What is FERPA?
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), is the federal law that governs the rights of students and institutional responsibilities with respect to student records. All College employees must complete required FERPA training upon hire. For a refresher on FERPA basics, navigate to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 overview page.
Faculty and Staff Responsibilities
If you have access to student data, you are responsible for its proper handling. No matter what the form or content, you are accountable for handling student records in accordance with the law and College policy. FERPA requires that anyone accessing private student records have a "legitimate educational interest" for the information. Examples include:
- Performing a task that is specified in the employee's position description or contract
- Performing a task related to a student’s education or to student discipline
- Maintaining safety and security on campus
Students Workers who perform institutional functions may be deemed "school officials" with a "legitimate educational interest" in accessing designated educational records of other students. The same requirements and responsibilities exist for student workers.
Verifying Student Identity
When working with a student in-person, via online video conference, on the phone, or via email, you will likely need to access protected information from their record in order to assist the student. Prior to discussing any information within the record, you will need to follow the institutional best practices found on the Registration page on the CCC Intranet to first verify the student’s identity.
Obligation to Release Record Information
An institution is not obligated to release directory information to anyone. FERPA only says that an institution MAY release information, but there is no obligation to do so. Remember, when in doubt, don’t give it out.
All Coconino Community College students, staff, and instructors are assigned a College managed email account to be utilized for purposes of official correspondence. Email that contains information that is part of a student's educational record should be sent from a College staff/faculty email account, to a College student email account.
Confidential Indicator in Banner/Degree Works
If you see “confidential” listed on a student’s record in Banner or Degree Works, it means the student has officially requested that no information from their record (including information designated as “directory”) should be released. Information about these students should never be released, and the student should be directed to Registration and Enrollment Services for follow-up. For more information on this restriction, navigate to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 overview page.
Parents Requesting Information
Student educational information is protected under FERPA and parents may not have access unless the student has provided written authorization that specifically identifies what information may be released to the parent(s). The presence of written authorization or a parent affidavit permits you to disclose student record information, but you are under no obligation to do so or to speak to parents. To verify if a written authorization to release information (or parent affidavit) is on file, please contact Registration and Enrollment Services.
The STARI (Student Authorization to Release Information) Form
If a student chooses to allow College officials to speak to a third party (e.g., parents, spouse), they will need to complete the STARI form. The form and instructions for submission can be found by navigating to the Financial Aid forms page. Successfully submitted STARI forms are noted on the student’s record in Banner and are imaged as part of the electronic file.
Posting Grades/Returning Assignments
It is a violation of FERPA to publicly post grades by either the student's name, student identification number or social security number. Leaving personally identifiable, graded papers unattended for students to view is no different from posting grades in the hallway. If these papers contain "personally identifiable" information, then leaving them unattended for anyone to see is a violation of FERPA. If the graded papers can not be returned directly to the student, consider leaving the graded papers (exams, quizzes, and homework) with a departmental assistant who would ask students for proper identification prior to distributing them. Notification of grades may also be made via the use of a learning management system (Canvas), where students must provide their College-issued Comet ID and authenticate with a password prior to gaining access.
Letters of Recommendation
Written permission of the student is required for a letter of recommendation if any information included in the recommendation is part of the "education record" (grades, GPA and other non-directory information).
All subpoenas are first reviewed by the Registrar to determine the appropriate course of action. If you receive a subpoena, please contact the Registrar and Director of Enrollment Services at
Who to Contact with questions/concerns
General questions, comments, or suggestions may be directed to Registration and Enrollment Services at