FERPA for Students

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The federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 (20 U.S.C. 1232g) and regulations adopted there under (34 C.F.R.99) set out requirements designed to protect students' privacy in their records maintained by the campus. The statute and regulations govern access to student records maintained by the campus, and the release of such records. The law provides that the campus must give each student access to records directly related to that student, and must also provide an opportunity for a hearing to challenge such if the student claims they are inaccurate on the grounds that they are inaccurate, misleading or otherwise inappropriate. The right to a hearing under this law does not include any right to challenge the appropriateness of a grade determined by the instructor. The law generally requires the institution to receive the student's written consent before releasing personally identifiable data about the student. The institution has adopted a set of policies and procedures governing implementation of the statute and the regulations. Copies of these policies and procedures may be obtained at The Registrar’s Office. Among the types of information included in the campus statement of policies and procedures are: 1) the types of student records maintained and the information they contain; 2) the official responsible for maintaining each type of record; 3) the location of access lists indicating persons requesting or receiving information from the record; 4) policies for reviewing and expunging records; 5) student access rights to his or her records; 6) the procedures for challenging the content of student records; 7) the cost that will be charged for reproducing copies of records; and 8) the right of the student to file a complaint with the Department of Education. The Department of Education has established an office and review board to investigate complaints and adjudicate violations. The designated office is: Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, D.C. 20202-4605.

The campus is authorized under the Act to release "directory information" concerning students. "Directory information" may include the student's name, address, telephone listing, electronic mail address, photograph, date and place of birth, major field of study, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, and the most recent previous educational agency or institution attended by the student. The above-designated information is subject to release by the campus at any time unless the campus has received prior written objection from the student specifying what information the student requests not be released. Written objections should be sent to The Registrar.

The campus is authorized to provide access to student records to campus officials and employees who have legitimate educational interests in such access. These persons have responsibilities in the campus' academic, administrative or service functions and have reason for using student records associated with their campus or other related academic responsibilities. Student records may also be disclosed to other persons or organizations under certain conditions (e.g., as part of accreditation or program evaluation; in response to court order or subpoena; in connection with financial aid; to other institutions to which the student is transferring).

Release of Student Information to Agencies of the State of California

Agencies of the State of California may request, for recruitment purposes, information including the names, addresses, major fields of study, and total units completed of CSU students and former students. The university is required by law to release such information to state agencies on request concerning students who have requested in writing that such information be released to state agencies. Students will have the opportunity during the first three weeks of the Fall semester to request in writing the release of such information by completing a form in The Registrar’s Office; this release is effective for one academic year and expires on the first day of the following academic year. Students will also have an opportunity to forbid release of any personal identifiable information to state agencies or any other person or organization.

Request to Withhold Directory Information

Students are able to update their privacy status on their my.csudh.edu account. Before updating your privacy settings please carefully read the following:

  • Restricting the release of directory information will prevent the administrative and faculty offices from verifying any directory information regarding your record to anyone, including yourself, over the telephone or in writing without your signed, written consent.
  • Restricting the release of directory information will prevent verification for purposes of employment, loans, credit card applications and insurance.
  • Always bring picture identification with you for in-person inquiries. We will not release information without positive identification.
  • Students who obtain a campus e-mail account should be aware that name, student status and email addresses cannot be withheld from Internet access.

Current students may update their privacy settings with the following instructions:

  • Step 1: Access the students center on your my.csudh.edu account.
  • Step 2: Select “Privacy Settings” from the “other personal…” dropdown menu under the Personal Information section in the Student Center.
  • Step 3: Click the >> button.
  • Step 4: This page will display your current FERPA settings. Click on the “Edit FERPA/Directory Restrictions” button to make updates.
  • Step 5: Click on the checkbox to restrict directory information. Then click “Save.”
  • Step 6: To release restrictions, you may uncheck the restrict directory information checkbox. Then click “Save.”
What is FERPA?

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 is a Federal Law designed to:

  • Protect the privacy of education records,
  • Establish the right of students to inspect and review their education records, and
  • Provide guidelines for the correction of inaccurate and misleading data through informal and formal hearings.
What records are protected under FERPA?

