Section 3: Programs
The institution protects the security, confidentiality, and integrity of its student records and maintains special security measures to protect and back up data.
Western Texas College protects the security, confidentiality and integrity of its student records as provided in Administrative Policy 6125, which governs creation and retention of student records, contents of student records, persons authorized to access those records, and retention and disposal of nonessential file items. The policy states that “Western Texas College is bound by the Texas Open Records Law, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (P.L. 93-380 Education Amendments of 1974), and the institutional procedures in determining access to or the release of student records.” A slightly amended version of this statement is included in the college catalog, the Student Handbook, and the college web page. In addition, a detailed discussion of student records and release of information is provided on pages 10 and 11 of the Student Handbook.
No information about a student is released unless the student has signed a release of record to disclose non-directory information and/or provided a name or names of individuals allowed to receive her or his information. Student transcripts are released upon the written request of the student.
Student records are maintained in hard copy and electronic format. The College ensures the security, confidentiality, and integrity of these records through a system that limits access to hard copies by authorized personnel only and electronically by use of username and password access. The College’s student information system includes modules for admissions, the Registrar’s Office, financial aid, accounts receivable, reporting, transcript processing, and degree and graduation processing. Access is limited by usernames and passwords, which are assigned by the Dean of Institutional Research and Technology.
Paper copies of student records--including counseling, financial aid, and campus police records--are kept in locked areas in the appropriate offices. The appropriate director controls access to these locked areas. Each director is responsible for ensuring that employees in that area understand and follow the procedures for maintaining student record confidentiality and security. A written copy of security procedures is on file in the Office of the Director of Financial Aid, the Counseling Center, the Registrar’s Office, the Business Office, and the office of the Police Chief. (LINK to procedures for each office)
Permanent student records are retained in a fireproof vault next to the Registrar’s office. Student academic records are electronically stored on the POISE administrative software system, which is password protected. An archive of the POISE database is created on the first Monday of each month. This tape is labeled and stored in a safety deposit box at a local bank. A daily backup of the database is also created and stored in a locked computer server room. Servers are located in a secured room located in the administration building.
Students can access their grade information through Campus Connect from the home page of the WTC web page. Students must call for instructions as to the secured procedure to set up their PIN and the assigned password. The first time a student accesses Campus Connect, he or she is prompted to change the password. Students can view their current classes as well as their grade history.
As mandated by laws of the State of Texas, official files of non-permanent student records are kept for five years from the last date of student activity. Certified class rolls, final grade sheets, and student grade records (transcripts) are kept in a vault in the Registrar’s Office. In keeping with the retention schedule, non-permanent records to be destroyed are shredded.
Evidence of Support:
Administrative Policy 6125
2006-2007 College Catalog
Records Storage Procedures (Business Office)
Records Storage Procedures (Counseling)
Records Storage Procedures (Financial Aid)
Records Storage Procedures (Police Department)
Records Storage Procedures (Registrar)