GA-17 Educational Rights and Privacy Act

Policy Type: General Administrative

Policy Title: Educational Rights and Privacy Act

Policy Number: GA-17


All students and employees of Green River College.


  • Annual Notice: The notices that the College shall provide to each Student in attendance at the College at least annually of their rights pursuant to FERPA, the procedures for exercising their rights, information about the Directory Information Exception, and the process by which a Student may elect to opt out of the release of the Student’s Directory Information under that exception.
  • Consent: Written or electronic consent, signed by the Student or otherwise verified by the Student if electronic, that is dated and specifies the specific records to be disclosed, the party to whom the records are to be disclosed, and the purpose of the disclosure.
  • De-identified Record: An Education Record that has been stripped of all identifiers and/or aggregated such that it is not possible to re-identify an individual who is the subject of the record.
  • Directory Information: Information in a Student's Education Record that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. The following information about a Student has been designated by the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges and Green River College as Directory Information:
    • Student's name
    • Major field of study
    • Enrollment status
    • Dates of attendance
    • Participation in recognized sports
    • Degree or certificate earned
    • Term degree or certificate awarded
    • Honors
  • Disclosure: To permit access to, or release, transfer, or other communication of personally identifiable information contained in education records by any means, including oral, written, or electronic means, to any party except the party identified as the party that provided or created the record.
  • Dates of Attendance: The period of time during which a student attends or attended the College, not including specific daily records of a student’s attendance.
  • Education Program: Any program that is principally engaged in the provision of education including but not limited to: postsecondary education, job training, career and technical education, and adult education, and any program that is administered by the college.
  • Education Records: records directly related to a Student that are maintained by or on behalf of the College. Education records do not include:
    • Records of instructional, administrative, and educational personnel that are: in the sole possession of the maker (i.e. file notes of conversations); used only as a personal memory aid; not intended to be accessible or revealed to any individual except, in the case of an instructor, a temporary substitute;
    • Medical records and mental health records, including counseling records created, maintained, and used only in connection with provision of mental health treatment or counseling to the student or provision of accommodations, that are not disclosed to anyone other than the service department.
    • Employment records unrelated to the Student's status as a Student;
    • Records created or received by the College after an individual is no longer a student in attendance and that are not directly related to the individual’s attendance as a student;
    • Grades on peer-graded papers before they are collected and recorded by an instructor;
    • Records maintained by the College’s Campus Safety department;
    • Alumni records.
  • Personally Identifiable Information: Information obtained from or contained in an Education Record that can be used to identify a Student to whom the record relates or another Student. It specifically includes information determined by the College to be:
    • Student’s name;
    • The name of the student’s parent(s) or other family members;
    • The address of the student or student’s family members;
    • A personal identifier such as a student’s social security number, student ID number, or biometric record;
    • Other indirect identifiers such as the student’s date of birth, place of birth, or mother’s maiden name;
    • Other information that, alone or in combination, is linked or linkable to a specific Student such that it would allow a reasonable person in the College community who does not have personal knowledge of the relevant circumstances, to identify the Student with reasonable certainty; or
    • Information requested by a person who the College reasonably believes knows the identity of the Student to whom the Education Record relates.

Unless the context of this policy indicated otherwise, a reference to an Education Records includes Personally Identifiable Information contained in or obtained from an Education Record.

  • Student: An individual, regardless of age, who is or who has been in attendance at the College. For the purposes of this policy "Attendance" includes a person who has applied and been admitted, is in attendance in person, or by distance learning and the period during which a person is working in a position that requires student status, such as a under a work-study program position.
  • Authorized Representative: Any entity or individual designated by a state or local educational authority or an agency headed by an official listed in § 99.31(a)(3) to conduct – with respect to federal- or state-supported educational programs – any audit or evaluation, or any compliance or enforcement activity in connection with federal legal requirements that relate to these programs.
  • Biometric Record: A record of one or more measurable biological or behavioral characteristics that can be used for automated recognition of an individual. For example: fingerprints, retina or iris patterns, voice prints, DNA sequence, facial characteristics and handwriting
  • College Official with a Legitimate Educational Interest: Any person employed by the College in an administrative, supervisory, academic, or support staff position, including a person or company with whom the College has an affiliation or contract (such as a College attorney or auditor, or a clinical facility where a student is participating in an internship); or a person assisting another College Official in performing his or her tasks (such as a volunteer or committee member), if that person or contractor requires access to an Education Record in order to fulfill his or her official responsibilities on behalf of the College.


The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), 20 U.S.C. §1232g and 34 CFR Part 99 are federal laws and regulations that provide students with the following rights with respect to their education records:

  • to inspect and review the student's education records;
    • The College shall not destroy any education records if there any outstanding requests to inspect or review aforementioned records
    • Requests by a Student for Education Records will be processed by the College no more than 45 calendar days after receiving the written request.
    • The College shall respond to reasonable requests for explanations and interpretations of the Records.
  • to request amendment of the student's education records to ensure that they are not inaccurate or misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA;
    • Substantive judgment of a faculty member about a student's work, expressed in grades and/or evaluations, is not within the purview of this right.
  • to consent to disclosure of the student's education records to third parties, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent;
  • to be notified of the student's privacy rights under FERPA; and
  • to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the College to comply with the requirements of FERPA.


