Student Privacy / FERPA

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

Also known as the "Buckley Amendment," FERPA is a federal law enacted in 1974 which affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. Specifically, it affords students the right to: (1) inspect and review their education records, (2) request the amendment of inaccurate or misleading records, (3) consent to disclosure of personally identifiable information contained in their education record and (4) file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by California Northstate University to comply with this law. California Northstate University strives to fully comply with this law by protecting the privacy of student records and judiciously evaluating requests for release of information from those records. FERPA authorizes the release of "Directory Information" without the student's prior consent under certain conditions which are set forth in the Act. California Northstate University has defined its "Directory Information" in accordance with the law.

What are education records?

Education records are records that are directly related to a student and maintained by an educational agency or institution or by a part acting for the agency or institution. FERPA applies to all educational records which are maintained by CNU or by a party acting for CNU and directly related to a student.

Whose does FERPA apply to?

FERPA applies to the education records of persons who are or have been in attendance.

What is personally identifiable information?

Personally identifiable information includes but is not limited to: the student's name; the name of the student's parent or other family member; the address of the student or student's family; a personal identifier, such as the student's social security number or student number; a list of personal characteristics that would make the student's identity easily traceable; or other information that would make the student's identity easily traceable.

What is directory information?

Directory Information is information contained in an education record of a student which would not generally be considered harmful or invasion of privacy if disclosed. California Northstate University includes the following as directory information:

  • Student’s name
  • E-mail address
  • Address
  • Telephone listing
  • Photo
  • Major field of study
  • Classification (Class of/Graduate)
  • Enrollment status
  • Dates of attendance
  • Club and/or organization memberships
  • Degrees, honors and awards received
  • The most recent educational agency or institution attended

Note: Directory information is information that the university may disclose. The university does not disclose social security numbers, student or personal identification numbers, grades, grade point averages, class schedules, academic actions nor the number of credits enrolled in or earned unless the student has signed a consent form.

Can students control disclosure of “Directory Information?”

Yes, students are notified of their right to control the disclosure of “Directory Information”. They are required to complete a “Request to Opt Out of Directory Information” form and submit the form in person at the Registrar’s Office. The student must provide a photo id. If the student elects to opt out of directory information, no information will be disclosed on the student, nor will verification of enrollment be given out.

How can parents access their child’s academic records?

Under FERPA, when a student reaches 18 years of age or enrolls at a post-secondary institution, the rights afforded to the parents of a student automatically transfer to the student. However, you still may have access to the academic record if:

  • the information requested is directory information and the student has not elected for total non-disclosure.
  • you can demonstrate that the student is a dependent, as defined by the IRS.
  • the student has indicated your name in a signed Authorization to Release Records – FERPA form.

FERPA for Faculty and Staff

What Faculty & Staff Need to Know

FERPA related forms

Annual Confidentiality of Student Education Records Notice

Authorization to Release Student Records

Directory Opt-Out

Request to Inspect and Review Education Records