Skip to Content
California State University, Long Beach

FERPA - What Is It?

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) also known as the “Buckley Amendment”, was established to protect the privacy of students. The primary rights of students under FERPA include:

  • The right to inspect and review educational records.
  • The right to seek to amend educational records.
  • The right to have some control over the disclosure of information from educational records.

The purpose of the Student Records Procedures is to ensure that the campus community is aware of, and complies with, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy regulations (FERPA), Statute: 20 U.S.C. 1232g; Regulations: 34 C.F.R. Part 99.

Definitions

For the purposes of this procedure, California State University , Long Beach (CSULB) uses the following definitions of terms:

Access

A personal inspection and review of a student record or a copy of a student record, or an oral or written description or communication of the contents of a student record.

Attendance

Includes courses taken in person or by paper correspondence, videoconference, satellite, Internet, or other electronic information or telecommunication technologies for students who are not physically present in the classroom; attendance is not limited to receipt of instruction leading to a diploma or certificate.

Biometric record

Any student information that is not generally considered to be harmful or an invasion of the student privacy. FERPA identifies sample items that may be considered directory information. The items determined to be directory information by the campus are found in a later section. FERPA explicitly prohibits Social Security Numbers (SSNs) from disclosure as directory information, and the use of SSN to confirm directory information is likewise prohibited.

Directory Information

Any student information that is not generally considered to be harmful or an invasion of the student privacy. FERPA identifies sample items that may be considered directory information. The items determined to be directory information by the campus are found in a later section. FERPA explicitly prohibits Social Security Numbers (SSNs) from disclosure as directory information, and the use of SSN to confirm directory information is likewise prohibited.

Disclosure

To permit access to or the release, transfer, or other communication of personally identifiable information contained in education records to any party, by any means, including oral, written, or electronic.  Includes allowable release or return of an education record—e.g., transcripts recommendations, etc. that appear to have been falsified- to the institution or party that created the record.  The objective is to resolve questions regarding validity, thus allowing the sending school to confirm or deny the accuracy of the record and to send an authentic version without consent of the student.

Education records

Any records (in handwriting, print, tapes, film, computer, or other medium) maintained by CSULB or an agent of the University, which is directly related to a student. Exceptions to educational records include, but are not limited to:

  • A personal record kept by a staff member if it is kept in the sole possession of the maker of the record and is not accessible or revealed to any other person.
  • Records created and maintained by the CSULB University Police for law enforcement purposes.
  • An employment record of an individual whose employment is not contingent on the fact that he or she is a student, provided the record is used only in relation to the individual’s employment.
  • Medical records made or maintained by Student Health Services or University Counseling and Psychological Services (made by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional) if the records are used only for treatment of a student and made available only to those persons providing the treatment.
  • Alumni records which contain information after the student is no longer in attendance at the University and which do not relate to the person as a student.
  • Grades on tests or homework assignments graded by another student and called out in class-even though the grades may eventually become parts of an educational record.

Legitimate educational interest

The need to review an education record by a school official in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility. CSULB has determined that an official has a legitimate educational interest if the official’s function includes one of the following:

  • Performing a task that is specified in the school official’s position description or 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.
  • Maintaining the safety and security of the campus.

Personally identifiable information

Information not identified as directory information that is directly linked to a student.  Personally identifiable information includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Name of the student's parent or other family members
  • A personal identifier, such as social security number
  • Other indirect identifiers, such as the student’s date of birth, place of birth, and mother’s maiden name
  • Other information that, alone or in combination, is linked or linkable to a specific student that would allow a reasonable person in the school community, who does not have personal knowledge of the relevant circumstances, to identify the student with reasonable certainty
  • Information requested [“targeted requests”] by a person who the university reasonably believes knows the identity of the student to whom the education record relates.

Student

Any person who is or has previously attended CSULB. This includes any person who has been enrolled in the regular, extension, or special session (i.e., summer or winter), regardless of the physical location of the program.

