Understanding Who Has Access to Student Information
Student rights concerning access to education records are spelled out in Federal Public Law 98-380 as amended by Public Law 93-568 and in regulations published by the Department of Education. The law and regulations require educational institutions to:
- Provide students the opportunity to inspect their education records. Contact the Records and Registration Office.
- Provide students the opportunity to challenge through a hearing the content of their education records if it is believed that they contain information that is inaccurate, misleading or in violation of the right of privacy. Grades are not subject to challenge.
- Limit disclosure of information from the student’s record to those who have the student’s written consent or to officials specifically permitted within the law, such as college officials and – under certain conditions – local, state and federal officials.
Students who wish to grant access to their education and/or financial records may do so by submitting an Access to Student Information Consent Form to the Records and Registration Office. Access to education records is limited to the following elements of the student’s education record: class schedule, transcript of final grades, and progress reports. Access is given only at the Records and Registration Office and only when the person presents photo identification. Under no circumstances will information be disclosed over the phone. Access to financial records is limited to the following elements of the student’s financial record: grants, loans, financial aid documents, statements and billing. Access is given by Financial Aid and the Cashier by phone only when the designated person provides the privacy clue established by the student. The authorization is valid while the student is enrolled at Iowa Western Community College. The consent to release information may be revoked at any time by written request from the student.
The federal Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) prohibits Iowa Western from releasing protected information on current or former students to external third parties for purposes of solicitation without students’ express written permission. No exceptions to these prohibitions are permissible pursuant to this policy statement. Iowa Western is permitted to disclose, without consent, information considered to be “directory” information. In effort to protect the privacy of current and former students, Iowa Western typically does not honor third-party requests for Directory Information, even though the college is permitted to do so, unless the release of information is required by law, court order, or through data-sharing agreements. The following information is considered to be Directory Information:
- Student’s Name
- Address (including email)
- Telephone Number
- Program of Study
- Enrollment Status (full-time, part-time, or not enrolled)
- Participation in Officially Recognized Activities
- Athletic Team Member’s Weight and Height
- Dates of Attendance (start and end of the semester)
- Awards Received
- Most Recent Previous Educational Institution Attended
Students who object to the disclosure of any of the above information may notify Records and Registration in writing.
Students may file a complaint with the Department of Education if they believe that their rights under the law have been violated and if efforts to resolve the situation through Iowa Western Community College appeal channels have proven unsatisfactory.