This policy describes the right of Santa Fe Community College (SFCC or College) students to access their records; a process for students to access their records and challenge records they believe are inaccurate; and the extent to which student records are confidential and the limits of releasing educational records to third parties.
Scope and Applicability
This policy applies to all SFCC students, faculty, staff and other individuals who may request access to student records.
Santa Fe Community College (SFCC or College) is committed to protecting the confidentiality of student records. It is equally important that students have access to their records and the ability to ensure they are accurate. This policy has been established to comply with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
- College Officials includes any employee, board member, or administrator of SFCC as well as any attorneys, consultants, and independent contractors retained by SFCC.
- Educational Records as defined by FERPA, includes all documents, computer files and other materials that contain information directly related to a student that are created and maintained by SFCC. Educational Records also includes student records relating to an individual in attendance at the College who is also employed at the College.
- Transfer of Rights from Parent to Student.
Rights under FERPA are transferred from a parent to a student when the student reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level. Thus, student records may not be released to a parent of a student over the age of 18, unless the student requests the release or the student is a dependent of the parent under the Internal Revenue Code. If a parent wants to review the record of a dependent student, they should provide a copy of their most recent tax return to the College. The Registrar’s Office does not retain a copy of the tax return but reviews such documentation as evidence that the student is a dependent of the requesting parent.
- The College will publish information about this policy in the College catalog and in the student handbook. The College shall provide a copy of this entire policy to any student upon request.
- Student Right to Review Records. Students have the right to inspect and review their records. Educational Records include:
- admissions records
- attendance records
- disciplinary records
- copies of correspondence with parents and others concerned with the student
- records transferred from other educational agencies or institutions in which students have been enrolled
- information relating to the students’ participation in special programs
- records of tuition and fees paid and outstanding
- financial aid records
- job placement records, andacademic awards or recognition by the College.
- An employee who violates this policy may be subject to Policy 4-2 Corrective Action and Disciplinary Action up to, and including, termination. The discipline imposed will depend on the severity of the violation and the circumstances of the situation.
- Review of records.
- Grades: If a student wants to review a grade, they may request that record from the Registrar’s Office. Students must present their student identification card or their A number and other photo identification. Grades may also be accessed through a student’s online account.
- Tuition and Fees: If a student wants to review their tuition bill, they must present their student identification card or their A number and other photo identification to the College Cashier’s Office to obtain a copy of their bill.
- Other Educational Records: If a student wants to review any portion of their Educational Record other than a grade or tuition bill, they should submit a written request to the Registrar’s Office. Forms for making this written request are found in the Registrar’s Office. Financial aid records should be obtained through the Financial Aid Office.
- If a particular record is requested and can be obtained immediately, a College employee will allow the student to review it. An employee must be present while the records are reviewed to explain the record and answer any questions the student has about the record. Records must be reviewed in an area that will protect the confidentiality of the records. No document may be removed from the file by the student, but a copy will be provided upon request.
If a student requests an Educational Record and it is not immediately available, the Registrar’s Office will provide the requested record to the student as soon as possible, but no later than 45 days.
- Limitations on Reviewing Records.
i. The right to review Educational Records does not extend to:
- notes and records concerning a student made by a faculty or staff member that are retained and used solely by that faculty or staff member (or their designee);
- inspecting financial records of their parents that are maintained by the
- College or
- records created by Campus Safety and Security for law enforcement purposes.
- The release of information to a student when it is related to:
- a confidential recommendation that relates to admission to another educational institution;
- an application for employment; or
- a letter recommending an honor or honorary recognition, providing that the student has signed a waiver stating he or she is not entitled to access that information.
- The student is entitled to request and be notified of the name of the individual, the educational institution or other organization requesting the confidential recommendation.
- If an educational record contains information about more than one student, the student only has the right to review that portion that relates to them.
- Educational records are confidential and may not be released to anyone except the student without the prior written consent of the student except in limited circumstances contained in this policy or as required by law.
- All graded papers and exams must be returned to students in a manner that preserves the confidentiality of the student and their grade to be retained. Faculty must not post grades with any potentially personal identifiable information such as name, social security number or student identification number.
- The College will not provide access to or release educational information about a student to any individual, agency or organization without the prior written consent of the student except in certain, limited circumstances. Those exceptions are:
- officials of other schools in which a student is seeking or intends to enroll;
- other officials, such as state and federal officials of educational and funding agencies and law enforcement agencies, who have the right to obtain copies of student records, as provided by law;
- state and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, who have the right to obtain copies of student records pursuant to state law;
- appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student;
- officials conducting studies for, or on behalf of, educational agencies for the purposes of auditing or evaluating educational programs (provided the study is conducted in a manner that does not permit disclosure of personally identifiable information to third parties and any personally identifiable information is destroyed when no longer needed for the study);
- accrediting organizations;
- parents of students who are dependent students under the Internal Revenue Code;
- to comply with a subpoena;
- appropriate officials in cases of emergencies when it is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals; and
- College officials with a legitimate educational interest. Legitimate educational interests include:
- providing academic, employment or other advice to students;
- administering College programs;
- creating and maintaining student records;
- awarding and administering financial aid;
- assessing and collecting fees;
- enforcing student conduct and discipline;
- representing the legal interest of the College in matters where a student record is relevant; and
- research related to the educational programs of the College.
- If the College is required to release a student’s Educational Record, it will indicate in the record, the individual, agency or organization which has requested the information, will specify the legitimate interest that the person or entity has in obtaining the information and will include the date of the request and the date the information was released.
- Request to Amend a Record:
- If a student believes that their Educational Record is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of their privacy rights, they may request that the record be amended. This process does not apply to financial aid records.
- If a student believes that there are inaccuracies in the record, they should first contact the faculty member responsible for the grade (or SFCC employee responsible for the record) and request that he or she review the record and amend it. The student may request the assistance of his or her academic advisor. The responsible staff or faculty member should advise the student in writing that they have adjusted the record or that they believe it is correct and the reasons for their decision within ten calendar days of the student’s request.
- If the staff or faculty member does not amend the record, the student may appeal the decision to the department chair. The request should be made in writing and describe the nature of the alleged inaccuracy or other violation of this policy and the remedy requested by the student. The department chair will advise the student in writing that they have amended the record or that they believe it is correct and the reasons for their decision within ten calendar days of the request.
- If the department denies the request from a student to amend the record, the student has the right to request a hearing on the matter. The student should contact the Registrar’s Office and submit a written request for a hearing. The hearing will follow the process set as described in SFCC Policy 2-3 Student Concerns and Complaints.
- If, after a hearing, the record is not amended as the student requests, the student may submit a statement to be included in their record stating he or she disagrees with the decision not to amend the record and commenting on the information.
- The College will maintain electronically stored student files, transcripts, financial information, and grade reports according to the Functional Records Retention and Disposal Schedule 1.21.2 NMAC administered by the Registrar.
- The College may destroy educational or personal records of a student any time after five years after the last semester of attendance and in accordance with any record- retention laws. The College shall not destroy any education records if a request is outstanding to inspect or review the records. Transcripts are maintained for 100 years after date of birth.
Statement of Accountability and Responsibility
The President, through the Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs and the Office of Academic and Student Affairs, shall be responsible for enforcing student records policies and procedures. The Registrar, in conjunction with the Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, is responsible for ensuring adherence to this policy and for any corrective action or disciplinary process initiated. The Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs shall work with the different departments and offices to comply with this policy and develop procedures that will enforce this policy regarding awareness, prevention, and remediation.
SFCC Governing Board: 12/13/06, 2/20/17