FERPA: Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
A student and faculty online training tool (and quiz) are available at the bottom of this page.
Student Privacy and Directory Information
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 protects the privacy of a student's educational records- as print or electronic documents- by placing limits on who may have access to the records, what information may be shared or disclosed, and how that information may be used. Santa Monica College complies with FERPA and has strict policies and procedures in place governing student records.
Students who do not wish to have their directory information disclosed may select that a CONFIDENTIALITY HOLD be placed on their records. Students may do this themselves at any time by going to Corsair Connect (on the Admissions webpage) and then responding to confidentiality related questions found on their Student Profile link. Under FERPA, students have the right to inspect and review their own student records. All requests must be made in writing and filed with the Admissions office.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why can't you tell me information about my son/daughter?
The College is bound by FERPA to protect student information unless we are given written consent in person, by the student to do otherwise.
Does a parent have the right to meet with an instructor, counselor, or other staff member to discuss a student's education/education records/progress, etc.?
No. FERPA only provides a right to secure a copy of student records and it does not provide a right to an interactive conference with an instructor, counselor, or other staff member. At the College level, all staff typically deal directly with students without parental involvement.
Student Privacy Rights
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. These rights include:
The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days of the day the College receives a request for access. California law requires that records be provided within 15 working days.
A student should submit to the Dean of Enrollment Services or other appropriate official, a written request that identifies the record(s) the student wishes to inspect. The College official 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 College official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA.
A student who wishes to ask the College to amend a record should write the College official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record the student wants changed, and specify why it should be changed. If the College decides not to amend the record as requested, the College will notify the student in writing of the decision and the student’s right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
The right to provide written consent before the College discloses personally identifiable information from the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
The College discloses education records without a student’s prior written consent under the FERPA exception for disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the College 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 College has contracted as its agent to provide a service instead of using College employees or officials (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); 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 for College.
Upon request, the College also discloses education records without consent to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
FERPA requires that College with certain exceptions, obtain your written consent prior to the disclosure of personally identifiable information from your education records. However, College may disclose appropriately designated “directory information” without written consent, unless you have advised the College to the contrary in accordance with College procedures. The primary purpose of directory information is to allow the College to include this type of information from your education records in certain school publications. Examples include:
A playbill, showing your role in a drama production;
Honor roll or other recognition lists;
Graduation programs; and
Sports activity sheets, such as for wrestling, showing weight and height of team members.
Directory information, which is information that is generally not considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if released, can also be disclosed to outside organizations without your prior written consent. Outside organizations include, but are not limited to, companies that manufacture class rings or publish yearbooks. In addition, federal law requires the College to provide military recruiters, upon request, with certain directory information.
If you do not want College to disclose directory information from your education records without your prior written consent, you should file a written request with the Admissions Office.
The College has designated the following information as directory information: student name; city of residence; age; major field of study; participation in officially recognized activities and sports; weight and height of members of athletic teams; dates of attendance; student photograph; degrees and awards received and most recent previous school attended.
The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the College to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA is:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-5901
For a full explanation of FERPA and its implications for college students, please contact the Admissions Office or see the College's Administrative Regulation 4135.
FERPA Online Training & Quiz
(Students who would like to work on campus must complete this online training.)
Letters of Recommendation
Students must fill out the attached request, sign and submit it to the faculty member to be in full compliance with FERPA.
Letter of Recommendation/Reference Authorization Form