The Financial Aid Office is responsible for processing all applications and awards of financial aid for students who meet the eligibility requirements. To start the application process which allows us to evaluate if the student qualifies for federal, state or institutional funds, he or she must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online by accessing the following webpage: www.fafsa.gov.
Students may also obtain an application through their High School counselors or principals or in the Financial Aid Office of their campus of preference. The application is free and may be completed in Spanish or English. The Institution will receive a response from the FAFSA within approximately 72 hours.
Driver’s License or another State-issued photo Identification
Tax Return for the tax year immediately before the year of the application
Information regarding other income received in the household, excluding Social Security Benefits and Nutritional Assistance Program (PAN, for its Spanish acronym)
W-2 Forms, if you are not obligated to file a tax return
Each applicant should have a personal identification number (FSA ID or Financial Student Aid ID), comprised of a user code and a password which will allow him or her to sign the FAFSA application electronically, correct the same, check on the status of the application, or access the application results. If a student is a dependent of his or her parents, at least one parent should apply for an FSA ID to sign the FAFSA electronically in order to facilitate the process. Applicants may request an FSA ID at www.pin.ed.gov or when completing the FAFSA at fasfa.ed.gov.
This number is unique and will be used each year. Do not share your FSA ID with others, protect your identity!
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What is FERPA?
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, also known as the Buckley Amendment, is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. This applies to post-secondary students and the parents or guardians of minor students under the age of 18.
What does FERPA provide?
The law provides the right to inspect and review the student’s education records, to request that a school correct these records, and to limit the disclosure of information included in these records.
Which institutions does FERPA apply to?
The law applies to all institutions that receive federal funds.
Who is protected by FERPA?
FERPA protects all students enrolled in a post-secondary institution, regardless of the student’s age or status as a dependent.
What is an education record?
An education record generally includes any record maintained by an educational agency or institution, or a party acting for or on behalf of the agency or institution. The law applies to records, documents or information directly related to the student. This includes grades, transcripts, or any other document obtained from the institution in which the student was previously enrolled.
The student has the right to inspect and review his or her files maintained by an educational institution or entity authorized by the institution to maintain these records.
What is not included in an education record?
- Documents belonging to officials or private notes provided by educational personnel which are not accessible to other personnel.
- Disciplinary documents which are exclusively related to the security and order of the university’s campus.
- Documents related to the employment of a person by the Institution, unless the employment is directly related to their status as a student.
- Documents related to treatment by a doctor, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other medical professional which were prepared solely to provide treatment.
- Documents which only contain information related to the individual after he or she ceased attending the university. (Alumni, for example.)
What documents may be removed from the education record before the student examines it?
- Any information related to another student.
- Financial documents belonging to the student’s parents.
- Confidential letters and statements of recommendation included in section 99.12 of the applicable regulations (34 CFR part 99.)
Who can inspect and review the education record with the student’s written consent?
- Any institutional official with a legitimate educational interest.
- Parents of dependent children, as defined by the Income Tax Return.
- Any person with a court order or subpoena directing the institution to allow inspection of the education record without the student’s consent. The institution must make a reasonable effort to notify the student, however, before complying with the order.
When is student consent necessary to release personal information from an education record?
Any person or entity who wants to obtain information from a record should provide an updated signed written consent by the student before inspecting the requested information. The requesting party must also provide a photo ID.
The consent must:
- Specify the records that may be disclosed,
- State the purpose of the disclosure, and
- Identify the party or class of parties to whom the disclosure may be made.
What is considered personally identifiable information from the student’s education records?
- The student’s name.
- The names of the student’s parents or other family members.
- The address of the student or the student’s family.
- A personal identification, such as a social security or student number.
- A list of personal characteristics which allows easy identification of the student.
When is written consent from the student not necessary to provide information of the education record?
The law includes the following exceptions:
- The student
- LInstitutional faculty, personnel, and administrators with a legitimate educational interest
- Parents of a dependent child claimed on the Income Tax Return
- Federal, State and local educational authorities performing audits or evaluations related to educational programs
- In the Financial Aid process
- Organizations performing studies for educational institutions
- Accrediting agencies
- To comply with a judicial order or subpoena
- Medical or security emergencies
- Directory of Information
- As a result of a disciplinary hearing of an alleged victim of a violent crime
What is the Directory of Information?
The institutions may legally offer information to a student through the Directory of Information. The directory includes the name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, class schedules, participation in athletics, weight and height of athletes, dates of attendance, grades and honors received, and related information.
Each year, the institutions must notify its students of the Directory of Information’s purpose. Likewise, the institution should obtain student consent or denial to provide the information contained in the Directory.
How does the growth in technology affect FERPA in our Institution and Campuses?
Electronic information will eventually replace the majority of documents filed in paper form. The Institution attempts to ensure that the appropriate policies are in place to protect the confidential information kept in the records. The same principle of confidentiality which applies to paper files also applies to all electronically stored information.
Where may I obtain more information regarding FERPA?
This page provides general information regarding FERPA and is not meant to be an exhaustive legal notice. For more information regarding this law, please refer to the Code of Federal Regulations, 34 CFR Part 99.