Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
Students are responsible for knowing the following:
For the purposes of this policy, Occidental College uses the following definitions of terms:
Student: any person who is or was enrolled at Occidental College
Education Records: any record (in handwriting, print, tapes, film, computer, or other medium) maintained by Occidental College or an agent of the College that is directly related to a student except:
- A personal record kept by a staff member if it is kept in sole possession of the maker of the record and is not accessible or revealed to any other person except a temporary substitute for the maker of the record.
- 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.
- Records maintained by Campus Safety if the record is maintained solely for law enforcement purposes, is revealed only to law enforcement agencies of the same jurisdiction, and Campus Safety does not have access to education records by the College.
- Records made or maintained by Emmons Student Wellness Center, if the records are used only for the treatment of a student and made available only to those persons providing treatment.
- Alumni records which contain information about a student after he or she is no longer in attendance at the College and which do not relate to the person as a student.
A college is required by Section 99.7 of the FERPA regulations to provide students annual notification of their FERPA rights. Students of Occidental College will be notified of their FERPA rights annually by publication in the Occidental College Student Handbook.
Right to Inspect Education Records
Occidental students are legally entitled to view the contents of their own education record.
Students are required to give advance notice in writing of at least 48 hours to the Registrar's Office to view their academic record. Opportunities to view this information are limited to regular office hours and under the supervision of office staff. The file containing the Student Academic Record may not be removed from the Registrar's Office.
Definition of the Student Academic Record: Includes all information contained on the student's official transcript, plus copies of letters, petitions, and other items from, or that have been reviewed by, the Academic Standing Committee and/or Curriculum Committee, Change of Advisor Forms, Major Declaration Forms, Application for Degree Forms, letters to Occidental concerning Leaves of Absence or Withdrawals from the College, Leave of Absence/Withdrawal Forms, transcripts from other colleges or universities, miscellaneous notes or material affecting the student's transcript (changes, corrections, etc.), Applications for Admission, Application Essays, Activities/Supplemental Essays, ACT Assessment College Reports, College Board Reports (Including SAT and AP results) and high school transcripts.
Duplication of Student Academic Record: Students may request to have copied any part of their academic record with the exception of the following:
- High School, College, or University Transcripts.
- College Board Reports (Including SAT and AP results)
- ACT College Reports
Right of College to Refuse Access
Occidental College reserves the right to refuse to permit a student to inspect the following records:
- The financial statement of the student's parents.
- Letters and statements of recommendation for which the student has waived his or her right of access, or which were maintained before January 1, 1975.
- Records connected with an application to attend Occidental College.
- Those records that are excluded from the FERPA definitions of education records.
Refusal to Provide Copies
Occidental College reserves the right to deny transcripts or copies of records not required to be made available by the FERPA in any of the following situations:
- The student has an unpaid financial obligation to the College.
- There is an unresolved disciplinary action against the student.
Exceptions to FERPA Non disclosure Provisions:
A. The Patriot Act
Recent amendments to FERPA permit educational agencies and institutions to disclose- without the consent or knowledge of the student or parent - personally identifiable information from the student's education records to the Attorney General of the United States or to his designee in response to an ex parte order in connection with the investigation or prosecution of terrorism crimes specified in sections 2332b(g)(5)(B) and 2331 of title 18, U.S. Code. (An ex parte order is an order issued by a court of competent jurisdiction without notice to an adverse party.)
In addition to allowing disclosure without prior written consent or prior notification, this provision amends FERPA's record keeping requirements. As a result, FERPA, as amended, does not require a school official to record a disclosure of information from a student's education record when the school makes that disclosure pursuant to an ex parte order. Further, an educational agency or institution that, in good faith, produces information from education records in compliance with an ex parte order issued under the amendment "shall not be liable to any person for that production."
