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)
- Grade level
California University does not make directory information generally available to the public. California University limits its release of directory information for official University purposes, e.g., (1) identifying athletic team members; (2) publishing names of scholarship recipients, graduation lists and Dean’s Lists; (3) issuing academic awards; (4) verifying enrollment or degree status; and (5) providing such information to organizations that are officially affiliated with the University or with whom the University has a contractual relationship. See 34 C.F.R §99.37(d).
Students Rights under FERPA
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. These rights include:
- 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 the Registrar's Office. 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- As of January 3, 2012, the U.S. Department of Education's FERPA regulations expand the circumstances under which your education records and personally identifiable information (PII) contained in such records-including your Social Security Number, grades, or other private information-may be accessed without your consent. First, the U.S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or state and local education authorities ("Federal and State Authorities") may allow access to your records and PII without your consent to any third party designated by a Federal or State Authority to evaluate a federal- or state-supported education program. The evaluation my relate to any program that is "principally engaged in the provision of education, " such as early childhood education and job training, as well as any program that is administered by an education agency or institution. Second, Federal and State Authorities my allow access to your education records and PII without your consent to researchers performing certain types of studies, in certain cases even when we object to or do not request such research. Federal and State Authorities must obtain certain use-restriction and data security promises from the entities that they authorize to receive your PII, but the Authorities need not maintain direct control over such entities. In addition, in connection with Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems, State Authorities may collect, compile, permanently retain, and share without your consent PII from your education records, and they may track your participation in education and other programs by linking such PII to other personal information about you that they obtain from other Federal or State data sources, including workforce development, unemployment insurance, child welfare, juvenile justice, military service, and migrant student records systems.
- 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