Confidentiality of Student Records:  FERPA

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974, 20 U.S.C. 1232g, is a federal law that protects the confidentiality of student educational records. Lawson State Community College officials recognize their obligation to exercise discretion in recording and disseminating information about a student. To implement this law and to meet the obligation to the student, a written institutional policy governing student records has been formulated. Annual notification will be made to Lawson State Community College students to their rights relative to educational records by publishing the policy in the Student Catalog and within page (scroll down to view FERPA information). 



For purposes of this policy, a student is defined as an individual who has been admitted and is enrolled or has been enrolled at the College. A student has the right of access to his/her educational records and may inspect and review the information contained therein. Exceptions to a student's rights of access are stated in the College policy. Educational records refer to all records maintained directly pertaining to an individual as a student. At the postsecondary level, parents have no inherent rights to inspect a student's education records. The right to inspect is limited solely to the student.

Click below for customized FERPA brochures / Student Notification:

                  

Faculty Information                             Student Information     


Student Access to Records

A. The student has the following rights:

  • To be provided with a list of the types of educational records maintained in the College.
  • To inspect and review contents of these educational records.
  • To be given responses by the Director of Admissions and Records to reasonable requests for explanation and interpretation of these records.
  • To request amendment of any part of these records considered by the student to be inaccurate or misleading.
  • To be afforded hearings, should the request to amend the records be declined.
  • 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.
  • To file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Lawson State Community.
  • College to comply with the requirements of FERPA.

B. The student does not have access to the following records: 

  • Financial records, including any information those records contain, of his/her parents.
  • Confidential letters and confidential statements of recommendation placed in the educational record prior to January 1, 1975, as long as the statements are used only for the purposes for which they were specifically intended.
  • Confidential letters and statements of recommendations placed in the file after January 1, 1975, if the student has waived his/her right to inspect and review those letters and statements and those letters and statements are related to the student's admission to an educational institution, application for employment, and receipt of an honor or honorary recognition.
  • Instructional, supervisory, and administrative personnel records which remain the sole possession of the maker.
  • Campus security records.
  • Employment records, except when such employment requires that the person be a student.
  • Alumni office records.
  • Physical or mental health records created by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professionals.

Procedures for Access:

The Office Student Records has a list of educational records maintained by the College. The Registrar may require that a college official be present when a student inspects and reviews his/her educational records. A student should submit to the Registrar a letter that identifies the record(s) he/she wishes to inspect. If it is an inappropriate time to retrieve the record(s) on short notice, the Registrar will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the Registrar, the student will be advised of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed. Any questions concerning a student's access to records should be directed to the Registrar.
 

Amendment of Education Records:

A student may ask for amendment of a record that he/she believes is inaccurate or misleading. The student should make the request in writing to the Dean of Students, clearly identify the part of the record requesting to be changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the decision is not to amend the record as requested by the student, the Dean of Students 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.

Release of Directory Information:

The College may release directory information to others without the necessity of obtaining permission from the student. Directory information is limited to the following:

  • Student's name, address (local and permanent), and telephone number.
  • Parents and Spouse.
  • Date and place of birth.
  • Major field of study.
  • Participation in officially recognized activities and sports.
  • Weight and height statistics for athletic team members.
  • Dates of attendance.
  • Degrees and awards received.
  • Previous educational institution most recently attendance.
  • Photographs.

If a student does not wish the directory information released, he or she may indicate by notifying the Registrar in writing at the time of registration, and the College will withhold the information during that particular semester. The request for nondisclosure of directory information should be renewed each semester.

Directory information will not be disclosed to private or profit making entities other than employers, prospective employers or representatives of the news media. Directory information will be released only on the condition that the party to whom the information is disclosed will not disclose the information to any other party without prior written consent of the student. When directory information is disclosed to an institution, agency or organization, such information may be used by its officers, employees, and agents but only for the purposes for which the disclosure was made.

C.  Release of Educational Records

The student may request release of copies of those educational records that are subject to release. The student must submit a written request in the Office of Student Records and specify the following information:

The student may request release of copies of those educational records that are subject to release. The student must submit a written request in the Office of Student Records and specify the following information:
  • Records to be released.
  • Purpose of disclosure.
  • Party and address to which information is to be released.

All paper requests must have the student's signature (not printed name) in the space provided for the signature.   Copies of transcripts from other colleges or university are not release to the student or other parties. A student may request to view his/her educational records under the supervision of the Registrar. Student educational records may be released to the following without prior written consent from the student:

School officials within the institution who have been determined by the College to have a legitimate educational interest.

School officials include counselors and instructors who are involved in counseling students, administrators who assist in counseling and who advise students with other problems, professional staff and clerical staff who directly relate to the administrative task of the College, College law enforcement officials, College attorneys, auditors, and a student serving on an official College committee.

A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his/her professional responsibility.

Authorized representatives of the Comptroller General of the United States, the Secretary of Education, or state or local educational authorities.

Appropriate authorities in connection with financial aid if the information is necessary to determine eligibility, amount of aid, conditions of aid, or to enforce the terms and conditions of the aid.

State and local authorities if a state statute adopted before November 19, 1974, specifically requires disclosures to those officials.

Organizations conducting studies, for, or on behalf of, the College for the purpose of developing, validating, or administering predictive tests, administering student aid programs, and improving instruction and student life provided that the studies will not permit the personal identification of the student and his/her parents by individuals other than representatives of the organization and provided that the personally identifiable information furnished will be destroyed when no longer needed for the purposes for which the study was conducted.

Accrediting organizations to carry out their functions.

Officials to comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena with the understanding that the student will be notified in advance insofar as possible.

Appropriate parties to protect the health and safety of the student or another individual in emergencies with the understanding that only information essential to the emergency situation will be released.

No personal information about a student will be released without statements from the College to the parties receiving the information that no third parties are to have access to such information without the written consent of the student whose records are involved. 

The Office of Student Records will maintain records of all requests and disclosures of personally identifiable information from the educational records of a student except for information requested in writing by the student and directory information. The student may inspect the record of requests, disclosures and the legitimate interests of the parties requesting or obtaining information.

Any student who believes that his/her rights under the Privacy Act have been violated by the College may notify and request assistance from the Dean of Students and may file a complaint with the Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 600 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20202-4605.

Lawson State Community College offers equal opportunity in its employment, admissions, and educational programs and activities in compliance with Section of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The 504 Coordinators are Ms. Renay Herndon, Building A, Room 198 on Bessemer Campus,  (205) 929-3419 and Ms. Philana Suggs, Student Center, 2nd floor on Birmingham Campus, Room 221 (205) 929-6383.