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Student Records (FERPA)

Privacy of Student Records

NOVA makes every effort to protect the privacy and confidentiality of your records. Your official academic records, supporting documents and other records are maintained electronically or in hard copy format by designated members of the College administration. Separate files are maintained for academic and general education records, records of disciplinary procedures, medical and disability records, financial aid records and student activities records.

FERPA: Privacy & Release of Student Information, Records & Photographs

Updated: Fall 2014

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.

FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children's education records. These rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level. Students to whom the rights have transferred are "eligible students."

Parents or eligible students have the right to inspect and review the student's education records maintained by the school. Schools are not required to provide copies of records unless, for reasons such as great distance, it is impossible for parents or eligible students to review the records. Schools may charge a fee for copies.

Parents or eligible students have the right to request that a school correct records which they believe to be inaccurate or misleading. If a school decides not to amend the record, the parent or eligible student then has the right to a formal hearing. After the hearing, if the school still decides not to amend the record, the parent or eligible student has the right to place a statement with the record setting forth his or her view about the contested information.

Generally, schools must have written permission from the parent or eligible student in order to release any information from a student's education record. However, FERPA allows schools to disclose those records, without consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions (34 CFR § 99.31):

  • School officials with legitimate educational interest;
  • Other schools where a student is transferring;
  • Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes;
  • Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student;
  • Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school;
  • Accrediting organizations;
  • To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena;
  • Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies; and
  • State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific State law

Schools may disclose, without consent, "directory" information such as a student's name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors and awards, and dates of attendance. NOVA has designated the following items as directory information:

  • student’s name
  • current enrollment status (full time or part time)
  • participation in officially recognized activities and sports
  • weight and height of members of athletic teams
  • degrees, honors and awards received
  • major field of study
  • dates of attendance (not individual class sessions)
  • number of credit hours enrolled

Schools must tell parents and eligible students about directory information and allow parents and eligible students a reasonable amount of time to request that the school not disclose directory information about them. Schools must also notify parents and eligible students annually of their rights under FERPA. The means of notification (special letter, inclusion in a PTA bulletin, student handbook or newspaper article) is up to the discretion of each school.

For additional information, call 1.800.USA.LEARN (1.800.872.5327). Individuals who need TDD may use the Federal Relay Service.

Contact Address:

Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-8520

Student Review of Records

You can keep track of entries made to official educational records by viewing your academic records online through myNova. You are guaranteed access to your permanent educational record subject only to reasonable regulation as to time, place and supervision. Direct your requests to review educational records to the campus Registrar. Copies of transcripts sent to NOVA from other institutions may not be given to you, but you are allowed to view them.

Contact the campus Registrar to question the content of your educational records. Further appeal should be directed in writing to the Deans of Students. Student access to parents’ financial records through the student financial aid file is not permitted. In addition, any confidential letters and statements of recommendations that were placed in the educational records prior to January 1, 1975 or for which you have waived access are not available for review.

Student Records Retention

Official student academic records, financial aid data, application materials and documents are maintained by the College during your enrollment and for a specified period after your enrollment in accordance with state regulations issued by the Library of Virginia. Some records, such as courses attempted, grades, etc., are maintained permanently in the Student Information System.

Use of Student Photographs

Photographs taken of you alone or in a group of students (with the exception of NOVACard photos) may be used by the College for release to newspapers or other media and for reproduction in NOVA print or online publications. If you are included in such photographs, you will not be identified by name or position and will not have your name released to outside individuals or organizations without your prior written permission.

Student ID Number & Social Security Number

Your seven-digit student ID number will be used throughout your college career to identify you in the Student Information System and NOVA records. Your ID number is assigned automatically when you apply for admission.

Students who apply for financial aid, veterans’ benefits and some other special programs are required to provide their Social Security number.