B. Lawfully Issued Subpoenas and Court Orders
FERPA permits educational agencies and institutions to disclose, without consent, information from a student's education records in order to comply with a "lawfully issued subpoena or court order" in three contexts. These three contexts are:
- Grand Jury Subpoenas - Educational agencies and institutions may disclose education records to the entity or persons designated in a Federal grand jury subpoena. In addition, the court may order the institution not to disclose to anyone the existence or contents of the subpoena or the institution's response.
- Law Enforcement Subpoenas - Educational agencies and institutions may disclose education records to the entity or persons designated in any other subpoena issued for a law enforcement purpose. As with Federal grand jury subpoenas, the issuing court or agency may, for good cause shown, order the institution not to disclose to anyone the existence or contents of the subpoena or the institution's response.
- All Other Subpoenas - In contrast to the exception to the notification and record keeping requirements described above, educational agencies or institutions may disclose information pursuant to any other court order or lawfully issued subpoena only if the school makes a reasonable effort to notify the parent or eligible student of the order or subpoena in advance of compliance, so that the parent or eligible student may seek protective action. Additionally, schools must comply with FERPA's record keeping when disclosing information pursuant to a standard court order or subpoena.
C. Health or Safety Emergency
FERPA permits non-consensual disclosure of education records, or personally identifiable, non directory information from education records, in connection with a health or safety emergency if knowledge of the information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals. Any release will be narrowly tailored considering the immediacy, magnitude, and specificity of information concerning the emergency.
D. Law Enforcement Unit Records
The College may disclose information from "law enforcement unit records" to anyone - including federal, State, or local law enforcement authorities - without the consent of the parent or eligible student. FERPA specifically exempts from the definition of "education records" - and thereby from the privacy restrictions of FERPA - records that a law enforcement unit of a school district or postsecondary institution creates and maintains for a law enforcement purpose. A "law enforcement unit" is an individual, office, department, division, or other component of a postsecondary institution that is officially authorized or designated by the institution to: (1) enforce any federal, State, or local law; or (2) maintain the physical security and safety of the school.
E. Disclosures to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS)
The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) requires foreign students attending an educational institution under an F-1 visa to sign the Form I-20. The Form I-20 contains a consent provision allowing for the disclosure of information to INS. This consent is sufficiently broad to permit an educational institution to release personally identifiable information of a student who has signed a Form I-20 to the INS for the purpose of allowing the INS to determine the student's nonimmigrant status. Students that have an M-1 or J-1 visa have signed similar consents and education records on these students may also be disclosed to the INS.
Students are required to give advance notice in writing of at least 48 hours to the appropriate office to view their education record. Opportunities to view this information are limited to the regular office hours and are under the supervision of office staff. The file containing the Student Education Record may not be removed from the office.
Occidental College will disclose information from a student's education records only with the written consent of the student, except:
- To school officials who have a legitimate educational interest in the records. A school official is:
a. A person employed by Occidental College in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position, including health or medical staff as well as coaches and other athletic personnel.
b. A person employed by or under contract to the College to perform a special task, such as an attorney, auditor, or consultant.
c. A person who is employed by Occidental College's Campus Safety Office.
d. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official is:
i. Performing a task that is specified in his or her position description or contract agreement.
ii. Performing a task related to the discipline of a student.
- To certain officials of the U.S. Department of Education, the Comptroller General, and state and local education 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 condition 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 state law that was adopted before November 19, 1974.
- To organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the College or contracting with Occidental to perform a service otherwise performed by the College.
- 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 judicial order of a lawfully issued subpoena.
- To appropriate parties in a health or safety emergency.
- To individuals requesting directory information so designated by the College.
- The results of any disciplinary proceeding conducted by the College against alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence to the alleged victim of that crime.
Record of Request for Disclosure
Occidental College will maintain a record of all requests for, and/or disclosure of, information from a student's education records except for requests from the student him or herself, a school official as defined, a party with a written request from the student or a party requesting the directory information. The record will indicate the name of the party making the request, any additional party to whom it may be disclosed, and the legitimate interest the party had in requesting or obtaining the information.
