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FERPA for Faculty

FERPA for Faculty, Teaching Assistants, and Readers

What are the responsibilities regarding student records?
All university employees (including student employees) who have direct or indirect contact with students and education records are required by law to maintain the confidentiality of these records. Employees are required to complete the online FERPA Training before they can access student records.  

Take the online FERPA Training

What are education records?
An education record is any record directly related to a student that is maintained by an educational agency or institution, or by a party acting for the agency or institution. The release of any non-directory information about a student to any person outside the University community, with the exception of those specifically exempted by Part 99 of Title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations, or to any University personnel without a legitimate educational interest violates the federal law as well as UC and UC Santa Barbara regulations.
Education records do not include:
•    Sole possession records that are used only as memory aids and not shared with others
•    Law enforcement unit records
•    Employment records, unless the employment is dependent on the employee’s status as a student (such as graduate assistants)
•    Medical records
•    Records that only contain information about an individual after he or she is no longer a student at that agency or institution

At UC Santa Barbara, the following offices have been designated as custodians of specific education records.  

 Academic records
 Office of the Registrar
 University Registrar
 Academic advising records
 Colleges and major departments
 College Deans and academic department Chairs
 Financial Aid records
 Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships
 Financial Aid Director
 Financial records
 Billing/Accounts Receivable (BARC) Office
 BARC Manager

What Is Directory Information?
FERPA has specifically identified certain information called directory information that may be disclosed without student consent. Directory information is the information available about a student that is not considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. While FERPA and UC policy protect the privacy of educational records, directory information is not treated as confidential and may be released without prior consent unless the student has submitted a request to restrict the release.

UC Santa Barbara has designated the following information as directory information:
•    Student’s name
•    Email Address
•    Telephone number (local)
•    Major field of study
•    Class level
•    Date of birth (month and day only)
•    Dates of attendance
•    Last school attended
•    Number of course units in which enrolled
•    Degrees and honors awarded
•    Participation in officially recognized organizations
•    Name, weight, and height of participants on intercollegiate athletic teams

All other information in a student record that is not listed as UCSB Directory Information is considered confidential information and may not be released without the student’s prior written consent.

Can Directory Information be restricted?

According to FERPA, a student can request, while still enrolled, that the institution not release any directory information about him/her. University employees must comply with this request and may not release any information without first consulting with the Office of the Registrar.

What can be disclosed without a student’s consent?
In certain instances, the law does not require the University to obtain student consent before disclosing information from an academic record. The most common examples of disclosure that do not require a student's consent include:
•    Disclosures to school officials with a legitimate educational interest
•    Disclosures to other institutions where student is seeking to enroll
•    Disclosures in connection with the receipt of financial aid (validating eligibility)
•    Disclosures to UC Office of the President (UCOP) or to state/local officials in conjunction with legislative requirements
•    Disclosures to organizations under university contract, or to accrediting organizations
•    Disclosures to parents of dependent students who have had drug and alcohol violations
•    Disclosures in compliance with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena or court order
•    Disclosures for a health/safety emergency
•    Disclosures of information from disciplinary proceedings to the alleged victims of violent crimes or sexual offenses
•    Disclosures of name, sanction and outcome of disciplinary proceedings (public information), when a student has been found in violation of a crime of violence

What Is Personally Identifiable Information?
According to FERPA, personally identifiable information in an education record may not be released without prior written consent from the student. Personally identifiable information is any information — directory and non-directory information — that can easily be traced to the student or distinguishes the student’s identity.
Some examples of information that may not be released without prior written consent of the student are:
•    date of birth
•    citizenship
•    disciplinary status
•    ethnicity
•    gender
•    grade point average (GPA)
•    marital status
•    SSN/student I.D.
•    grades/exam scores
•    test scores (e.g., SAT, GRE, etc.)
•    progress reports (degree audit)

Are electronic records and data protected by FERPA?
FERPA protects the privacy of all educational records, regardless of the medium in which those records are maintained.

The increasing use of computerized record-keeping systems, and the resulting replacement of paper documents with electronic data, is likely to increase the volume of electronic educational records. Therefore, it is important to remember that the same principles of confidentiality apply to paper records and to electronic data.

What are the consequences for violating FERPA?
Under federal law, FERPA violations may result in the loss of federal funding for UC Santa Barbara. Any breach of confidentiality could lead to disciplinary action, including the possibility of termination of employment.

Additional FERPA resources can be found at:

•    Privacy Of Student Records: Essential Information For Faculty, Teaching Assistants & Readers
•    UCSB’s Student Education Records – Disclosure of Information Policy
•    University of California FERPA Policy
•    U. S. Department of Education - Family Compliance Office

Who to contact with questions/concerns
Questions or comments may be directed to the Office of the Registrar, 1101 SAASB, RegVIP@sa.ucsb.edu.

Please note: These pages have been developed by the Office of the Registrar to provide general information about the law and procedures related to accessing confidential student information and to provide guidance on commonly asked questions or situations faced by faculty, staff, students and parents. These pages are for information purposes only; this information is not university policy nor is it intended as legal advice.

Additional Information
FERPA for Students
FERPA for Parents
FERPA for Staff
FERPA Training