Student Affairs staff who are responsible for student records, or who have OASIS access, are required to take the FERPA quiz to receive or continue access to student records.
The FERPA tutorial and quiz are designed to inform staff of their responsibility to respect the confidentiality of student and department records, to protect student privacy, and to act in a professional manner when interacting with the public in person and over the telephone.
Campus personnel with access to student records data in any location or format (SRS, SAWeb, SRDB, Enterprise Directory, etc.) are required to complete the FERPA Quiz before gaining access to student data, and to take the quiz every two years to continue access.
The FERPA tutorial may be studied at any time. To receive confirmation of completion, staff must use their UCLA Logon ID and have an e-mail address recorded in the Campus Directory.
Staff found acting indiscreetly with confidential material, or not protecting the privacy of a student, may be disciplined or dismissed. These actions are necessary to maintain high professional standards and the integrity of the University, and to ensure compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA).
1. Who is a student?
Under UCLA Policy 220, a student is “an individual who on the first day of the term of his/her respective academic calendar has paid registration fees and has not had his/her admission cancelled.”
2. What rights do students have under FERPA?
Students have three primary rights under FERPA:
- The right to inspect and review education records within 45 days of the day the institution receives a request for access
- The right to seek an amendment to their education records if students believe them to be inaccurate or misleading
- The right to have some control over the disclosure of information from those educational records
The release or disclosure for student information generally requires the signed written consent of the student (or the student’s consent through MyUCLA). However, FERPA specifies that education official and agents of the institution with a legitimate need to know may have access to education records.
3. What are student or education records?
Any record that directly identifies a UCLA student and is maintained by a UCLA department or a party acting for UCLA is considered an education record.
A record is any information or data recorded in any medium including, but not limited to, handwriting, print, tapes, film, microfilm, microfiche, and any electronic storage or retrieval media.
Student records include, but are not limited to, academic evaluations, including student examination papers, transcripts, test scores, and other academic records; general counseling and advising records; disciplinary records; and financial aid records, including student loan collection records.
4. What is considered personally identifiable, public information at UCLA?
Personally identifiable public information is information contained in a student’s record that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. UCLA designates the following categories as public information that may be disclosed without prior student consent unless a student notifies the Registrar’s Office in writing or through MyUCLA:
- E-mail address
- Telephone numbers
- Dates of attendance
- Enrollment status
- Major field of study and minors, concentrations, specializations
- Degrees or honors received
- Most recent previous educational institution attended
- Participation in officially recognized activities
- Name, weight, and height of intercollegiate athletes
In addition to the student public information described above, information related to a student’s sex, marital status, and the name(s), address(es), and telephone number(s) of parents or next of kin are made available to the UCLA External Affairs Department for use in alumni, development, and public relations activities.
5. What cannot be included in public information?
Public information cannot include race, gender, Social Security number, grades, GPA, country of citizenship, or religion.
6. How can students restrict the release of personally identifiable, public information?
Students can restrict the release of certain items or all of their personally identifiable or public information. Two of the options can be made using MyUCLA, while the third option (“full FERPA”) can only be made in person at the Registrar’s Office.
- In MyUCLA, students can individually opt to release or not release their telephone number and official e-mail address.
- In MyUCLA, the privacy option for all other categories considered public information (name, major, dates of attendance, units enrolled, degrees and awards received) are released or not released as a group.
- The FERPA restriction option (also known as “full FERPA”) is the strictest of all privacy restrictions and overrides all other privacy options. It can only be placed or removed in person, at the Registrar’s Office, 1113 Murphy Hall. No information about a student with a FERPA restriction can be released and no information can appear in the UCLA Online Campus Directory or in Commencement publications.
Students can also use MyUCLA to restrict receiving ethnic-based mailings, which are generally used for providing information about graduate school recruitment or other opportunities.
7. As a staff member, how will I know if a student has a FERPA restriction on the student record, and how should I reply to requests?
Depending on the type of restriction and the OASIS screen a staff member is viewing, different messages and warnings are displayed.
- If a student used MyUCLA to restrict telephone or e-mail address information, staff see a DO NOT RELEASE warning next to the appropriate field(s) on both the SAD and SAS screens in OASIS.
- If a student used MyUCLA to restrict, as a group, other items of public information, staff see PUB INFO RESTRICTION in the upper right-hand side of the shared screens (SAS, SAD, 048, etc.).
- In the Dir: field on Student Record System (SRS) screens, N FERPA is displayed. The "N" value indicates not to release public information. When staff access a record in OASIS with this restriction, they see THE INFORMATION ON THIS PERSON IS NOT AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC. This is what staff should say to the person inquiring about the student.
- Note that these privacy flags do not display on the BAR, FAM, or ADM screens, so it is important that staff check one of the SRS screens before speaking with a student.
- When staff access a record in OASIS with a full FERPA restriction, they see a WARNING - FERPA RESTRICTION message. Depending on the level of access granted, staff may or may not be able to continue viewing the student’s record.
If an inquiry is received about a student who selected this privacy option, staff must state “We have no information available on this person.” Staff may not make any statement implying that the person is a student.
8. What are the exceptions to FERPA?
Personally identifiable information from student records may not be disclosed to third parties without prior written consent (or, in some cases, consent through MyUCLA). However, there are certain exceptions. Personally identifiable information may be disclosed to campus officials who have been determined to have a legitimate educational interest in the records. Such determination is made by the head administrator of the unit retaining the information.
For more information on FERPA exceptions, see UCLA Policy 220.
9. What information can be disclosed in connection to financial aid?
Personally identifiable information can be disclosed only in connection with financial aid for which a student has applied or that a student has received, only as may be necessary to:
- Determine the eligibility of the student for financial aid
- Determine the amount of financial aid
- Determine the conditions that will be imposed regarding the financial aid
- Enforce the terms of conditions of financial aid
Such information shall be disclosed to donors only if the conditions of the gift or award expressly require that the information be disclosed.
10. What rights do parents have to access their children’s student records?
Nonrestricted public information can be released. Other information can be released to parents:
- When the student has violated a law or the school’s rules or policies governing alcohol or substance abuse, if the student is under 21 years old
- When the information is needed to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals in an emergency
Students can use MyUCLA to establish third-party (e.g., parent) access so that the third party can view selected items of the student’s records such as grades and billing information.
11. What rights do students have to inspect their records?
Students have the right to inspect and review records pertaining to themselves in their capacity as students, except as the right may be waived or qualified under federal and state laws and University policies. Students also have the right to inspect records maintained by UCLA of disclosures of personally identifiable information from their student records.
Such records may be maintained in a variety of offices, including the Registrar’s Office, Office of the Dean of Students, UCLA Career Center, Graduate Division, and the offices of a student’s College or school and major department. Students are referred to the online UCLA Campus Directory, which lists all the offices that may maintain student records together with their campus addresses and telephone numbers.
12. How can students correct errors in their records?
If students believe information contained in their student records is inaccurate or misleading, or otherwise in violation of their right of privacy (as set forth in UCLA Policy 220), they may request of the campus official responsible for maintaining the records that their records be corrected. If their request is granted, the records shall be corrected within a reasonable period of time following receipt of the request. If their request is denied, students shall be informed of the refusal and advised of their right to a hearing (see UCLA Policy 220.1).