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Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. This federal law applies to all schools that receive funding under most programs administered by the Department of Education. The primary rights afforded each student are the right to inspect and review his/her education records, the right to seek to have the records amended, and the right to have some control over the disclosure of information from the records.

The University may not disclose protected or confidential information from a student's education record, with some exceptions, including: Student's Written Consent; Valid Subpoenas; Search Warrants; Ex Parte Order (Patriot Act); or Emergency/Crisis Situation.

 

Education Records

Education Records are defined as those records directly related to a student and maintained by the institution or by a party acting for the institution.

What are NOT education records

  • Employee records (unless employment is contingent upon student status)
  • Private notes
  • Law enforcement records
  • Physician, psychiatrist, psychologist records Alumni records (collected after student leaves)

School Officials

School Officials are those members of the institution who are deemed to have a legitimate educational interest, with access to education records provided on a need-to-know basis. May include:

  • Faculty
  • Administration
  • clerical and professional employees
  • other persons who manage student education record information

“Directory Information” may be disclosed by the university at its discretion. You have a choice of protecting all or part of this data. There are two categories that may be restricted: all “Directory Information” and “Locator Information.”

Directory Information

Directory Information is defined as information which would not generally be considered harmful to the student, or an invasion of privacy, if disclosed. Consistent with federal law, Cal Poly has defined Directory Information as the following:

  • name
  • mailing address
  • preferred telephone listing
  • email address
  • major
  • dates of attendance
  • degrees and awards received
  • photograph
  • weight and height of athletic team members
  • most recent previous educational institution attended
  • participation in officially recognized activities and sports
  • [For student employees in Unit 11, directory information also includes the department employed and the student's status as an academic employee, (Teaching Associate (TA), Graduate Assistant (GA) or Instruction Student Assistant (ISA).] Cal Poly allows students to protect all Directory Information or a subset of this information referred to as Locator Information, which includes: name, mailing address, preferred telephone listing, email address.

All information not listed in Directory Information is considered Non-Directory and must remain confidential, with the above noted exceptions. PROTECTED information includes: Class Rosters, Student/Empl ID's, Student Class Schedules, Grades, GPA, etc.

To protect “locator” or “directory information” as described above, make an update on my.calpoly.edu.

Locator Information

Locator includes: name, mailing address, preferred telephone listing, email address. Cal Poly students are able to protect their Directory Information or a subset of their Directory Information via the my.calpoly.edu Portal.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a “Directory” and “Locator” restriction?

A “Directory Information” restriction blocks Cal Poly from verifying any data without your signature.

A “Locator Information” restriction allows the University to verify your degree and dates of attendance without your signature.

Can I place a privacy restriction on “Directory Information” or “Locator Information?”

Yes, as a result:

You will not be included in the Cal Poly on-line Directory.

You will not receive mailings from clubs and the Alumni Association;

ONLY materials related to your progress to degree will be mailed to you.

What is the default privacy restriction setting at Cal Poly? This should be in the text not a pull down

The default is UNPROTECTED. No Directory Information is protected unless you set a restriction. To change your setting, Go to my.calpoly.edu then click Personal Info tab.

Yes, FERPA includes these exceptions:

  • Health and Safety Emergencies
  • Subpoena, Ex Parte Order, or Search Warrants
  • Another educational institution to which you have enrolled or seek to enroll
  • Parents/guardians will be contacted if you are under 21 and caught using drugs and alcohol.

What happens after I leave Cal Poly?

If you have a privacy restriction on your record when you leave Cal Poly it will stay with your record into the future. IMPORTANT: A “Directory Information” restriction will block Cal Poly from verifying your attendance or degree to prospective employers without your signature.

The student's privacy restriction request is recorded in the university electronic student information system and notifies each user of the requested privacy level whenever the student's identification number is entered. The screen which automatically appears indicates the privacy category the student has selected (locator or all directory information) and reminds the user of the specific elements which are included in each category.

FERPA requires that the University notify students annually of their rights. Each academic year Cal Poly sends out notification to students, providing information on these rights and giving students an easy mechanism to update the privacy restriction flag. This information is also provided to each group of new students prior to their registration.

 

Faculty and Staff Information

  • Faculty and Staff are reminded that the Office of the Registrar is the designated Custodian of Academic Records for the campus, and is responsible for issuing official verifications of academic data. Only the Registrar's Office may issue official transcripts for students; this extends to releasing and/or verifying student academic data that is requested.
  • Faculty and staff of academic departments and colleges may provide letters of reference and recommendations for students. These letters must be based on personal information and knowledge of the student and must not give out academic data including disciplinary actions, and/or academic standing.
  • If a Department/College chooses, it may provide students with the campus Departmental FERPA Release Form (Word); this form allows students to provide permission for the Department/College to discuss specific elements of their academic record and/or performance with their parents/guardian/sponsor.

