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Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that protects the privacy of student educational records. Nevertheless, FERPA only gives parents certain limited rights with respect to access of their own children's education records. These rights transfer exclusively 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." In consequence, college students at California University may elect to anticipate that their parents (or spouse) will need to have prior authorization to periodically review their permanent records, grades or other specific files.  Authorization to Disclose Information forms, available on the right, can be downloaded and placed in the student's permanent record at the student's request. 

Eligible students have the right to inspect and review education records maintained by California University, but the school is not required to provide copies of records unless, for reasons such as great distance, it is impossible for eligible students to review the records. Schools may charge a fee for copies.

Broadly defined educational records - including applications for admission to the University, grades, enrollment history, curriculum changes and academic standing - are maintained in the Academic Records Office. Under routine circumstances, these records in Academic Records do not include judicial or disciplinary records, billing and finances, or medical records. Various offices on campus have separate jurisdiction for maintaining those files.

Eligible students have the right to request that a school correct records that they believe to be inaccurate or misleading. If the school decides not to amend the record, the eligible student then has the right to a formal hearing. After the hearing, if the school still decides not to amend the record, the 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 eligible student in order to release any information from a student's education record. Consequently, all transcript requests must be submitted with signed approval of the student before the Academic Records Office is authorized to release that record.

However, FERPA allows California University to disclose those records, without consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions:

  • School officials with legitimate educational interest
  • Other schools to which 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
  • State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific state law

FERPA allows schools to 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. 
The following information is classified by California University as Directory information and may be released without the prior consent of a student: 

  • a student’s name, address (both local and permanent)
  • telephone number 
  • e-mail address 
  • place and date of birth 
  • academic curriculum 
  • dates of attendance
  • date of graduation
  • degrees and awards received
  • most recent educational institution attended
  • participation in student activities (including athletics)
  • height and weight (for athletic teams)
  • Photograph
  • Grade level

Students Rights under FERPA

We want to take this opportunity to give you a brief summary of your rights under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the federal law that governs release of and access to student education records.  These rights include:

  1. The right to inspect and review the student's educational records within 45 days of the day the University receives a request for access.

    If the student is a current student, it is the policy of the University that the student may review his/her file upon showing identification to Academic Records. Former students should submit to the Registrar written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The Registrar will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. The right to request the amendment of the student's educational records of which the student believes is inaccurate.
  2. Students may ask the University to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate. They should write the Registrar, clearly identifying the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate. Any dispute concerning grades is not amendable through FERPA.
     
    If the University decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the University will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his or her right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
  3. The right to consent to disclosure of personally identifiable information contained in the student's educational records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.

    One exception, which permits disclosure without consent, is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person serving on the Council of Trustees; the National Student Clearinghouse; contractors, volunteers and service providers used to perform university services and functions, 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 responsibility.
  4. The university is also permitted to disclose the education records of a student to another school without consent, if the student receives services from the other school. This would include records of students who are enrolled in a collaborative program resulting in dual enrollment in California University and another institution of higher education. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the University to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA are:

Family Policy Compliance Office
U. S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-4605

Authorization to Disclose Forms

Authorization for Release of School Records (for Academic Records Office Only)

More Information

http://www.ed.gov/print/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html

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