FERPA

Know Your Student Rights

Georgia Northwestern Technical College will not release any information about you to anyone but you. Please make sure your parents, spouse, family, and friends understand that if they have questions about your records, they must ask you and not the college.

Georgia Northwestern Technical College complies fully with The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), which was designed to protect the privacy of educational records. FERPA affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. They are:

  • The right to inspect and review information contained in the student’s education records.
  • The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes is inaccurate.
  • The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
  • The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Georgia Northwestern Technical College to comply with the requirements of FERPA.

Confidentiality of Records

Before information in any student file can be released to anyone, the student must give prior written consent except in those instances stated below:

  • To instructors and administrators for legitimate educational purposes and for routine administrative and statistical purposes.
  • To accrediting organizations to carry out their functions (directory information only).
  • To appropriate parties to protect the health and safety of students or other individuals in emergencies with the understanding that only information essential to the emergency situation will be released.
  • To allow the vice president of student affairs to authorize the release of directory information as defined by the college under privacy legislation.
  • To allow the vice president of student affairs or someone designated by that official to release information from the student’s file, if the inquirer has a court order.

FERPA Privacy Information for Online Course Options

Because an online environment creates a record of student activity, it is subject to FERPA privacy rights, unlike verbal exchanges in a physical classroom.  The following are items for consideration.

  • The academic deans and GNTC Learning Management System (LMS) point of contact staff have access to all online courses and the archived course documents to carry out their job duties.
  • When students submit information electronically (via LMS), the information is accessible to the faculty teaching the section.  If the work is submitted via GNTC email, the information is accessible to the faculty and computer system administrators.
  • In online courses, discussions, postings, and some student work are accessible to students in class.
  • Public postings and student work do not contain grades.
  • Students are required to post an assignment, which may be an introduction, when the term begins.
  • Discussion requirements are listed in the distance courses.
  • The posted work is available to members of the class.
  • Third Party (online labs, textbook specific online course content)
  • Students are instructed to buy/access the online resources when purchasing textbooks.

In case of students posting a message or blog on any social media site (GNTC Twitter, Facebook), students may not be protected by FERPA if the student submission is not assigned as a part of academic endeavor.

Treatment of Records after Graduation or Withdrawal

When students withdraw or graduate from Georgia Northwestern Technical College, their records shall continue to be subject to provisions of this code. Questions concerning FERPA should be referred to the Registrar’s Office.