Occidental College designates the following items as Directory Information: student's name, parents' names, permanent and campus address, telephone number(s), 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 at the College, previous residences while at the College, campus post office box number, e-mail address, jobs held on campus, dates worked on campus, salary paid while holding a campus job, student photograph and videos, degrees and awards received and full-time/part-time status.
The College may disclose any of these items without prior written consent, unless notified in writing to the contrary (to the Dean of Students Office) by the end of the second week of classes of the Fall semester.
Drug and Alcohol Violations
Nothing in this Policy prohibits the College from disclosing, to a parent or legal guardian of a student, information regarding any violation of any Federal, State, or local law, or of any rule or policy of the institution, governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance, regardless of whether that information is contained in the student's education records, if (1) the student is under age 21 and (2) the College determines that the student has committed a disciplinary violation with respect to such use or possession.
Correction of Education Records
Students have a right to request that their records be corrected if they believe they are inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of their privacy rights. Following is the procedure for correcting education records:
- A student must direct a written request to the appropriate College official to amend a record. In so doing, the student should identify the part of the record she or he wants amended and specify why she/he believes it is inaccurate, misleading or in violation of her or his privacy rights.
- The College may comply with the request or it may decide not to comply. If it decides not to comply, the College will notify the student of the decision and advise her/him of her/his right to a hearing to challenge the information believed to be inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the student's privacy.
- A Hearing Officer who is a disinterested party will conduct the hearing; however, the hearing officer may be an official of the institution. The student shall be afforded a full and fair opportunity to present evidence relevant to the issues raised in the original request to amend the student's education records. One or more individuals, including an attorney, may assist the student.
- The College will prepare a written decision based solely on the evidence presented at the hearing. The decision will include a summary of the evidence presented and reasons for the decision.
- If the College decides that the challenged 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.
- If the College 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 she or he 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.
- The statement will be maintained as part of the student's education records as long as the contested portion is maintained. If Occidental College discloses the contested portion of the record, it must also disclose the statement.
FERPA Annual Notice to Reflect Possible Federal and State Data Collection and Use
As of January 3, 2012, the U.S. Department of Education's FERPA regulations expand the circumstances under which students' education records and personally identifiable information (PII) contained in such records — including students' Social Security Number, grades, or other private information — may be accessed without students' consent. First, the U.S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or state and local education authorities ("Federal and State Authorities") may allow access to student records and PII without their consent 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. Second, Federal and State Authorities may allow access to students' education records and PII without their consent to researchers performing certain types of studies, in certain cases even when Authorities object to or do not request such research. Federal and State Authorities must obtain certain use-restriction and data security promises from the entities that they authorize to receive students' PII, but the Authorities need not maintain direct control over such entities. In addition, in connection with Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems, State Authorities may collect, compile, permanently retain, and share without students' consent PII from students' education records, and they may track students' participation in education and other programs by linking such PII to other personal information about students that they obtain from other Federal or State data sources, including workforce development, unemployment insurance, child welfare, juvenile justice, military service, and migrant student records systems.
FERPA Types, Locations, and Custodians of Education Records
Types Location Custodian
Admissions Records Registrar's Office Registrar
Arthur G. Coons Administrative Center 106
1600 Campus Los Angeles, CA 90041-3314
Cumulative Academic (same as above) Records
Health/Counseling Emmons Health Center Director, Student
Records 1600 Campus Road Health Services
Los Angeles, CA
Financial Records Financial Aid Office Director, Financial
Arthur G. Coons Administrative Center 119
1600 Campus Road
Los Angeles, CA
Disciplinary Records Dean of Students Office Assistant Director of
Arthur G. Coons Administrative Center 111
1600 Campus Road
Los Angeles, CA
A student has the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Occidental College to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address for the office that administers FERPA is:
Family Policy Compliance Office U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW Washington, D.C. 20202-920
Last updated June 11, 2013
- Phone: (323) 259-2969