Student Records

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 is a federal law that is designed to protect the privacy of student and educational records. FERPA generally prohibits the improper disclosure of personally identifiable information contained in an eligible student’s educational record. Once a student reaches the age of eighteen, that student becomes an “eligible student,” and all rights formerly given to parents under FERPA are transferred to the student. FERPA is administered by the Student Privacy Policy Office of the U.S. Department of Education and can be viewed in its entirety on the U.S. Department of Education Website. FERPA rights at NCC begin when the student registers for classes.

Student Rights under FERPA

Under FERPA, a student who is eighteen years or older assumes the following rights:
• the right to access to the student’s educational records
• the right to have the student’s educational records amended
• the right to control the disclosure of personally identifiable information contained in the educational record, and
• the right to file a complaint with the Department of Education for a failure to comply.

Exceptions to Privacy Protections

FERPA allows schools to disclose certain records without consent to the following persons or parties, under the following conditions (34 CFR § 99.31):
• School officials with legitimate educational interest
• Other schools to which a student is transferring
• Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes
• Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student
• Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school
• Accrediting organization
• Parties who have been granted access via judicial order or a lawfully issued subpoena
• Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies, and
• State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to state law

Disclosure To Parents

FERPA allows for the disclosure of student educational records to parents under certain circumstances. It is the policy of NCC to release student educational records to parents only in the event of a health or safety emergency involving a parent’s child, in compliance with FERPA.

Disclosure of Directory Information

Northwest Iowa Community College hereby designates the following categories of student information as “Directory Information.” Such information may be disclosed by the institution at its discretion. A fee may be charged for the information listed below.
• Student’s name
• Campus address
• E-mail address
• Home Address
• Phone number
• Field of study
• Enrollment status
• Date(s) of attendance
• Date(s) of graduation
• Degree(s) awarded
• Participation in College-recognized activities
• Photographs
• Video

Currently enrolled students may withhold disclosure of information under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended. To withhold disclosure, written notification must be received in the Registrar’s Office within ten calendar days of the beginning of the Fall term, or the term in which the student first enrolls at Northwest Iowa Community College, 603 West Park Street, Sheldon, IA 51201. Forms requesting the withholding of “Directory Information” are available in the Registrar’s Office.

Northwest Iowa Community College assumes that failure on the part of any student to specifically request the withholding of categories of “Directory Information” indicates individual approval for disclosure.

Retention of Records

The records retention policy of Northwest Iowa Community College shall be as follows:
1. The official academic transcript record of enrollment credit earned by a student at Northwest Iowa Community College shall be retained by this institution in perpetuity.

2. All student records and documents which are used to  create, update, and support the accuracy of the official academic transcript shall be retained for at least three (3) years. These documents may then be destroyed in the manner most convenient: shredding, burning, or burial. However, all appropriate pending requests to review student records and documents shall be honored prior to their destruction.

3. The student records retention policy shall be published in the College Catalog and shall constitute sufficient responsibility for notification to the student.

4. Students who believe that their educational records contain information that is inaccurate, is misleading, or is otherwise in violation of their privacy or other rights may discuss their problems informally with the Registrar. The Registrar may agree to amend appropriate records. If not, the student will be notified within a reasonable period of time that the records will not be amended and will be informed by the Registrar of his/her right to a formal hearing.

5. College officials who have access to student records in the course of performing their professional responsibilities shall not be permitted to release the record to persons outside the College, unless authorized in writing by the student or unless one of the following exceptions applies:      
    1) Records may be shared with school officials with “legitimate educational interests” defined as needing access to an educational record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities. A school official is a person employed by the College in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position; 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 Directors; members   of an external accreditation committee; an employee   at a high school where a Northwest Iowa Community College student is also currently enrolled; an employee of a state/federal approving agency (including, but not limited to Department of Homeland Security and Student and Exchange Visitor Information System [SEVIS]);
    2) Other schools to which a student is transferring;
    3) Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student;
    4) Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school;
    5) To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena; and
    6) Appropriate officials and/or student’s emergency contact in cases of health and safety emergencies.

Transcript Release

Upon written request to the Registrar’s Office, students who have completed coursework at NCC may request an official or unofficial transcript. Students/former students need to complete a Transcript Release Form which is available in the Registrar’s Office or MY PLACE. There is a $5 (on campus) or $5.25 (online) fee per requested transcript. Official transcripts will be on official NCC transcript paper and bear the signature of the Registrar, the seal of the College, and the date of the signature. An unofficial transcript may be on official transcript paper but will not have the above mentioned requirements on the document. Official transcripts will not be released for students/former students with outstanding financial obligations to the College. Transcripts from high schools, other colleges, or universities that have been sent to NCC for the student’s file will not be copied and released. Copies need to be obtained directly from the institution of origin.