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What is FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act)?

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education. FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children’s education records. These rights transfer 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.”

Solomon Amendment [32 CFR Part 16] published October 28, 1998, and interim rule [65 Fed Reg 2056] published January 13, 2000, gives branches of the military access to student directory information which would have been denied them under FERPA

Link to CSU Channel Islands How to use FERPA Online: Authorize to Release guide. (PDF, 267KB)

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What are education records?

Under FERPA, education records are defined as records that are directly related to a student and are maintained by an education agency or institution or by a party acting for the agency or institution. Education records can exist in any medium, including: typed, computer generated, videotape, audiotape, film, microfilm, microfiche and email, among others.

Education records DO NOT INCLUDE such things as:

  • sole possession records, i.e., records/notes in sole possession of the maker, used only as a personal memory aid and not revealed or accessible to any other person except a temporary substitute for the maker of the record (this might include notes an instructor makes while providing career/professional guidance to a student);
  • medical treatment records that include but are not limited to records maintained by physicians, psychiatrists, and psychologists;
  • employment records when employment is not contingent on being a student, provided the record is used only in relation to the individual's employment;
  • records created and maintained by a law enforcement unit used only for that purpose, are revealed only to law enforcement agencies of the same jurisdiction, and the enforcement unit does not have access to education records;
  • post-attendance records, i.e., information about a person that was obtained when the person was no longer a student (alumni records) and does not relate to the person as a student.

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Accessible information in an education record

According to FERPA, personally identifiable information in an education record may not be released without prior written consent from the student. Some examples of information that MAY NOT BE RELEASED without prior written consent of the student are:

  • birth date
  • religious affiliation
  • citizenship
  • disciplinary status
  • ethnicity
  • gender
  • grade point average (GPA)
  • marital status
  • SSN/student I.D.
  • grades/exam scores
  • test scores (e.g., SAT, GRE, etc.)

The university will not release personally identifiable information from a student's education record without the student's prior written consent. Even parents are not permitted access to their son or daughter's education records unless the student has provided written authorization permitting the parents' access. Exceptions are noted in the university's policy (located in the Vice President for Student Affairs office) concerning the privacy of student education records and includes: access by "school officials" who the institution has determined to have a "legitimate educational interest;" access by school officials at other schools where the student seeks to enroll; access for the purpose of awarding financial aid and subpoenas.

At CSU Channel Islands these terms are defined below:

"University official" is any person employed by the university in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research or support staff position, a student serving on an official university committee, or a person employed by or under contract to the university to perform a specific task. A "university official" has a "legitimate educational interest" whenever he or she is performing a task that is specified in their position description, or by a contract agreement, performing a task related to a student's education, performing a task related to the discipline of a student, providing a service or benefit relating to the student or student's family (such as health care, counseling, job placement or financial aid) or disclosure of information in response to a judicial order or legally issued subpoena.

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Student's right to review and correct their records

Students and former students have rights to inspect and review their education records within 45 days from making a written request. The right of inspection and review includes: the right to access, with an explanation and interpretation of the record; the right to a copy of the education record when failure to provide a copy of the record would effectively prevent the student from inspecting and reviewing the record. The University reserves the right not to provide copies of transcripts it has received from other education institutions. It also reserves the right to deny copies of the University transcripts if the student has an unpaid financial obligation to the University. Limitations exist on students' rights to inspect and review their education records. For example, the University reserves the right to refuse permission to the inspection and review of:

  • Financial statements of the student’s parents;
  • Confidential letters and confidential statements of recommendation placed in the education record before January 1, 1975, if the student has waived their right to inspect and review those letters and statements, and the letters and statements relate to the student’s admission to an educational institution, application for employment, or receipt of an honor or honorary recognition; or
  • Confidential letters and confidential statements placed in the education record after January 1, 1975 for which the student has waived the right of access in writing for admission, employment, or receipt of an honor or honorary recognition, except when these documents have been used for any purpose other than that for which they were originally intended; and
  • Documents excluded from the FERPA definition of education records (such as those listed in the “Definitions” section above.)

Students may request that their education records be amended if they believe such information is inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of privacy rights. Students must request in writing that the office that maintains those records amend them. Students should identify the part of the records they want corrected and specify why they believe it is inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of privacy rights. That office will review the request and inform the students in a reasonable amount of time after receiving the request. If the records custodian refuses to amend the record, students have the right to a hearing. A hearing officer appointed by the Vice President for Student Affairs will conduct the hearing. The hearing will be held within a reasonable amount of time after the request for the hearing has been received. The hearing officer will notify the student, reasonably in advance, of the date, place, and time of the hearing.

