You Can't Always Get What You Want
(Unless You Know These Rules)
Would you like Itasca Community College to be able to provide you with information on a student's academic progress or even tuition balance? You may be surprised to learn that in most cases, ICC will need written consent from the student.
Why Does Itasca Need to Protect the Privacy of Student Records?
It's not just a school policy; it's the law.
Minnesota State institutions are subject to federal law - The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) - and state law - the Minnesota Government Date Practices Act (MGDPA) - which contain detailed rules about student record privacy. One key provision of these laws is that college and university students have the right to control disclosure of private education records about themselves to third parties - including parents, spouses or other family members. These rights apply to all college or university students - even if they are minors.
(Records of a PSEO student are routinely shared with the high school where the student is also in attendance. Parents are presumed to have access to a student's records at the high school unless the student is age 18 or older.)
What Is an "Education Record"?
"Education records" that are subject to these privacy laws encompass a wide scope of information. Examples of education records include the following:
- Housing information
- Class enrollment
- Attendance information
- Counseling or medical records from campus health centers
- Disciplinary records
- Tuition balance information
Schools may release private education records to third parties - including family members - only if the law permits or if the student has a signed a valid authorization.
Of course, students themselves may release their own information as they wish.
When May School Officials Release Private Education Records to Family Members?
It depends on a number of factors; some situations do not require the student's consent. For example, where the health or safety of the student or others is in danger, school officials may release information in order to deal with that emergency. Those are rare situations.
In most circumstances, family members will need to show a signed, dated authorization Consent for Release of Information Form. Students must complete this form and send it to the ICC Records Office (it can be sent along with the ICC application).
However, any document that includes the following can also be used:
- Who is authorized to release the information
- To whom the information may be released
- What information may be released
- The purpose for which the information will be used
- The student's signature and date
A simple email from the student is not a sufficient authorization.