University officials

A person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position, including health or medical staff. Other persons whom CSULB has determined to be school officials include the following:

  • A member of the Board of Trustees
  • A person employed by or under contract to the university to perform a special task, such as an attorney or auditor
  • A person who is employed by CSULB University Police
  • A student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or who is assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks
  • Volunteers and other nonemployees performing institutional services and functions, under the direct control of the institution and with a legitimate educational interest in the personally indentifiable information from education records

Annual Notification

Students will be notified of their FERPA rights, at a minimum, by publication in the CSULB Catalog, and on the Enrollment Services web site.

The Director of Registration, Records, and Evaluations in the Office of Enrollment Services will annually review the CSULB Catalog and the related information on the Enrollment Services Web site to ensure that the appropriate notification is present, complete, and correct.

Inspecting Education Records

  1. Procedures for Students to Inspect their Education Record

    Students who wish to view the contents of their Educational Records must contact the appropriate unit custodian (in person or by phone) to make an appointment to view these records. Access to inspect educational records normally shall be granted to the student no later than fifteen working days following the date of request from the student. If the records the student wishes to view are under the control of various Unit Custodians, the student must make individual requests to each Unit Custodian (See section on Types, Locations, and Custodians of Records). The responsible department Unit Custodian will meet with the student during normal business hours, at the scheduled appointment time and place. The original records may not leave the office where the records are maintained.

  2. Right of the University to Refuse Access

    The following limitations exist on the right to inspect and review records:

    • No review of a record containing information about another student
    • No review of a record containing information about the studentís parents, e.g., financial records
    • No review of a record containing confidential letters or confidential statements of recommendation placed in the education record of the student before January 1, 1975
    • No review of a record containing confidential letters or confidential statements of recommendation placed in the education record of the student after January 1, 1975, if the student has waived his or her right to inspect and review those letters and statements
    • No review of a record connected with a studentís admission application, if that application was denied

Fees for Copies of Records

The student may request copies of pages contained within the education record. With the exception of CSULB academic transcripts, the fee for copies will be $1.00 per page. Requests for copies of an official CSULB academic transcript are not part of this record access process. Official copies of CSULB academic transcripts are available through the normal transcript request process and for the regular transcript processing fees. Information is available from the Office of Enrollment Services.

Although the student retains the right to inspect his or her records, CSULB is not normally required under FERPA to provide copies of documents contained in the education record. Therefore, CSULB may deny copies of records if the student has an unpaid financial obligation to the University.

Types, Locations, And Custodians Of Records

The “Unit Custodian” is the person who possesses the records or is in charge of the office that possesses the records. It is the Unit Custodian’s responsibility to ensure proper access control and to handle, store, and dispose of the records as appropriate.

The following is a list of the major types and locations of Records that the University maintains and the unit custodian for their respective type of records.

Types Location Unit Custodian
Academic Advising Records (UCUA) University Center for Undergraduate Advising
Horn Center, Room 103
Director
Academic Department / Program Records Individual Departments Dept. Chair or designee
Administrative Computing Records Information Technology
B.H., Room 188
Director
Admissions and Academic
(e.g., applications, transcripts, transfer work, class schedule, degree audit, probation or disqualification, petitions, etc.)
Enrollment Services
B.H., Room 123
Associate Vice President,  Enrollment Services (or designee)
Alumni Records Alumni Office
Foundation Bldg., 324
Director
Student Disciplinary Records Judicial Affairs Office
B.H., Room 377
Director, Judicial Affairs
Educational Equity Services
Advising Records
E.E.S. Office L.A., 1-119 Director
Extension Records Center of Continuing and Professional
Education (CCPE)
Foundation Bldg., 104
Assistant Dean
Financial Aid Records Enrollment Services
B.H., Room 123
Director
Housing Records Housing & Residential Life
HRL
Director
ID Card Records University Bookstore
Southwest Side of Bldg.
I.D. Card Manager
Library Library West  
Occasional (e.g., correspondence in office not listed above)

Information will either be collected, student will be directed to location, or make available for inspection and review.