For the complete policy, which includes the review, amendment and appeal processes, visit Policy on Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

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Types, Locations, and Custodian of Education Record

TypesLocationsCustodian of Record
Academic (e.g., transcript, transfer work, class schedule, degree requirements, probation, petitions, etc.)

Registrar's Office

Enrollment Center, Sage Hall, Room 1020

Associate/Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Management
Disciplinary

Student Conduct & Community Responsibility

Bell Tower

Student Conduct Administrator/Dean of Students
Campus Assessment Response and Evaluation (CARE) Team

Dean of Students

Bell Tower

Associate Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students

Financial Aid

Financial Aid office

Enrollment Center, Sage Hall, Room 1020

Director of Financial Aid
Student Housing, Tenant, and Disciplinary

Housing & Residential Education

Santa Cruz Village

Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, Housing & Residential Education
Student Accounts

Student Financial Services

Lindero Hall

Vice President for Business and Financial Affairs
Placement

Career Development Services

Bell Tower, Room 1865

Coordinator of Career Development Services
Student Life (e.g. Career Counseling, EOP/Student Support services, PATH Program, etc.)

Dean of Students

Bell Tower

Associate Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students
Student Payroll

Human Resources

Lindero Hall

Associate Vice President for Human Resources
Public Safety

Transportation & Parking Services

Placer Hall

Chief of Police
Occasional (e.g., correspondence in office not listed above)University staff will direct the student to the location that maintains recordsAssociate/Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Management
VeteransSage HallAssociate/Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Management

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What is directory or public information?

FERPA has specifically identified certain information called directory information that may be disclosed without student consent.

CSU Channel Islands has designated the following information as directory information and may release this information, unless the student has submitted a request for non-disclosure:

  • Student's name
  • University email address
  • Major field of study
  • Dates of attendance
  • Full-time or part-time status
  • Degrees, awards, and honors received
  • Dates and degrees conferred
  • Enrollment status (class level)
  • Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
  • Weight and height of members of athletics teams

For Student Employees:

  • department where employed
  • employee status (i.e., Graduate Assistant, Instructional Student Assistant, Teaching Associate)

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Restricting release of directory information

According to FERPA, a student can request that the institution not release any of their directory information. Institutions must comply with this request, once received, if the student is still enrolled. At CSU Channel Islands, students who wish to restrict the release of directory information about themselves must complete a "FERPA Request to Withhold Directory Information" form, available in the Enrollment Center of the Professional Building. Students have the choice of restricting on-line student directory information, or they can restrict the release of all of their directory information. The completed form must be submitted in person to the Registrar's office and must be accompanied by a photo I.D.* Students will be required to renew the request at the beginning of each academic year.

Students who wish to restrict directory information should realize that their names will not appear in the commencement bulletin and other university publications. Also, employers, credit card companies, loan agencies, scholarship committees and the like will be denied any of the student's directory information and will be informed that we have no information available about the student's attendance at CSU Channel Islands. Students who wish to have specific directory information released may do so by providing a written authorization to the Registrar's Office.

Please contact the Registrar’s Office on how to submit the “FERPA Request to Withhold Directory Information” form, during our limited hours of operation.

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Consent to release student information

Students have the ability to authorize a designated individual to have access to their education record. Steps to complete the FERPA Online: Authorize to Release form can be found below:

  1. Access the form in CI Records under the Personal Information section of the Student Center.
  2. Fill out all fields of the form - be sure to read each section thoroughly. For Step-by-step instructions, please click on How to use FERPA Online: Authorize to Release guide (PDF, 267KB) for our guide. 

Completing the form through CI Records allows for instant processing and visibility by University Officials.

Students are able to update, add, and remove the designee(s) information at any time.

We are here to help you complete the form - any questions can be sent to registrar@csuci.edu.

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Annual notification to students

Consistent with its obligations under FERPA, CSU Channel Islands annually notifies students of the rights accorded them by FERPA. CSU Channel Islands students are notified of their FERPA rights in the University Catalog.

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Faculty and Staff Access

All faculty and staff, as well as any other agents of the university who request access to student academic records, must submit a signed acknowledgment form. Access to student records, including the academic records database, will be denied until the form is submitted. The form is intended to insure that anyone accessing student records understands the obligations under FERPA for proper use and protection of student records.

