Jul 13, 2024  
2024-2025 Catalog 
2024-2025 Catalog

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Annual Notice to Students

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Columbia College Chicago complies with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA or the Act), as amended, by publishing an annual notice to students of their rights under the Act in Columbia College Chicago’s catalog and student handbook.

I. Students may inspect and review their education records by submitting a written request to the registrar. Columbia will provide the student an opportunity to inspect and review his or her education records within a reasonable time after receiving the request, not exceeding 45 days from the receipt of the request. Students’ education records are maintained under the supervision of the registrar in the Office of the Registrar, 600 S. Michigan Ave., room 611, Chicago, IL 60605.

II. Students have the right to provide written consent before Columbia discloses personally identifiable information from students’ education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent (e.g., regarding disclosures to certain college officials and concerning information designated in this policy as directory information and other circumstances).

III. Under one exception, Columbia discloses education records without a student’s consent to “school officials” with “legitimate educational interests.” A school official is a person employed by Columbia in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research or support staff position; a person serving on the board of trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official may also include a volunteer, consultant, or contractor outside of Columbia who performs an institutional service or function for which the college would otherwise use its own employees and who is under the direct control of the college with respect to the use and maintenance of personally identifiable information from education records. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility.

By way of illustration and not limitation, the following personnel are granted access to education records without prior written consent of students when such individuals have legitimate educational interests: the registrar, the general counsel’s office, student services directors, student financial services, information technology, college advisors, the president of the college, the provost, the vice president for student success, the deans and the chairpersons of the academic departments, and any of their agents. Student educational records are made available to the above designated persons and offices for record maintenance, evaluation and advising, financial aid evaluation, review for disciplinary and academic action, and billing, among other legitimate educational interests.

IV. Another exception permits Columbia to disclose a student’s directory information without the student’s consent. Columbia designates the following as directory information: the student’s name; information on whether or not a student is registered at the college during the term in which the information is requested; grade level; dates of attendance; information concerning the student’s graduation status, including whether or not he or she has graduated from the college; the date of any degree awarded, and the type of degree awarded; major field of study; awards received; the student’s photograph; participation in officially recognized activities, sports, and organizations; and student ID number, user ID, or other unique personal identifiers used by the student to communicate in electronic systems. Students who do not want Columbia to disclose the above information must notify the registrar in writing. The form for opting out of the release of directory information is available in the Office of the Registrar.

V. Upon request, Columbia also discloses education records without consent to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll, or is already enrolled, if the disclosure is for purposes related to the student’s enrollment or transfer.

VI. As required by FERPA, Columbia maintains a record of written requests for access to each disclosure of personally identifiable information. Each student has the right to inspect and review the record of written requests and disclosures.

VII. A student has the right to request amendment of any education records that he or she believes are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA. The procedure to seek amendment of a student’s education records is as follows:

1. A written request must be submitted to the registrar, specifically identifying the part of the record the student wants changed, stating the reason for the requested amendment, and attaching any supporting documentation to the request.

2. Within a reasonable time after receiving the request, but in no event longer than 45 days, the registrar will issue a decision in response to the student’s request. If the college decides not to amend the record as requested, the college will notify the student of his or her right to a hearing before a panel of the associate deans (Academic Standards Review Committee) on the request to amend. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing. The decision of the Academic Standards Review Committee is final.

3. If the Academic Standards Review Committee denies the student’s amendment request, the student has the right to include a written statement setting forth his or her reasons for disagreeing with the committee.

VIII. Each student has the right to file a complaint with the United States Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Columbia to comply with the requirements of the Act and the regulations passed pursuant thereto. The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is: Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Ave., SW, Washington D.C. 20202.

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