Family Education Rights and Privacy Act


Thank you to the University of Southern California for allowing us to adapt their FERPA Web site to our institutional policies.

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

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 is a federal law protecting the privacy of education records of students. Any educational institution that receives funds under any program administered by the U.S. Secretary of Education is bound by FERPA requirements. Institutions that fail to comply with FERPA may have federal funds withheld.

What are education records?

Education records, according to FERPA, are defined as student records maintained by an education agency or institution or by a party acting for the agency or institution.

Educational records DO NOT include:

  • Instructor notes or other personal memory aids;
  • Medical records that are used only in connection with treatment of students;
  • Employment records when employment is not contingent on being a student;
  • Records created and maintained by campus police and used only for law enforcement purposes;
  • Post-attendance records that do not relate to the person as a student.

What is directory or public information?

FERPA allows institutions to identify certain types of information called "directory information" that may be disclosed without student consent at the College's discretion. Saddleback College has designated the following information as directory information and will release this information upon request:

  • Terms for which a student is enrolled
  • The Enrollment status (full time, part time, as defined by financial aid regulations),
  • Declared Major,
  • Participation in officially recognized activities and sports including weight, height, and high school of graduation of athletic team members,
  • Degrees and awards received including honors, scholarship awards, athletic awards and Dean's List recognition.

Restricting release of directory information

According to FERPA, a student can request that the institution not release any directory information about him/her. Saddleback College students initially give or withhold consent via the Admissions Application. Students may change their decision by filing a General Petition with the Admissions Office. Request for non-disclosure will be honored by the college until removed by the student.

Who has access to non-directory information?

With several exceptions provided by FERPA, Saddleback College cannot release personally identifiable non-directory information in an education record without prior written consent from the student unless it is to state, local, and federal government authorities who need the information in performance of their duties.
Some examples of non-directory information include:

  • birth date
  • citizenship
  • ethnicity
  • gender
  • grade point average (GPA)
  • marital status
  • SSN/student I.D.

The student's prior written consent is not required to disclose non-directory information under the following circumstances:

  • Access by parents of a student who is under 18 years of age as defined in Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. Parents must present evidence to the Admissions office that they claim the student as a dependent.
  • Access by school officials who the institution has determined to have a legitimate educational interest or access by school officials at other schools where the student seeks to enroll.
  • Access for the purpose of awarding financial aid. Personally identifiable information may be required to determine eligibility for aid, the amount of the aid, the conditions for the aid, or to enforce the terms or conditions of the aid.
  • Access for the purpose of responding to a subpoena or an ex parte order.

Saddleback College's annual notification to students

Consistent with its obligations under FERPA, Saddleback College annually notifies students of the rights accorded them by FERPA. Students shall be advised of their rights regarding education records on the Saddleback College catalog.  The catalog is available on the Saddleback College website.

Comments/Questions

General questions and comments may be directed to:

The Admissions and Records Office (949-552-4555) at:
28000 Marguerite Parkway 
Mission Viejo, CA 92692 

Filing a complaint

If a student feels that the institution has violated his or her privacy rights under FERPA, a written complaint may be filed with the Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Ave. SW, Washington, DC 20202-4605. The Family Policy Compliance Office investigates each timely complaint to determine whether the educational institution has failed to comply with the provisions of FERPA. A timely complaint is defined as an allegation that is submitted within 180 days of the date of the alleged violation or of the date that the complainant knew or reasonably should have known of the alleged violation.

General Institution and District FERPA information resources:

Privacy of Student Records - Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

South Orange County Community College District FERPA Board Policy: BP-5615

South Orange County Community College District FERPA Administrative Regulation: AR-5615