4.8.2 Student Privacy

has a written procedure for protecting the privacy of students enrolled in distance and correspondence education courses or programs.


JUDGMENT: Compliant


Southwest Texas Junior College protects the privacy of all its students and the security and integrity of student records. SWTJC’s Information Technology Department maintains numerous precautionary measures to ensure the security of electronic records.  Various controls assure that system security is current and operating effectively.  Some examples are firewalls, virus protection, intrusion detection, and spy-ware blockers.  The integrity of computerized SWTJC student records is validated through daily backups of the student information system (Colleague) and our document management systems, Docuware and Fortis.  System audit trails record transactions in Colleague from processed data to the source of input. These audit trails allow SWTJC personnel to track changes or modifications to student records and to identify those making changes/modifications.

The confidentiality of student records at Southwest Texas Junior College is maintained according to the guidelines of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).  College policy concerning disclosure of student records and directory information is available in our College catalog, on the SWTJC website, and in the Student Handbook.   Student directory information is available upon formal written request unless a student has restricted the release of such information in writing to the Admissions and Registrar’s office.  Student records are released only to the individual students to whom they belong.  Students may sign a release form granting authorization to release records to designated individuals or educational entities.  The issuance of a student’s academic records (transcripts) is protected by the use of security transcript paper and/or the delivery of electronic records to institutions capable of receiving electronic records via EDI, using Secure File Transport Protocol (SFTP).  Files that are sent using SFTP are encrypted and decrypted on the receiving side, creating a secure pathway.

To safeguard students’ privacy and to avoid identity theft, SWTJC assigns each student a unique identification number that can be used in place of the Social Security Number on any documents that identify the student.  Students have access to their records via the web through the security of a user ID and password.

An additional protection in place for students enrolled in distance education is the Distance Learning Department Confidentiality Agreement . This document is required of students and staff charged with monitoring duties for video-conferencing or online courses. It is also required of students and staff who assist the proctoring of in-person mid-term and final exams for online students.


U.S Department of Education FERPA Guidance
SWTJC Distance Learning Department Confidentiality Agreement


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