access to your records and PII without your consent to any third party designated by a Federal or State Authority to evaluate a federal or state-supported education program. The evaluation may relate to any program that is “principally engaged in the provision of education,” such as early childhood education and job training, as well as any program that is administered by an education agency or institution. Second, Federal and State Authorities may allow access to your education records and PII without your consent to researchers performing certain types of studies, in certain cases even when we object to or do not request such research. Federal and State Authorities must obtain certain use-restriction and data security promises from the entities that they authorize to receive your PII, but the Authorities need not maintain direct control over such entities. In addition, in connection with Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems, State Authorities may collect, compile, permanently retain, and share without your consent PII from your education records, and they may track your participation in education and other programs by linking such PII to other personal information about you that they obtain from other Federal or State data sources, including workforce development, unemployment insurance, child welfare, juvenile justice, military service, and migrant student records systems.
- In connection with financial aid.
- To organizations conducting studies of or on behalf of educational institutions.
- To accrediting agencies.
- To parents of dependent students.
- To comply with a judicial order or subpoena.
- In health or safety emergencies.
- As directory information (described below).
- To the student.
- Results of disciplinary hearings.
- Results of disciplinary hearing to an alleged victim or a crime of violence.
- Final results of a disciplinary hearing concerning a student who is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence and who is found to have committed a violation of the institution’s rule or policies.
- To parents of students under 21 if the institution determines that the student has committed a violation of its drug or alcohol rules or policies.
- The right to file a complaint with the U.S. 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 Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-4605
- Release of Directory Information. Under the provisions of the Act, Columbia College is allowed to disclose “Directory Information” without consent. “Directory Information” is described as name, address, telephone number, email address, dates of attendance, enrollment status, class, previous institutions attended, major field of study, awards, honors (including dean’s list), degree(s) conferred (including dates), past and present participation in officially recognized sports and activities, physical factors (height and weight of athletes), picture and date and place of birth. “Directory Information” is released at the discretion of the institution.
However, students who do not wish directory information to be released may prevent such release by completing and signing a Request to Prevent Disclosure of Directory Information form. If at any time you would like to remove this restriction, you may complete the Remove Request to Prevent Disclosure of Directory Information form. IMPORTANT: Please consider very carefully the consequences of restricting the disclosure of your directory information. The college will not be able to confirm your existence to any person or organization outside of Columbia College who may be requesting information or attempting to verify our enrollment or degree. Our response to the request or will be “I have no information on this individual.” Regardless of the effect upon you, Columbia College assumes no liability for honoring your request that such information be withheld.
You may also complete and return the Third Party Release Form or the Parental Release Form granting access of non-directory information (such as student’s account or grades) to parents or other individuals.
To submit one of these forms sign the completed form and send to:
Office of the Registrar
1001 Rogers Street
Columbia, MO 65216
Fax: (573) 875-7436 or
- Grade Reports: Columbia College grades are viewable through student access using CougarTrack. Columbia College will mail grades upon request only to the name and to the permanent address of a student as this information appears on the student’s academic record. Students are reminded that certain federal or state agencies may require grade reports as a condition of tuition assistance or as a matter of law and regulation.
- Content Challenge: A student may challenge the content of his or her academic record when the student believes the record to be inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise inappropriate. A request to review and challenge the academic record should be made in writing to the Columbia College Student Records Office. Thereafter, a hearing will be convened to resolve matters in dispute.
- Third Party Release: A student may grant permission for Columbia College to release nondirectory information to a third party by completing a Third Party Release form. This form allows (but does not require) Columbia College to provide any information including, but not limited to, academic information such as grade reports, financial information such as student account or financial aid records, or any informing concerning enrollment at Columbia College. Students should be aware that Federal and State Laws prohibit Columbia College from providing non-directory information to third parties without a signed release.