University staff person who maintains this occasional record.
Staff Personnel Records Staff Personnel Office
B.H., Room 335
Director
Student Campus Organizational Records Student Life and Development
USU, Room 215
Director
Student Health Records Student Health Center Director
Student Payroll Records Payroll Office
B.H., Room 353
Director
Teacher Educational Placement Records Credential Processing Ctr. ED1-042 Director

Disclosure of Education Records

CSULB will not permit third party access to non-directory, personally identifiable Information contained in a student’s education records without the written consent of the student, except under the circumstances permitted under FERPA as summarized below:

  • To school officials who have a legitimate educational interest in the records (as defined under Section B).
  • To officials of another school, upon request, in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
  • To certain officials of the U.S. Department of Education, the Comptroller General, and State and Local educational authorities, in connection with audit or evaluation of certain State or federally supported education programs.
  • In connection with a student’s request for or receipt of financial aid to determine the eligibility, amount, or conditions of the financial aid, or to enforce the terms and conditions of the aid.
  • To State and local officials or authorities if specifically required by a State law that was adopted before November 19, 1974.
  • To organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the University.
  • To accrediting organizations to carry out their functions.
  • To parents of an eligible student who is claimed as a dependent for income tax purposes.
  • To comply with a federal or California judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena.
  • To appropriate parties in a health or safety emergency.
  • To individuals requesting directory information so designated by the University.
  • The discretionary release by the University of the results of any disciplinary proceeding conducted by the University against an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence to the alleged victim of that crime.
  • To U.S. Military recruiters pursuant to 32 CFR 216 (Solomon Amendment).
  • The discretionary release to a parent or legal guardian regarding a student’s violation of any law or University rule or policy governing the use or possession of alcohol or a control substance if the student is under 21 years old and has committed a disciplinary violation (1998 HEA Amendments).
  • To comply with the USA Patriot Act of 2001, under ex parte court orders for relevant investigations and prosecutions of specified crimes or acts of terrorism.
  • To comply with other federal legislation passed subsequent to FERPA, including but not limited to the Student Right to Know Act, the Taxpayer Relief Act, et al.

Record of Request for Disclosure

Each Unit Custodian will maintain a record of all requests for access to and each disclosure of personally identifiable information from a student’s education records. This record must be kept with the education records of the student as long as the records are maintained. The record must include: 1) the name of the party making the request, 2) the legitimate interest the party had in requesting or obtaining the information, and 3) any additional party to whom the records may be re-disclosed and the legitimate interests under which each of the additional parties had in requesting or obtaining this information. Any such additional party must provide those records within 30 days of a request by CSULB. For its part, CSULB must list in each student’s record the names of the state, federal, or local agencies that may make further disclosures and must accommodate parent or student requests to review student’s record of disclosures.

Additional third parties that receive subpoenas or court orders are responsible for notifying the students subject to those subpoenas. If a third-party recipient does not provide the notification required, CSULB is not allowed to grant access to education records to that third party for at least five years.

With regard to research studies using CSULB education records, prior approval by the Vice Provost or the Associate Vice President for Enrollment Services is required. Approvals must be documented with written agreements specifying that personally identifiable information will be used only for the purposes of the study and only by parties with a legitimate educational interest in the information. Information no longer needed for a study must be destroyed or returned to CSULB within a specified time period. Reasonable controls must be in place to ensure that personally identifiable information from education records is protected.

A record of request for disclosure is not required if the request was from or the disclosure was to one of the following:

  • The eligible student,
  • A school official,
  • A party with written consent from the eligible student,
  • A party seeking directory information,
  • A party seeking or receiving the records as directed by a Federal grand jury or other law enforcement subpoena and the issuing court or other issuing agency has ordered that the existence or the contents of the subpoena or the information furnished in response to the subpoena not be disclosed.
  • An educational agency or institution requesting information concerning registered sex offenders, pursuant to the pertinent provisions of the Wetterling Act and applicable federal guidelines
  • An educational institution where student was enrolled, applied for transfer or is currently attending
  • A party seeking information for Federal and State Data Collection and Use.