Official Policies

University Policy on Use and Release of Student Information

The University will release Directory Information (as defined above), when not protected by the student, and disclose other information from a student's education record only with consent, except:

  1. To school officials who have a legitimate educational interest in the records.
    • A school official is:
      • A person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff);
      • A person elected to the Board of Trustees;
      • A person employed by or under contract to the University to perform a special task, such as legal counsel or an auditor.
    • A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official is:
      • Performing a task that is specific in his or her job description or by a contract agreement; or
      • Performing a task related to a student's education; or
      • Performing a task related to the discipline of a student; or
      • Providing a service or benefit relating to the student or student's family, such as health care, counseling, job placement, or financial aid.
  2. To a University auxiliary organization in good standing (Title 5) where services are provided on behalf of the University's educational interest.
  3. To officials of another school, upon request, in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
  4. To certain officials of the U.S. Department of Education, the Comptroller General, and state and local educational authorities, in connection with certain state or federally supported education programs.
  5. In connection with a student's request for or receipt of financial aid, as necessary to determine the eligibility, amount, or conditions of the financial aid, or to enforce the terms and conditions of the aid.
  6. To organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the University.
  7. To accrediting organizations to carry out their functions.
  8. To comply with a judicial order or a lawfully issued subpoena.
  9. To appropriate parties in a health or safety emergency.

FERPA Policies and Procedures

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. They are:

  1. The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 15 days of the day the University receives a request for access.
    • Students should submit to the Registrar written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The Registrar will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the Office of the Registrar, the student shall be advised of the correct office to which the request should be addressed.
    • Copies of academic records are available through the Office of the Registrar at a cost of $1 for up to four pages, then $0.25 for each additional page.
  2. The right to request the amendment of the student's education records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading.
    • Students may ask the University to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. They should write the University official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading.
    • The University will decide within 45 days after the request has been received whether to amend a challenged record. Students will be notified of the decision in writing.
    • If the University decides to amend a challenged record, the information in the record shall be corrected or removed and destroyed.
    • If the campus decides not to amend the challenged record, the student shall be advised in writing of the decision and the right to a formal hearing in accordance with FERPA, Section 99.22.
    • If the student requests a hearing, it shall be in accordance with FERPA, Section 99.22:
      • Hearings shall be conducted within 45 days after the request for the hearing has been received;
      • If, as a result of the hearing, the campus decides to amend the student record, the student shall be informed of the decision in writing;
      • If, as a result of the hearing, the University decides not to amend the student record, the student shall have the right to submit a statement commenting upon the information in the challenged record and/or setting forth any reasons for disagreeing with the decision. This statement shall be maintained as a permanent part of the student's record in accordance with FERPA, Section 99.21, Section 67132 of the Education Code.
  3. The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
    • One exception, which permits disclosure without consent, is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the University has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, National Student Clearinghouse, Cal Poly or collection agency); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities. Upon request, the University discloses education records, without consent, to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll. Other exceptions include: lawfully issued judicial orders, health and safety emergencies, and federal, state, and government agencies as required by law.
  4. The right to file a complaint with the US Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Cal Poly to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA is:

Family Policy Compliance Office
US Department of Education
600 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC  20202-4605

 

* Directory Information includes: name, mailing address, preferred telephone listing, e-mail address, major, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, photograph, weight and height of athletic team members, most recent previous educational institution attended, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, and Unit 11 employment information.

Records Maintained by Cal Poly

 

Types of Student Records Maintained by Cal Poly
Student Records Responsible Office Responsible Officer Location
Admission Application Admissions Assistant VP Adm. 206
Audit Petition Office of the Registrar Registrar Adm. 222
Change of Major Form Office of the Registrar Registrar Adm. 222
Credit-by-exam Petition Office of the Registrar Registrar Adm. 222
Disciplinary Records Student Rights & Responsibilities Coordinator Adm. 217
Financial Aid Records Financial Aid Director Adm. 212
Grade Change Form Office of the Registrar Registrar Adm. 222
Leave of Absence Request Office of the Registrar Registrar Adm. 222
Letters of Disqualification Office of the Registrar Registrar Adm. 222
Medical Documents Disability Resource Center (DRC) Director Stu Ser 119
Medical Records Health Center Director Bldg. 27
Official Cal Poly Transcript Office of the Registrar Registrar Adm. 222
Petition for Special Consideration Office of the Registrar Registrar Adm. 222
Transcripts (other schools) Office of the Registrar Registrar Adm. 222
Withdrawal Petition Office of the Registrar Registrar Adm. 222

* ~ Note ~ Academic Departments may maintain additional documentation

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