FERPA Disclosure Without Student Consent

St. Olaf College
May 2012

St. Olaf College may disclose educational records without a student’s written consent to the following groups under the following circumstances:

  • a school official of St. Olaf College who has a legitimate educational interest. A school official is: (1) any College employee; (2) a person or entity with whom/which the College has outsourced College services or functions which it may have otherwise used College personnel or officials to perform, such as an attorney, auditor, collection agent, security service, internet service provider, or other service provider; (3) a member of the College’s Board of Regents; or (4) a student serving on an official College committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or otherwise acting in an official capacity to assist the College or another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the College determines that the person needs access to the record to carry out his/her employment, professional, contractual, or other responsibilities to the College;
  • to officials of other colleges or universities in which the student who is the subject of the records is seeking to enroll or intends to enroll, or where the student is already enrolled so long as the disclosure is for purposes related to the student’s enrollment or transfer (the College will strive to provide notice of the disclosure to the student’s last known address);
  • organizations conducting studies approved by the university having educational value or concerning financial aid.
  • accrediting organizations approved by the university carrying out their accrediting functions;
  • parents/guardians if the student’s parents/guardians (or one of the student’s parents/guardians) claim the student as a dependent for federal tax purposes; or if the student has previously authorized the College to make disclosures to his/her parent(s).
  • persons in compliance with a judicial order or a lawfully issued subpoena, (unless prohibited, the College will take reasonable steps to attempt to notify the student in advance of compliance with the judicial order or subpoena to allow the student to initiate protective action);
  • appropriate parties, including parents, in connection with an emergency if, in the judgment of the official disclosing the information, knowledge of the information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other persons.
  • As of January 3, 2012, the U.S. Department of Education’s FERPA regulations expand the circumstances under which the student’s education records and personally identifiable information contained in such records—including the student’s Social Security Number, grades, or other private information—may be accessed without the student’s consent.  First, the U.S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or state and local education authorities (“Federal and State Authorities”) may allow access to the student’s records and private information without the student’s consent to any third party designated by a Federal or State Authority to evaluate a federal- or state-supported education program.  The evaluation may relate to any program that is “principally engaged in the provision of education,” such as early childhood education and job training, as well as any program that is administered by an education agency or institution.  Second, Federal and State Authorities may allow access to the student’s education records and private information without the student’s consent to researchers performing certain types of studies, in certain cases even when the college objects to or does not request such research. Federal and State Authorities must obtain certain use-restriction and data security promises from the entities that they authorize to receive the student’s private information, but the Authorities need not maintain direct control over such entities.  In addition, in connection with Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems, State Authorities may collect, compile, permanently retain, and share without the student’s consent private information from the student’s education records, and they may track the student’s participation in education and other programs by linking such private information to other personal information about the student that they obtain from other Federal or State data sources, including workforce development, unemployment insurance, child welfare, juvenile justice, military service, and migrant student records systems.
  • to any other persons in any circumstances authorized by FERPA