Disclosure for Federal and State Data Collection and Use

FERPA regulations have expanded the circumstances under which the education record and personally identifiable information contained in such records-including the social security number, grades, and other private information may be accessed without student consent. A request for disclosure is not required in the following:

  • CSULB may allow access to student records and personally identifiable information to any third party designated by a Federal or State Authority to evaluate a federal-or state-supported education program. The evaluation may relate to any program that is principally engaged in the provision of education, such as early childhood education and job training, as well as any program that is administered by an education agency or institution
  • CSULB may allow access to the information above to researchers performing certain types of studies, in certain cases even when we object to or do not request such research. CSULB must obtain certain use-restriction and data security promises from the entities what we authorize to receive this information but CSULB need not maintain direct control over such entities.
  • In connection with Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems, CSULB may collect, compile, permanently retain, and share your education records and my track your participation in education and other programs by linking such to other personal information about you are obtained from other Federal or State data sources, including workforce development, unemployment insurance, child welfare, juvenile justice, military service, and migrant student records systems.

Disclosure To and From Institutions Where Student Enrolled

  • A student’s education records may be received from or disclosed to officials of another institution of postsecondary education without the consent of the student—not only when the student seeks or intends to enroll, but also after the student is already enrolled , so long as the disclosre is for purposes related to the student’s enrollment or transfer.
  • Any student records or information, including health records and information about disciplinary proceedings, that could have been disclosed when the student was seeking or intending to enroll, may be exchanged between CSULB and another institution without the student’s consent.
  • These regulations apply to any institution that a student previously attended, not just the institution that the student attended most recently.

Exceptions to Prohibition Against Disclosure

CSULB will not permit third-party access to non-directory, personally identifiable information contained a student’s educational record without the written consent of the student, except under the following circumstances permitted under FERPA:

  • To CSULB officials who have a legitimate educational interest in the records (as defined under the Definitions Section of this document)
  • To officials of another school, upon request, in which a student seeks to enroll or is enrolled
  • To certain officials of the U.S. Department of Education, the Comptroller General, and state and local educational authorities, in connection with audit or evaluation of certain state or federally supported education programs
  • In connection with a student’s request for or receipt of financial aid to determine the eligibility, amount, or conditions of the financial aid, or to enforce the terms and conditions of the aid
  • To state and local officials or authorities if specifically required by a state law that was adopted before November 19, 1974
  • To organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the university
  • To accrediting organizations to carry out their functions
  • The discretionary release to parents of an eligible student who is claimed as a dependent for income tax purposes
  • To comply with a federal or California judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena
  • To appropriate parties in a health or safety emergency
    • A CSULB campus-wide health and safety emergency can be declared by the President, the Vice President for Student Services, the Vice President for Administration and Finance, or the Chief of Police; the authorization and recording of education-record releases during declared emergencies are the responsibilities of the Associate Vice President for Enrollment Services
    • CSULB may take into account the totality of the circumstances pertaining to a threat to the safety or health of students or other individuals in making a determination concerning disclosures of student records
    • CSULB may disclose personally identifiable information from an education record to appropriate parties, including parents of an eligible student, if knowledge of the information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals.
    • If there is a rational basis for the determination concerning disclosure of student records, DOE’s Family Policy Compliance Office will not substitute its judgment for that of CSULB leadership in evaluating the circumstances and making its determination
  • To individuals requesting directory information designated by the University
  • The discretional release by the university of the results of any disciplinary proceeding conducted by the university against and alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence to the alleged victim of that crime
  • To U.S. military recruiters pursuant to 32 CFR 216 (Solomon Amendment)
  • The discretionary release to a parent or legal guardian regarding a student’s violation of any law or university rule or policy governing the use or possession of alcohol or a control substance if the student is under 21 years old and has committed a disciplinary violation (1988 HEA Amendments)
  • To comply with the U.S.A Patriot Act of 2001, under ex parte court orders for relevant investigations and prosecutions of specified crimes or acts of terrorism
  • To comply with other federal legislation passed subsequent to FERPA, including by not limited to the Student Right to Know Act and the Taxpayer Relief Act
  • To comply with State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific State law
  • To comply with Federal and State data collection use.

Directory Information

CSULB designates the following items authorized by FERPA as Directory Information:

  • Student's name,
  • Address (see below for conditions)
  • Telephone number (see below for conditions)
  • Major field of study
  • Dates of attendance
  • Grade Level
  • Enrollment Status
  • Degrees, honors and awards received
  • Email address (see below for conditions)

Addresses and telephone numbers for currently enrolled students will be released to CSULB personnel and units solely for the purpose of conducting legitimate University business. They may not be shared with individuals or organizations outside the University except in accordance with the provisions immediately below:

Addresses and telephone numbers may be released for non-commercial use by individuals or organizations outside the University provided the requests for such information have been reviewed and approved by the appropriate University personnel. Requests from the academic offices of accredited educational institutions shall be reviewed by the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs or designee. All other requests shall be reviewed by the Vice President for Student Services or designee.

