Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

Students' Rights Concerning Privacy of Education Records

The federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (20 U.S.C. 1232g) and regulations adopted thereunder (34 C.F.R. 99), and California Education Code, Section 67100 et seq., set out requirements designed to protect students' privacy in their records maintained by the campus, the statute and regulations governing access to records maintained by the campus, and the release of such records. The law provides that the campus must give students access to official records directly related to the student, and must also provide opportunity for a hearing to challenge the records if the student claims they are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise inappropriate. The right to a hearing under the 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 a student's written consent before releasing personally identifiable data about the student.

Cal State L.A. Administrative Procedure Student Records Administration-011, details the campus policy and procedure for maintaining student records, including:

  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 their records;
  6. the procedures for challenging the content of student records;
  7. the cost to 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: The Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, D.C. 20202-4605.

Cal State L.A. is authorized under FERPA and Administrative Procedure 011 to release "directory information" about students. Directory information includes 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, grade level, enrollment status, the most recent previous educational agency or institution attended by the student, parent and/or emergency contact, and degrees, honors, and awards received.

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 information that the student requests not be released. Such written objections should be directed to the University Registrar. Schools must tell parents and eligible students about directory information and allow parents and eligible students a reasonable amount of time to request that the school not disclose directory information about them. Schools must notify parents and eligible students annually of their rights under FERPA. The actual means of notification (special letter, inclusion in the schedule of classes, student handbook, or newspaper article) is left to the discretion of each school.

Cal State L.A. 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 a court order or subpoena; in connection with financial aid; or to other institutions to which the student is transferring).

Lesson 5: Faculty Guidelines ►