Confidentiality of Records (FERPA)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA)* is designed to protect the privacy of a student’s educational records and applies to all schools that receive funds from the U.S. Department of Education. Information about Seattle Colleges students is collected, maintained, and used to meet the district’s educational objectives. Students are protected against improper disclosure of their records. These rights begin with the first day of class and extend to all former students.

*Amended in November 1996 (by the Improving American Schools Acts of 1994).

Rights and Educational Records

Students have the rights to inspect, request amendment, consent to disclosures, and file complaints regarding their educational records. The FERPA federal law affords students certain rights with respect to their educational records.

  1. The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days of the day the college receives a request for access. Students should submit written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect to the registrar, dean, head of the academic department, or other appropriate official. The college official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place that the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the college official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
  2. The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA. A student who wishes to ask the college to amend a record should write the college official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record the student wants changed, and specify why it should be changed. If the college decides not to amend the record, as requested, the college will notify the student in writing of the decision and the student’s right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of a right to a hearing.
  3. The right to provide written consent before the college discloses personally identifiable information from the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure with our consent. The college discloses education records without a student’s prior written consent under the FERPA exception for disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the college in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the college has contracted or is assigned to provide a service instead of using college employees or officials (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent, or a clinical, intern, or extern site); 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 has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities for the College.
    • In addition, upon request, the college discloses education records without consent to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
  4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the college to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The office administering FERPA is Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Ave. SW, Washington, DC 20202-5901.

Disclosure of Student Directory Information

The college may disclose the following directory information unless a student affirmatively submits a written notice to the Registrar’s Office requesting that his or her directory information not be released.

Directory information includes:

  • Student’s name
  • The act of enrollment in the college
  • Date(s) of enrollment
  • Division or area of study
  • Awards granted to the student by the college
  • Participation in officially recognized activities in sports
  • Weight and height of athletic team members
  • Email address


  • Judicial subpoena of records, upon condition that the college makes a reasonable effort to notify the student in advance of release of records.
  • Emergency situations, if knowledge of personal information is necessary to protect the health or safety of a student or other person(s).
  • Military requests (Solomon Amendment)
  • Student Clearinghouse submissions

For more information regarding student rights, students should contact the Registration office on each campus.

Student ID Number / Social Security Number) / Individual Taxpayer Identification Number

Student identification (SID) numbers are used in college transactions. Students are assigned individual SID numbers for use in college transactions such as web-based services and other student services. To comply with federal laws, the colleges are required to ask for the student’s Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).

Colleges use the SSN / ITIN to report American opportunity tax credit / lifetime learning tax credit; to administer state-federal financial aid; to verify enrollment, degree, and academic transcript records; and to conduct institutional research. Pursuant to state law (RCW 28B.10.042) and federal law (Family Rights and Privacy Act), the college will protect the student’s SSN from unauthorized use and/or disclosure.

If a student does not submit an SSN / ITIN, the student will not be denied access to the college; however, the student may be subject to civil penalties (refer to Internal Revenue Service Treasury Regulation 1.6050S-1(e)(4) for more information).