Staff Policy D-602.06
Institutional Effectiveness Criterion: Operations

The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act Policy

All Northwestern Michigan College students are accorded all the rights under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), the Buckley Amendment. Therefore, NMC has adopted the following institutional policy which ensures that its students are properly afforded these rights and provisions.

In compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, NMC will not release specified educational records to any person or agency without the written permission of the student except those exceptions noted below, or to the extent FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. These specified records include: admission records; cumulative academic records; health records; financial aid records; placement records; progress records; and discipline records. In requiring a student’s permission to released specified education records to third parties, the Act does permit the following exceptions:

  • School officials with legitimate education interest
  • Officials of another college or postsecondary institution where the student seeks or intends to enroll or has enrolled
  • Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes
  • Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student
  • Organization conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school
  • Accrediting organizations
  • Compliance with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena
  • Parents of dependent students according to the IRS definition
  • Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies
  • State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific State law; non-forcible sex offense (this type of disclosure may include only the final results of a disciplinary proceeding regardless of whether or not it concludes that a violation was committed)
  • To comply with required disclosures regarding sex offenders and other individuals who must register under section 170101 of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, 42 U.S.C. 14071
  • To contractors, consultants, volunteers, or other parties to whom functions and services have been outsourced
  • To parents of an eligible student under age 21 who is in violation of alcohol or substance abuse laws and policies
  • To any third party if the information disclosed is Directory Information

Certain personally identifiable information from a student’s educational record, designated by the college as Directory Information, may also be released without the student’s prior consent. Directory Information is considered ‘public knowledge’ and includes:

  • Name
  • Addresses
  • Telephone numbers
  • Institutionally issued email address
  • Program (major field of study)
  • Participation in officially recognized activities
  • Enrollment status
  • Dates of attendance
  • Local degrees and awards received
  • Honors received (including semester honors, scholarships, or GPA range for selection)

Students have the right to prevent the disclosure of Directory Information, including verification of enrollment. If a student wishes to prevent disclosure, the student must complete the Request to Prevent Disclosure of Directory Information, available online or from the Office of Records and Registration.

Once enrolled, a student has the right to review his or her educational records, except for those excluded by law, such as records kept by a campus health professional, parents’ financial records, and confidential letters of reference. Educational records are not located in any one central office. Such records are maintained by the Offices of the Registrar, Financial Aid, and Admissions, as well as other offices at NMC.

Questions regarding the review of individual student records should be directed to the specific location and custodian of those campus records. If a student encounters any difficulty in reviewing an educational record, questions should be referred to the Registrar. A student may challenge the content of educational records by notifying the Registrar in writing. The Registrar will promptly review any such challenges.

If any provision(s) of this policy or set of bylaws conflicts with laws applicable to Northwestern Michigan College, including the Community College Act of 1966, the Freedom of Information Act, or the Open Meetings Act, as each may be amended from time to time, such laws shall control and supersede such provision(s).

Initially adopted on October 6, 2014
Reviewed without revision March 14, 2024