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All employees of the College (administrative, academic, staff and student workers) are required to abide by the policies governing review and release of information from the administrative database and other sources. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), mandates that information contained in a student's education record must be kept confidential and outlines the procedures for review, release and access of such information.
Access to the Administrative Information System (AIS) shall be granted to those individuals who have been determined to have a legitimate interest in the data by the Data Integrity Committee (a.k.a. Datatel Group) and the Director of the Functional Area which oversees the data being requested. Access to other sources of data shall be determined by the Director of the Functional Area which oversees the data.
Individuals who have been granted access to any data must understand and accept the responsibility of working with confidential records. The following rules apply to all College employees with this access.
Every employee given access to the system shall be assigned an account name and password. Passwords are to be kept confidential and shall not be shared or given to anyone, including supervisors, coworkers, student employees or friends. It is the responsibility of each employee to keep his/her password confidential and to request that it be changed whenever they feel someone else may have obtained access to it.
In all transactions, employees shall use their own account name. When authority to access additional screens or systems is needed, employees shall make a request through their departmental supervisor to the Director of the Functional Area which oversees the data being requested. The Director shall then contact the Computing Services Department. Each employee given an account name is held responsible for any data which are input or retrieved using that account name. All transactions on the system can be traced back to the account name which was utilized to access the data.
In all transactions involving the exchange of information, employees shall follow all federal and College regulations.
A complete policy statement on the College’s implementation of FERPA can be obtained from the Registrar’s Office. The information contained in a student's education record may not be released to a third party without the written consent of the student. In compliance with the federally enacted regulations of the Privacy Act, and as defined by the College, public information regarding students attending the College shall be name, local address and telephone listing, permanent address, date of birth, major field of study, previous schools attended, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, and degrees and awards received.
The information contained in an employee record may not be released to a third party without the written consent of the employee with the exception of public information or in cases where the College is legally required to provide such information. Public information shall be whether or not the person is employed by the College, the job title of the employee, the beginning and ending date of employment, and the e-mail address, on-campus phone number and office number of the employee.
- Examples of inappropriate use of data are:
- Accessing or reviewing a student's record without a legitimate educational interest
- Accessing or reviewing an employee's record without a legitimate interest
- Releasing confidential information (non-directory) to another student, College organization, or any person who does not have a legitimate educational interest, or parents of a dependent student, without the student's written authorization
- Leaving reports on computer screens containing confidential student or employee information in view of others who do not have a legitimate educational interest in the data
- Using the student or employee information for personal business
- Giving your password to another individual not authorized to use the AIS system or to view a particular screen
- Discussing the information contained in the student record outside of the College or while on the job with individuals who do not have a legitimate educational interest in the information (need to know)
- Leaving data displayed on the screen and your computer terminal unattended while you are logged onto AIS
Under no circumstances shall an employee give confidential information about students to any other students, to other employees, or to any person who has not been authorized to receive such information by their position or by their departmental supervisor. Although directory information may be released without prior consent, any requests coming from students or from anyone off campus shall be referred to the Office of the Registrar. (Students may request that directory information concerning them not be released. If that occurs, a flag denoting such a request shall appear on screen. Virtually no information may then be released without the student’s express written consent.)
Since FERPA does not specifically refer to the College’s alumni or to donors to the College or to the Northwest College Foundation, the following provides further direction regarding those data groups.
Alumni information considered public information and which may be released upon request includes: name, year(s) of attendance/graduation, major field(s) of study and degree (if applicable). Current addresses and phone numbers are confidential and can be released only by the Northwest College Foundation and Alumni staff in exceptional situations and according to office guidelines and practices. All questions or requests for information regarding alumni shall be directed to the Northwest College Foundation and Alumni.
Information on donors to the College or to the Northwest College Foundation which is considered public information and which may be released upon request includes that which is published annually in the Honor Roll of Giving by the Northwest College Foundation. That listing includes names and corresponding gift levels for the calendar year according to broad range categories, not according to specific gift amounts. The office respects the wishes of donors who request anonymity, and does not list their names in the Honor Roll of Giving. Note: a donor’s anonymous status is not reflected on his/her file in the donor database; office staff select those manually each year prior to developing the Honor Roll of Giving. Information in a donor’s database file is generally not released to a third party. Requests for information shall be referred to the Northwest College Foundation whose staff shall make available copies of the Honor Roll of Giving.