Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
Informational Guidelines for Chabot College
What is FERPA?
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, also known as the Buckley
Amendment, protects the privacy of student records. The Act provides for the
right to inspect and review education records, the right to seek to amend
those records, and to limit disclosure of information from the records. The
Act applies to all institutions that are the recipients of federal funding.
Who is protected under FERPA?
Students who are currently enrolled in higher education institutions
or formerly enrolled, regardless of their age or status in regard to parental
dependency. Students who have applied but have not attended an institution
do not have rights under FERPA.
Student and Parent Rights Relating to Educational Records
Students have a right to know about the purposes, content and location
of information kept as part of their educational records. They have a right
to gain access to and challenge the content of their educational records.
They have a right to expect that information in their educational records
will be kept confidential, disclosed only with their permission or under
provisions of the law. Students have a right to permit or prevent disclosure
of certain information in their educational records. Parents have the right
to expect confidentiality of certain information about them in student records.
Student educational records are specifically defined as records, files,
documents and other materials that contain information directly related
to a student and maintained by the college or someone acting for the college
according to policy. Excluded from student educational records are records
of instructional, supervisory and administrative personnel and ancillary
educational personnel in the sole possession of the maker and that are not
accessible or revealed to any other person, except a substitute. Additionally,
notes of a professor or staff member intended for his/her own use are not
part of the educational record, nor are records of police services, application
records of students not admitted to the college, alumni records, or records
of physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, or other recognized professionals.
Records relating to an individual who is employed by an educational agency
or institution not as a result of his/her status as a student
are also excluded. However, employment records relating to college students
who are employed as a result of their status as students are considered educational records.
What is not included in an educational record?
- Sole-possession records or private notes held by educational personnel
which are not accessible or released to other personnel
- Law enforcement or campus security records which are solely for law
- Records relating to an individual's employment by the institution (unless
employment is contingent on student status)
- Records relating to treatment provided by a physician, psychiatrist,
psychologist or other recognized professional or paraprofessional and
disclosed only to individuals providing treatment
- Records of an institution which contain only information about an individual
obtained after that person is no longer a student at that institution
(i.e., alumni records)
What documents can be removed from an education record before the student
views the record?
- Any information that pertains to another student
- Financial records of the student's parents
- Some confidential letters and statements of recommendation under conditions
described in FERPA section 99.12.
What is directory information?
Institutions may disclose information on a student without
violating FERPA through what is known as "directory information". This generally
includes a student's name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth,
major field of study, participation in officially recognized sports and activities,
weight and height of athletes, dates of attendance, degrees and awards
received and other similar information. Each institution is required to annually notify
students in attendance of what constitutes directory information. This notice
must also provide procedures for students to restrict the institution
from releasing his/her directory information.
Who would generally be permitted access without the student's
- School officials who have "legitimate educational interests" as defined
in the college's annual FERPA notification
- Parents of a "dependent student" as defined by the Internal Revenue
- The issuer of a judicial order or subpoena which allows the institution
to release records without the student's consent, however, a "reasonable
effort" must generally be made to notify the student before complying
with the order
When do you need consent to disclose personally identifiable
information from an education record (including transcripts)?
With specific exceptions (listed below), a signed and dated
consent by the student must be provided by the student before any disclosure
is made. The written consent must:
- Specify the records that may be disclosed
- State the purpose of disclosure
- Identify the party or class of parties to whom the disclosure may be
What is "Personally Identifiable Information"?
- The student's name
- Name of the student's parent or other family members
- Address of the student or student's family
- A personal identifier, such as a social security number or student number
- A list of personal characteristics that would make the student's identity
When is the student's consent not required to disclose information? The
- To college faculty, staff, and administrators with a legitimate educational
interest (defined in the college's annual notification)
- To parents of a "dependent student"
- To Federal, State and local education authorities involving an audit
or evaluation of compliance with education programs
- In connection with processing Financial Aid
- To organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, educational
- To accrediting organizations
- To transfer college if student has formally applied for admission to
attend the transfer college.
- To comply with judicial order or subpoena
- Health or safety emergency
- Directory information
- To the student
- Results of disciplinary hearing to an alleged victim of a crime of violence
Requests to disclose should always be handled with caution
and approached on a case-by-case basis.
How does increasing technology impact FERPA at Chabot?
The use of computerized record-keeping systems is increasing
at a tremendous rate. Electronic data will eventually replace most paper documents.
We try to ensure that appropriate policies are established to protect the
confidentiality of those records, educate faculty, administrators, staff,
and students, about the policies, and make sure the policies are enforced.
The same principles of confidentiality must be applied to electronic data
as apply to paper documents. These general guidelines are not intended
to be legal advice. This document provides only a summary of FERPA.
For further information regarding FERPA or clarification regarding FERPA,
contact the following FERPA representatives:
Campus FERPA Official & Student
Dean of Special Programs
Student Records Representative
Paulette Lino, Director, Admissions & Records