Otherwise, the University may disclose any of the items designated above without prior written consent, unless the student provides a request that certain information not be released (non-disclosure). Requests for non-disclosure may be made directly by the student utilizing their self- service account in the student system via the Internet. If the student does not have access to the Internet, their request for non-disclosure must be requested on the “Authorization to Withhold Student Information” form, available in the Office of Enrollment Services. If the request is not removed before the student leaves or graduates from CSULB,at the point of graduation or at the time the student leaves CSULB, this non-disclosure restriction will normally remain indefinitely or until written notification is received asking that the restriction be removed.

Specifying items as directory information allows the University to disclose this information without prior written consent. It does not require that the University release the information except under court direction. Any requests for directory information will be directed to the Office of Enrollment Services. Each request for release of directory information will be reviewed. Any requests for access to non-directory information from academic or administrative offices of the University, or offices allied to the University, such as the Alumni Association, who have a legitimate educational interest in utilizing the information, will be directed to the Office of Enrollment Services.

In addition to the above, The Director of Athletics may provide information concerning participation of students in athletic events, including the height and weight of athletes. The University will also respond to requests for information regarding the employment status of students serving as Teaching Associates (TA’s), Graduate Assistants (GA’s), or Instructional Student Assistants (ISA’s) and the departments that employ them.

NOTE: CSULB has designated student ID numbers as directory information only for the purpose of displaying the ID number on a student’s ID card as the ID card is not the sole method of obtaining access to the student’s education records and is used with other credible identifiers.

Correction of Education Records

Students have the right to ask to have education records amended that they believe to be inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of their rights of privacy. Following are the procedures for the correction of records:

  1. A student must make a written request to amend a record that he or she feels is inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of their rights of privacy.  This request should be submitted on the “Student Challenge on Content/Accuracy” form, available in the Office of Judicial Affairs. In so doing, the student should identify the part of the record to be amended and specify
    why the student believes it is inaccurate, misleading or in violation of his or her rights of privacy.
  2. This challenge shall be presented to the Unit Custodian where the records in question are maintained or, if not known, to the Director of Judicial Affairs.
  3. The Unit Custodian will, within 15 working days after the request has been received, make a final determination to comply with the request to amend the record or decide not to comply.
  4. If the campus decides to amend the record, the information in the record shall be corrected or removed or destroyed as determined by the University and the student shall be notified of the decision in writing.
  5. If the campus decides not to amend the record, the student shall be advised, in writing, of the decision and the right to a formal hearing.
  6. Upon receiving a written request for a hearing, the Department Chairperson or Department Director will arrange for a hearing, and notify the student, reasonably in advance, of the date, place, and time of the hearing.
  7. Once a formal request for hearing has been received, the directives outlined in the document “Hearing Procedures for Challenge or Access to Educational Records” shall become immediately effective.
  8. The Hearing Officer will prepare a written recommendation based solely on the evidence presented at the hearing. The recommendation will include a summary of the evidence presented and the reasons for the decision.
  9. If the University decides that the information is inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the student’s right of privacy, it will amend the record and notify the student, in writing, that the record has been amended.
  10. If the University decides that the challenged information is not inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the student’s right of privacy, it will notify the student that he or she has a right to place in the record a statement commenting on the challenged information and/or a statement setting forth reasons for disagreeing with the decision.
  11. The statement will be maintained as part of the student’s education record as long as the contested record is maintained. This statement will be disclosed whenever the Records Custodian discloses the portion of the record to which the statement relates.

Federal/State Regulations

While every effort has been made to ensure that the information contained in this summary accurately reflects the regulations, any discrepancy between the language of the summary, and the actual law or interpretation of the Federal Regulations shall defer to the law and the Federal Regulation.

The campus periodically reviews these procedures at least every two years to insure compliance with regulations.  Reviews will occur more frequently if there are significant changes in regulations.