The federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) requires Tompkins Cortland Community College, with certain exceptions, to obtain a student’s written consent before disclosing educational records with personally identifiable information.
The College may disclose information designated “directory information” without written consent, unless the student has advised the college to the contrary in accordance with college procedures.
Directory information is defined by FERPA as information in an education record of a student that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if released.
Tompkins Cortland has designated the following information as directory information:
- Date of birth
- Phone numbers
- Email address
- Dates of attendance
- Program of study
- Enrollment status (Full-time/Part-time)
- Previous institution attended
- Degrees awarded
- Honor and awards
- Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
- Athlete height/weight
The Solomon Amendment requires the College to provide directory-type information on students who are at least 17 years of age, upon request from representatives of the Department of Defense for military recruiting purposes.
If a student does not want the College to disclose directory information from his/her education record without his/her prior written consent, he/she must complete and submit a signed and dated Directory Information Withholding Form to Academic Records, Room 223, by the end of the third week of classes in a semester or summer session.
Student Rights under FERPA
The law provides students certain rights with respect to their education records.
These rights include:
1. The right to inspect and review his/her education record within 45 days of the day the college receives a request for access. A student who wishes to review his/her education record must submit a written request to the Associate Dean for Curriculum and Academic Records that identifies the record(s) he/she wishes to inspect. The Associate Dean will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.
2. The right to request amendment of his/her education records. A student may ask the College to amend a record that he/ she believes is inaccurate. The student should submit a written request to the Associate Dean for Curriculum and Academic Records, clearly identify the part of the record he/she wants changed, and specify why the record is inaccurate. If the Associate Dean decides not to amend the record as requested, the student will be notified of the decision and advised 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.
3. The right to provide written consent before the college releases personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education record, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. The college will disclose a student’s educational records without prior written consent in the following instances:
- To college officials with legitimate educational interests. A college official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility. A college official is a person employed by Tompkins Cortland in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including public safety/campus police, residence life, and health center staff); 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 trustees; a person serving as a member of SUNY system administration; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks.
Disclosure to parents. The college will release information to parents under the following circumstances (financial dependence is defined by the Internal Revenue Code):
- Notice of alcohol or controlled substance violations will be provided to parents of all students under 21 years of age at the time of the violation, regardless of financial dependency.
- Notice of alcohol or controlled substance violations will be provided to parents of all financially dependent students, regardless of age.
- Notice of other non-academic judicial proceedings may, at the college’s discretion, be provided to parents of financially dependent students when the college has determined that disclosure is in the best interests of the student or the college as the result of behavior calling into question the appropriateness of the student’s continued living in the residence halls or enrollment at the college.
Disclosure to other persons (including parents):
- When the college determines that there is a significant threat to the health or safety of a student or other individuals, information from education records may be disclosed to any person whose knowledge of the information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals.
- The final results of a disciplinary proceeding conducted against a student who is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or any sex offense may be disclosed to any person when the student is found to have also committed a violation of Tompkins Cortland’s codes of conduct with respect to such crime or offense. Such disclosure will include only the name of the student, the violation committed and the sanctions imposed by the College. The results of such a disciplinary proceeding, whether or not a violation is found, will be released to the alleged victim of the offense.
- Note: Law enforcement records maintained by the Tompkins Cortland Office of Public Safety/Campus Police are not considered educational records and may be disclosed to any person. The Tompkins Cortland Office of Public Safety/Campus Police is designated as the college’s law enforcement unit.
- The college must disclose records in response to a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena. The college will attempt to notify the student of the request before providing information.
- The college may disclose records, including disciplinary records, to another institution where a student seeks or intends to enroll or is already enrolled. Unless the request is initiated by the student, the college will attempt to notify the student before releasing records. Upon request, a copy of all records disclosed will be provided to the student.
- The college may disclose records, under certain circumstances, to certain federal, state and local government representatives, accrediting organizations, and other organizations conducting studies for educational agencies or institutions. This includes information requests from federal agencies related to international student compliance with the requirements of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System.
- The college may disclose records in connection with financial aid.
4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the 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, DC 20202-5901
More information is available from the U.S. Department of Education at
For more information about Tompkins Cortland’s policies,
Katrina Campbell, Registrar, firstname.lastname@example.org or 607.844.8211, Ext. 4305.