Inspecting and Reviewing the Student’s Education Records: A Student has the right, upon request, to review all materials that are in the Student's Education Records, except:

  1. Financial information submitted by the Student's parents;
  2. Confidential letters and recommendations associated with admissions, employment or job placement, or honors, to which the student has waived rights of inspection and review or which were made part of the Student’s Education Records prior to January 1, 1975, provided those letters were collected under established policies of confidentiality and were used only for the purposes for which they were collected;
  3. Education records containing information about more than one Student, in which case the College will permit access only to that part of the record that pertains to the inquiring student; and
  4. Records that are subject to an attorney-client privilege which belongs to the College.

Process for Students Requesting Access to Review Their Education Records: The Registrar is designated as the official custodian of College’s Education Records.

  1. A student should submit to the Registrar a written request that identifies the record(s) the student wishes to inspect.
  2. The school official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.
  3. If the records are not maintained by the school official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.

Requesting an Amendment of the Student’s Education Records: A student who wishes to request amendment of education records the student believes is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA.

  1. A student should submit to the Registrar a written request clearly identifying the part of the record the student wants changed and specify why it should be changed.
  2. If Green River College decides not to amend the record as requested, the College will notify the student in writing of the decision and the student’s right to a hearing regarding the request or amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.

Consent to Disclosure of the Student’s Education Records to Third Parties: A student may provide written consent for Green River College to disclose Personally Identifiable Information (PII) from their education records.

Exceptions: FERPA permits the disclosure of PII from a student’s education record, without consent of the student, if the disclosure meets certain conditions found in § 99.31 of the FERPA regulations. These exceptions include disclosures:

  1. To other school officials, including faculty, within Green River College whom the College has determined to have legitimate educational interest. This includes contractors, consultants, volunteers, or other parties to whom the College has outsourced institutional services or functions, provided the conditions listed in § 99.31 are met.
  2. To officials of another school where the student seeks or intends to enroll, or where the student is already enrolled if the disclosure is for purposes related to the student’s enrollment or transfer, subject to the requirements of § 99.34.
  3. To authorized representatives of the U.S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or State and local educational authorities, such as a State postsecondary authority responsible for supervising the College’s State-supported education programs, subject to the requirements of § 99.35.
  4. In connection with financial aid for which the student has applied or which the student has received, if the information is necessary to determine eligibility for the aid, determine the amount of aid, determine the conditions of the aid, or enforce the terms and conditions of the aid.
  5. To organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, the College in order to develop, validate or administer predictive tests; administer student aid programs; or improve instruction.
  6. To accrediting organizations to carry out their accrediting functions.
  7. To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena.
  8. To appropriate officials in connections with a health or safety emergency, subject to § 99.36.
  9. Information the school has designated as “directory information” under § 99.37.
  10. To a victim of an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense, subject to the requirements of § 99.39. The disclosure may only include the final results of the disciplinary proceeding with respect to that alleged crime or offense, regardless of the finding.
  11. To the general public, the final results of a disciplinary proceeding, subject to the requirements of § 99.39, 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 them.
  12. To parents of a student regarding the student’s violation of any Federal, State, or local law, or of any rule or policy of the College, governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance if the school determines the student committed a disciplinary violation and the student is under the age of 21.

Record of Disclosures: The College will maintain a record for each disclosure request and each disclosure of Student's Education Records, except disclosures:

  1. To the student;
  2. Pursuant to the written consent of the student;
  3. Pursuant to the exception for School Officials with a Legitimate Educational Interest;
  4. Pursuant to a law enforcement subpoena and the issuing court or other issuing agency has ordered that the existence or the contents of the subpoena or the information furnished in response to the subpoena not be disclosed or the order is concerning an authorized investigation or prosecution of domestic or international terrorism; or
  5. Of Directory Information.

Notice of Rights under FERPA: The College shall provide Annual Notice to each Student of their rights under FERPA and this policy by publishing this policy in the College catalogues and by sending official notice to students via their preferred email address, as indicated in the College’s student information system (ctcLink).

Filing a Complaint: Written complaints regarding alleged violations of the rights accorded students by the Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) may be filed with the Family Policy Compliance Office, US Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20202.

Unauthorized Disclosure:

  1. Immediately upon discovery of an unauthorized disclosure of student education records or personally identifiable information contained therein, the employee or agent of the college who becomes aware of the breach should take steps to mitigate the breach and prevent any further unauthorized disclosure of information.
  2. The employee or agent should notify the college’s FERPA officer (the Registrar) and their immediate supervisor, as soon as possible about the breach.
  3. The FERPA officer or designee will investigate the incident to determine the nature and scope of the breach, including who accessed the information and how it was disclosed.
  4. The FERPA officer or designee will then take appropriate steps to address the breach, such as notifying affected individuals, reviewing and procedures, and providing additional training to the employees and agents involved in the unauthorized disclosure(s).
  5. The FERPA officer or designee will maintain records of the incident, including the nature and scope of the breach, the steps taken to address the breach, and any additional actions taken to prevent future breaches.
  6. If the breach is likely to result in identity theft or other harm to affected individuals the FERPA officer or designee may also notify the Department of Education.
  7. The FERPA officer or designee will periodically review and revise the institution's policies and procedures to ensure ongoing compliance with FERPA regulations and to prevent future breaches.

The institution will provide annual FERPA training to all employees and agents who have access to student education records to ensure that they understand their obligations under FERPA and the institution's policies and procedures for protecting student privacy.

Specific Authority: Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974; 20 U.S.C. §1232g and 34 CFR Part 99

Law Implemented:

History of Policy or Procedure

Draft Date: April 5, 2023

Reviewed By: Student Affairs Leadership Team

Contact: Jenny Wheeler, director of the office of the registrar, ext 3411

Executive Team Sponsor: Sponsor: David Larsen, Dean of Enrollment and Completion, 253-833-9111, ext. 3307,


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