Educational Records that are maintained by an institution that contains personally identifiable information that is not in an excluded category

  • An educational record is any record maintained by an institution that is directly related to a student or students.
  • Personally identifiable information refers to data within a record that would make a student’s identity knows with a reasonable certainty
  • Some excluded categories are: sole possession notes, law enforcement records, employment records, medical and treatment records, alumni records
    • These records can contain items that are protected by FERPA such as a transcript or other educational records.
    • Sole Possession notes are records created by one person as an individual observation or recollection. These records are kept in the possession of the maker and may only be shared with a temporary substitute. E-Mail is never considered a sole possession note.
What do we need to do to be in compliance?
  • Provide annual notification to students of their FERPA Rights
  • Provide students access to their education records
  • Allow students to request amendment to their education records
  • Allow students to request that the institution not disclose directory information about them
What is directory information?
  • Directory information is information that if provided is not normally considered a violation of person’s privacy.
  • Students must be informed of the items that are considered directory information. At CSUDH these items are:
    • Student’s Name
    • Local and permanent address/telephone number
    • Major field of study
    • Participation in officially recognized activities/sports
    • Weight/height of members of athletic teams
    • Dates of attendance
    • Degrees and awards received and dates
    • Most recent previous educational institution attended
  • Students must be notified of the items of directory Information
  • Students must be given the opportunity to request that directory information not be released. This right of non-disclosure applies to directory information only.
  • If a data element isn’t defined as directory information, it isn’t directory information and can only be released if the student’s written permission is obtained or the release meets the requirements under one of the exceptions to student’s written permission found in FERPA.
Who is considered a school official?
  • A school official is a person that has responsibilities in the campus’ academic, administrative, or service functions and have reason for using student records associated with their campus or other related academic responsibilities. This includes:
    • A person employed by the college in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position (including law enforcement and health staff personnel),
    • A person elected to the Board of Trustees, o A person or a company employed by or under
    • contract to the college to perform a specific task,
    • such as, an agent, an attorney, an auditor, or an outsourced service provider.
    • A student representative on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or
    • A student assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks.
  • A school official within the institution with a legitimate educational interest may obtain information from education records without obtaining prior written consent.
What constitutes a legitimate educational interest?

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.

When can information from educational records be disclosed?
  • Institutions must disclose educational records to students who request to see information from their own records.
  • To disclose information from educational records CSUDH can obtain a written consent from the student. This written consent is a part of the educational record and must be maintained as long as the educational records to which they refer are maintained by the institution. This consent must:
    • Specify the records to be released,
    • State the purpose of the disclosure,
    • Identify the party or parties to whom the disclosure may be made, and
    • Be signed and dated by the student
  • Some exceptions that allow institutions may disclose educational records with written consent are as follows:
    • Directory information provided that a current student has not requested that directory information not be released,
    • Officials of other institutions in which the student seeks to enroll, on condition that the issuing institution makes a reasonable attempt to inform the student of the disclosure, Persons or organizations providing to the student financial aid, or determining financial aid decisions
    • Organizations conducting studies to develop validate, and administer predictive tests, to administer student aid programs, or to improve instruction
    • Persons in compliance with a judicial order or a lawfully issued subpoena, provided that the institution first make a reasonable attempt to notify the student, or
    • Persons in an emergency, if it is determined that there is a rational basis to believe there is a significant threat to a student or other persons
When can educational records be released to a parent?

Information from educational records may be released to a parent in the following circumstances:

  • The parent obtains the student’s written consent,
  • The parent establishes the student’s dependency as defined by Internal Revenue Code,
  • The parent may exercise the disclosure option on a student under age 21 regarding a violation of an institutional rule or federal, state, or local law regarding the use of alcohol or controlled substance as long as state law permits, or
  • In a health or safety emergency.
Where can I get more information regarding FERPA?

The Registrar's Office at CSUDH, or visit the US Department of Education Family Compliance Office website.