Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

At post-secondary institutions, anyone who is enrolled (regardless of age) and former students are protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”). Whether the student is 15 or 55, under FERPA we cannot answer questions or release information about the student (grades, current classes, etc.) to parents/families without the written permission of the student.

FERPA governs access to student records. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, otherwise known as FERPA, is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. FERPA awards students, when the student turns 18 years old or enters a post-secondary institution at any age, certain rights in regards to their educational records. FERPA prevents college officials from disclosing personally identifiable information from a student’s educational record, without written permission, unless a student approves disclosure by submitting a signed consent form. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education, such as Federal Financial Aid for students. Institutions are responsible for ensuring that all of its school officials comply with FERPA. FERPA regulations govern (1) release of education records and (2) access to them. Learn about which student information Central Piedmont staff can and can't share with third parties under FERPA regulations.

FERPA Resources

    FERPA Information for Students and Families

    • FERPA Protections

      Students' personal information is safe. Central Piedmont employees only have access to the information that they need to perform their function at the college. Each employee signs a confidentiality agreement before they are given access to the records. According to FERPA, employees must have a “legitimate educational interest” in the student’s records they are accessing. This means that the employee must need access to specific records in order to perform their job responsibilities. A student’s grades must be protected while in the classroom. Faculty members cannot post grades by name, social security number, or student ID in a public place or an online forum to which other students have access. Faculty must not post grades in a manner that would allow one student to determine the grades of another.

      Parents/families are encouraged to maintain an open dialogue with their student on his/her academic progress and performance. Regardless of the student’s age, we are unable to answer questions or release information about the student (grades, current classes, etc.) to parents/families without the written permission of the student. You can share your grades with a family member by requesting an unofficial transcript to share or by logging in to your MyCollege account or Blackboard to show your grades. Do not share your username and password.

    • Releasing FERPA-Protected Information to a Third Party

      The student may, at his or her discretion, grant the college permission to release information about his or her student records to a third party by submitting a completed student information release authorization form (PDF) to the Records Office. You are also required to complete a workplace learning release authorization (PDF) as part of an apprenticeship application. You must complete a separate form for each third party to whom you grant access to information on your student records each time you would like access to be granted. The specified information will be made available only if requested by the authorized third party.  This form authorizes release only of the specified information to the indicated third‐party designee when presented to a college representative with a copy of your student identification card. It cannot be used to authorize a standing release of information.

      For the third party designee you name on this form, this release overrides all FERPA directory suppression information that you may have set up on your student record.

      Mailed or faxed records service requests should be sent to:

      Central Piedmont Student Records
      PO Box 35009
      Charlotte, NC 28235-5009
      Fax: 704.330.6007

    • Release of Student Directory Information

      Directory information that can be disclosed without students' written consent includes:

      • student's name
      • city of residence
      • semesters attended
      • credentials earned and dates awarded
      • student's major field of study or program

      Students may prevent the release of directory information by making a request in writing to the Dean for Admissions, Registration, Records, and Graduation by the third week of the term.

    • Annual Notification of Rights Under FERPA

      The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students, when the student turns 18 years old or enters a postsecondary institution at any age, the following rights with respect to their education records:

      The right to inspect and review education records. To review records, students and former students may contact Student Records; present valid photo identification; and request in writing to review the record. Central Piedmont Community College will provide access to records within 30 days.

      The right to request amendment of education records that students believe are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA. Students may question information in their educational records that they believe to be incorrect or inaccurate. This request must be in writing and must be submitted to the Dean for Admissions, Registration, Records, and Graduation. All requests for corrections will be acted upon within 30 work days of receipt of the request. If the Dean 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 for Enrollment and Student Services. 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.

      The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. Central Piedmont Community College has declared the following information to be “directory”: student’s name; student’s city of residence; semesters of attendance; major field of study or program; credentials earned and dates awarded. “Directory” information may be disclosed without the written consent of the student. All other disclosures, except when permitted by FERPA, require the written consent of the student.

      One exception which permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official is performing a task that is specified in his or her position description or by a contract agreement, performing a task related to a student’s education, or performing a task related to the discipline of a student.

      The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Central Piedmont Community College to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA is:

      Family Policy Compliance Office
      U.S. Department of Education
      400 Maryland Avenue, SW
      Washington, D.C. 20202-5920
      Phone: 1.800.USA.LEARN or 1.800.872.5327

    • Parent/Family FERPA FAQs

      Q. I have a couple of students in my class who are minors. One is a concurrently enrolled high school student who is only sixteen. His father has asked for information about his progress - whether he is attending and if he is passing. If a student is a minor, it’s OK to share information to his parents, isn’t it?

      A. No. At post-secondary institutions, any current or former student, regardless of age, is protected by FERPA regulations.

      Q. Even if the parent verifies that the student is his tax dependent?

      A. No, not at Central Piedmont. FERPA says that colleges may provide student information to parents who claim a student for tax purposes - but not that we must. At Central Piedmont this is neither our policy, nor our practice

    FERPA Information for Staff/Faculty/Administration

    • Faculty/Staff: Learn More about FERPA

      Protect a student’s information like your own. When in doubt, don't give it out. Employees who desire to learn more may complete an online FERPA Awareness Training located inside the employee LearnerWeb Library under Online.

    • FERPA Information for Central Piedmont Staff: Grades

      A student’s grades must be protected while in the classroom. Faculty members cannot display grades by name, social security, number or student ID in a public place or an online forum to which other students have access. Faculty must not display grades in a manner that would allow one student to determine the grades of another.

    • FERPA Information for Central Piedmont Staff: Peer-Grading

      Peer-grading does not violate FERPA, because at the time of the peer-grading the grades are not part of the student’s educational record maintained by the teacher or institution.

    • FERPA Information for Central Piedmont Staff: Paperwork

      Under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, a teacher does not have to reveal any individual records they may keep for their use only. Those records are considered personal and are not made available to the school or any other third party. Such records may be shared with a substitute teacher, if, for instance, they affect the way the substitute must deal with the student. Keep all papers that include personally identifiable information in a locked file when not in use. Faculty or staff must not leave graded tests or papers out in an area for students to pick up after class, where students can see each other’s grades. When disposing of protected records, hard copies must be shredded or placed in secure shred bins and not placed in blue recycling bins. Recycled papers are not necessarily shredded and papers often sit where others could see the information.

    • FERPA Information for Central Piedmont Staff: Technical Devices

      When you leave your desk or walk away from your technical device – whether in a classroom, cubicle, or an office – you should lock your workstation. This will prevent someone from sitting down at your workstation and accessing student information that may be stored or accessed there. Administrators of social media sites must maintain the site so that the site does not violate Central Piedmont policy, FERPA, and/or state or federal laws. Mobile device synchronization is available for employees through ITS with the completion of the mobile device exchange server synchronization agreement form.

    • FERPA Information for Central Piedmont Staff:  Letters of Reference

      Faculty or staff must only release information in a letter of reference that would be considered directory information, unless you have written consent of the student on file in the records office.