What Is FERPA and Who Must Comply?

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), as amended, sets forth requirements regarding the privacy of student records. This law applies to postsecondary institutions as well as K-12 schools.

FERPA governs:

  • The disclosure of education records maintained by an educational institution; and
  • Access to these records.

Any educational institution (school or other entity that provides educational services and is attended by students) or educational agency (entity that administers schools directly linked to it) that receive funds under any program administered by the U.S. Secretary of Education must comply with FERPA.

Student Rights and Educational Records

FERPA rights given to students:

  1. The right to inspect and review educational records
    The Office of the Registrar must respond to a written request for student access to educational records within 45 days. The student must submit a Request to Review Education Records Form specifying which record(s) to inspect and review to the Office of the Registrar. Once the request has been received, the Office of the Registrar will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.
  1. The right to request the amendment of the educational records
    If a student believes information within the content of their education record is inaccurate or misleading, the student may ask the University to amend their education record. The student must write to the Office of the Registrar, or the specific office maintaining the record in question and clearly identify the part of the record that is inaccurate or misleading and specify why the record is inaccurate or misleading. If the University decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the Registrar (or an appropriate official, if the record is maintained by another office), will notify the student of the decision, and advise the student of their right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment.
  1. The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information
    Disclosure of personally identifiable information (PII) in the student’s educational record requires consent from the student. To disclose PII from a student’s education record to a third party, he/she must submit to the Office of the Registrar a Consent to Release Student Information Form. One exception, which permits disclosure without consent, is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests.

  2. The right to file a complaint
    A student may file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education if the University is in non-compliance with the requirements of FERPA. The student may contact:

            Family Policy Compliance Office
            U.S. Department of Education
            400 Maryland Avenue, SW
            Washington, DC 20202-5920

What are education records?

FERPA defines education records as records directly related to a student and maintained by an educational institution or by a party acting for the institution. These records include, but are not limited to transcripts, enrollment records, student exams or papers, grades, class lists, student course schedules, health records, student financial information, and student disciplinary records.

What is Directory Information?

Directory information is defined as information contained in an education record of a student which would not generally be considered harmful or invasion of privacy if disclosed. The following is considered DIRECTORY INFORMATION and CHSU may release and make available to the public UNLESS notified by the student to withhold release of this information.

  • Student’s name
  • CHSU Email Address
  • Address
  • Telephone Number
  • Photos used in Publications
  • Field of Study
  • Class Level
  • Enrollment Status (part/full-time)
  • Dates of Attendance
  • Club and/or Organization Memberships
  • Degrees, Honors and Awards
  • Most Recent Institutions Attended by the Student

All requests for Directory Information are to be referred to the Office of the Registrar for review.

Non-Disclosure of Directory Information

A student may request non-disclosure of “Directory Information” to the public. The student must submit a Request to Opt-Out of Directory Information form (below) to the Office of the Registrar indicating what directory information not to be disclosed.

Please be advised if you request non-disclosure of “Directory Information”, CHSU will not be able to verify your enrollment and/or degree earned to prospective employers.

This form remains in effect on the student’s record until written notification has been received from the student to update the previous request to opt-out of directory information.

Authorization to Release Student Information

FERPA requires that a consent for disclosure of education records be signed and dated, specify the records that may be disclosed, state the purpose of the disclosure, and identify the party or class of parties to whom the disclosure may be made. If you wish to authorize a third party (e.g., parents, spouse, employers, etc.) disclosure of your education records, you must complete, sign and date a Consent to Release Student Information Form and submit the form to the Office of the Registrar.

Letters of recommendation

Students needing a Letter of Recommendation from a University faculty or staff member and want to include personally identifiable information obtained from your education record (e.g., grades, GPA, etc.), you must complete, sign and return the Letter of Recommendation Form to the writer of the letter specifying what records may be disclosed, the purpose of the disclosure, and to whom the disclosure can be made. Letters of Recommendation are considered part of a student’s education record, therefore, a student has the right to read the letter, unless they waive that right.

Annual Notification of Rights

Institutions must notify students annually of their FERPA rights. California Health Sciences University notifies students of their FERPA rights by publishing the annual notification on the website and in the University catalog.

FERPA Guidelines for Faculty ANd Staff

Information on FERPA for faculty and staff.


More information on the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is located on the U.S. Department of Education website at: https://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa.