Privacy Rights of Students in Education Records

The federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (20 U.S.C. 1232g) (FERPA) and regulations adopted thereunder (34 C.F.R. 99) set out requirements designed to protect students' privacy in their educational records maintained by the campus. The statute and regulations govern access to certain student records maintained by the campus and the release of those records. FERPA provides that the campus must give students access to most records directly related to the student, and must also provide an opportunity for a hearing to correct the records if the student claims 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. FERPA generally requires the campus obtain a student's written consent before releasing personally identifiable data pertaining to the student. The campus has adopted a set of policies and procedures governing implementation of FERPA and the regulations. Copies of these policies and procedures may be obtained on the web at www.sfsu.edu/~admisrec/reg/ferpa.html or in the Registrar's Office. Among the types of information included in the campus statement of policies and procedures is:

  1.  the student records maintained and the information they contain;
  2.  the campus official responsible for maintaining each 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.  procedure for challenging the content of student records; and
  7.  the student's right 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
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202–5920

FERPA authorizes the campus to release “directory information” pertaining to 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, grade level, enrollment status, degrees, honors, and awards received, and the most recent previous educational agency or institution the student attended. The campus may release this “directory information” at any time unless the campus has received prior written objection from the student specifying the information the student requests not be released. Written objections must 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’s academic, administrative or service functions and have reason for accessing student records associated with their campus or other related academic responsibilities. Student records will be disclosed to the CSU Chancellor’s Office to conduct research, to analyze trends, or to provide other administrative services. Student records may also be disclosed to other persons or organizations under certain conditions (e.g., as part of the 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).