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Comments/Questions

General questions may be directed to Enrollment Management- Registrar Office. Comments or suggestions should be addressed to Enrollment Management, 805-437-8500, Sage Hall- Enrollment Center.

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Filing a complaint

If a parent or eligible student feels that the institution has not fully honored their privacy rights under FERPA, a written complaint may be filed with the Family Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Ave. SW, Washington, DC 20202-4605. The Family Compliance Office investigates each timely complaint to determine whether the educational agency or institution has failed to comply with the provisions of FERPA. A timely complaint is defined as an allegation that is submitted within 180 days of the date of the alleged violation or of the date that the complainant knew or reasonably should have known of the alleged violation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Students:

1. Who is considered a Third Party Designee?

A Third-Party Designee is someone who has an interest in a student’s education records outside of University Officials. Third-Party Designees can be anyone you deem necessary to have access to your records.

For example: You may authorize your parents, or legal guardians, to have access to assist with tax filing.

2. Will this affect the paper form I submitted?

No. The University will honor the paper form until the end of the academic year it was submitted. This will allow for all students to transition to our new Authorize to Release form in CI Records.

3. Can I give access to more than one person at a time?

Yes. Students are allowed to give access to multiple third-party designees at one time. Each designee must have their own row on the Authorize to Release form in CI Records. If multiple designees share the same line, the university will not provide release of records.

4. How long can I give access to my Designees?

Students may allow designees access up to one year from the date added.

Please note: If a student is no longer active before the release expires, designees will no longer be allowed to have access to education records. Authorize to Release is intended for active students and applicants at CSU Channel Islands. If you are no longer an active student, please contact registrar@csuci.edu for further assistance.

5. Can I revoke access at any time?

Yes. Students may revoke access to a designee at any time. To remove a designee, please follow these steps:

  1. Log in to myCI
  2. Click on the “CI Records” Tile
  3. Click on the “Authorize to Release” link under Personal Information
  4. Scroll down to your designees
  5. Click the ‘-‘ button to remove a designee
  6. Click the “Save” button
  7. Your designee has been successfully removed

6. I don’t want anyone having access to my records. How do I prevent my information from being shared?

At CSU Channel Islands, students may restrict the release of directory information about themselves. They must complete a "FERPA Request to Withhold Directory Information" form and submit it to the Registrar’s Office. Students have the choice of restricting on-line student directory information, or they can restrict the release of all of their directory information.

Parents/Third-Party Designees:

1. Why should my student have to fill out this form so I can talk with you?

Only in K-12 school levels, or before a student turns 18 years old, do parents/legal guardians have the right to inspect, review, amend and consent to disclosure of their student’s education records. Once the student turns 18 year old, or enters a postsecondary institution at any age, rights under FERPA transfer to the student. The postsecondary institution is not allowed share any information outside of directory information.

If a student wants their parent/legal guardian to have access to their education records, the student must give signed consent to the university. The signed consent at CSU Channel Islands is the Authorize to Release form found within CI Records.

2. I need access to my student’s education records. How does my student set up access for me?

To gain access to your student’s education records, the student must complete the Authorize to Release form in CI Records.

The student may use this step-by-step guide to authorize third-party designees. (PDF, 267KB)

3. I previously had access to my student’s education records. The date has passed, but can I still get my questions answered?

No. Once the authorization has expired, the student will need to fill out a new authorization to renew your access.

4. My access has expired. Can my student just put a new date in, or do they have to recreate the release?

Yes. If your access has expired and you have not been removed as a designee, your student can go in and change the expiration date.

Staff/Faculty:

1. How will we know if a student has filled out the Authorize to Release form?

There is an administrative view page in PeopleSoft that shows individual students. The page shows the name, access code, expiration date, departments, records to be released, and the purpose of release.

2. I don’t have access as mentioned above. Who can get me access?

Select University Officials have access to this page. Those in Housing and Residential Education, Admissions and Recruitment, Registrar’s Office, Financial Aid and Scholarships Office, and Student Business Services have access to the administrative view page.

If you work in one of those departments and cannot access the page, please contact the analyst in your department. If you do not work in one of those departments, please contact registrar@csuci.edu. The registrar’s office will let you know if access to the page is deemed necessary.

3. The student did not fully state why their designee needs access to specific records. Do I have to give answers or information to their designee if I am not comfortable with their Purpose of Release statement?

There must be a valid reason for releasing the record when a student is requesting third-party access. If a student does not provide a valid reason, you have the right to refuse the release of record.

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