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Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) Information

Educational records of all Lake Michigan College students are maintained in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974, as amended. FERPA is a Federal law administered by the U.S. Department of Education (Department) and applies to all educational agencies and institutions that receive funding under any program administered by the Department.  

FERPA ensures confidentiality of educational records and prescribes conditions under which information about students can be released, while also affording students certain rights with respect to their educational record.  FERPA applies to all LMC students regardless of age or parental dependency.  

Notification of Student Rights

A summary of student rights is outlined below.  The College’s complete FERPA policy can be found here.  

As a Lake Michigan College student under the auspices of FERPA, you have the following rights:

  1. The right to inspect and review your educational record within 45 days of the date the College receives a request for access. You should submit the request to the Registrar and identify the records you wish to inspect.  The Registrar will make arrangements for access and notify you of the time/place the records may be inspected.

    By law, exceptions to the right to review include:
    • Parental financial information.
    • Educational records containing information about more than one student, in which case the institution will permit access only to the part of the record which pertains to the inquiring student.
    • Items outlined in the exclusions to the definition of an educational record.
  2. The right to request amendment to your educational record. You may request an amendment of records you believe to be inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of your privacy rights under FERPA.  A request to amend should be made in writing to the Registrar, clearly identifying the part of the record you want changed and specifying why it should be changed.  The College is not required to honor the request, only to consider it.  If the request is denied, the Registrar will notify you in writing of the decision and the right to a hearing on the decision.  If, after the hearing, the College still chooses not to amend the record, you have the right to place a statement with the record commenting on the contested information.  That statement must remain with the contested part of your record for as long as the record is maintained.

    While the educational record amendment process may be used to challenge facts that are inaccurately recorded, it may not be used to challenge a grade, an opinion, or a substantive decision made by the College about you.  The intention of the right to request amendment is to require only that schools conform to fair recordkeeping practices and not to override the accepted standards and procedures for making academic assessments, disciplinary rulings, or placement determinations.  Additionally, if FERPA’s amendment process is not applicable to your request for amendment of educational records, the College is not required to hold a hearing on the matter.
  3. The right to consent to disclosure of personally identifiable information contained in your educational record, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.  Information from your educational record may not be released to third parties without your prior written consent; however, there are exceptions to releasing information without a student’s approval, as outlined in the College’s FERPA policy. Exceptions which do not require approval include Lake Michigan College school officials with legitimate educational interest, as defined below:

    School official: A school official is a person employed by Lake Michigan College in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position; a person or company with whom LMC has contracted (such as attorney, auditor, or collections agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee such as a grievance or disciplinary committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks.  

    Legitimate educational interest: A school official has legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an educational record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility.
  4. The right to file a complaint with the Department of Education:  A person may file a written complaint with the Department of Education concerning alleged failures by LMC to comply with the requirements of FERPA.  Written complaints may be sent to the following office, which administers FERPA:

    Family Policy Compliance Office
    U.S. Department of Education
    600 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington DC

    A timely complaint is defined by the U.S. Department of Education as an allegation of a violation of the Act that is submitted to the Family Compliance Office within 180 days of the date of the alleged violation or of the date that the complainant knew or reasonably should have known of the alleged violation.

Disclosure of Student Information

Students have the right to consent to the disclosure of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s educational record, to request that information considered Directory Information not be disclosed (i.e., to have the entire educational record marked confidential), and to update those preferences as the student deems appropriate.  

Students may wish to designate a parent, guardian, spouse, or other person or persons to have the ability to access and/or discuss information which would not otherwise be released without the student’s prior written consent.  In this case, the student must complete an Authorization to Release Information form and submit it to the Records Office/Office of the Registrar.  Any designee will be required to supply the 4-digit PIN the student has submitted in order to speak with faculty or staff over the phone; the designee will be required to supply photo identification and verify the PIN when making a request in person.

College staff will use case by case discretion in each conversation or request and reserves the right to deny any request.

Students may, at any time, choose to rescind previous disclosure preferences.  To change the type of information disclosed, to whom the information is disclosed, or to cancel previous authorizations altogether, the student must complete a Cancelation of Authorization to Release Information form to the Records Office/Office of the Registrar.  

Release of Directory Information

Students may wish to prevent disclosure of the entirety of their education record, effectively making it completely confidential.  To do so, the student must complete a Directory Information Hold & Release form and submit to the Records Office/Office of the Registrar, indicating the request to mark the student’s record confidential and thereby preventing the release of all information, including Directory Information.  

Once the student record is marked confidential, regular release of directory information will be prevented which includes, but is not limited to, release of information to potential employers, insurance companies, transfer schools or other requesting companies, listing in the commencement publications at graduation, and listing in publications of the Dean’s List or other awards.

The student may remove the confidentiality indicator at any time by submitting a new Directory Information Hold & Release form to the Records Office/Office of the Registrar, indicating the hold should be released and regular Directory Information disclosure may resume.

The Directory Information Hold & Release form must always be accompanied by photo identification.

Directory information is information in a student’s educational record which may be disclosed to outside parties without the student’s prior written consent. Disclosure of directory information is generally not considered harmful or an invasion of privacy.  In accordance with FERPA, LMC has designated the following student information as directory information:

  • Student name, phone number(s), address, email address(es)
  • Dates of attendance and enrollment status (e.g., full time, half time)
  • Class (e.g., freshman, sophomore)
  • Major field of study; degrees or certificates, honors, and awards received; confer dates of degrees/certificates
  • Participation in officially recognized activities
  • Sport, weight, height, age, and hometown of members of athletic teams and dates of participation
  • Most recent previous educational institution attended

The College may disclose any of these items without prior written consent unless notified in writing to the contrary by the student.  Requests to withhold directory information must be filed with the Records Office/Office of the Registrar.

An oral or written request for a student’s directory information must be directed to the Records Office/Office of the Registrar.  The College reserves the right to deny any request for directory information or to charge a fee for information provided in response to a request.  The College also reserves the right to request photo identification of the requesting party prior to compliance with such a request.

The primary purpose of directory information is to allow LMC to include this type of information from your education records in certain school publications (e.g., academic honors or other recognition lists; graduation programs; and sports activity sheets). It also allows the disclosure of information to outside organizations without a student's prior written consent in response to requests for individual records. Outside organizations generally include, but are not limited to, businesses with which the student has established a relationship such as insurance companies, banks and employers.

If a student wishes that the College not release his or her directory information, he/she must inform the College in writing by completing a Directory Information Hold & Release form in the Records Office. Upon a student's admission to LMC, directory information becomes available for release, but a student may request at any time after being admitted to the College that his or her directory information be kept confidential.

Managing Your Information Privacy

Students are encouraged to view and discuss their academic and personal information at their own discretion; student information, along with the referenced forms, are available via WaveLink.

Any questions or concerns regarding student information can be directed to the Records office at 269-927-8107 or records@lakemichigancollege.edu.  Please do not include any sensitive information in an email, unless using an LMC email account ending in @365.lakemichigancollege.edu.