The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, (FERPA) prohibits a school from disclosing personally identifiable information from students’ education records without the consent of a parent or eligible student, unless an exception to FERPA’s general consent rule applies. In some emergency situations, schools may only need to disclose properly designated “directory information” on students that provide general contact information. In other scenarios, school officials may believe that a health or safety emergency exists and more specific information on students should be disclosed to appropriate parties. Understanding the options available under FERPA empowers school officials to act quickly and decisively when concerns arise. FERPA is not intended to be an obstacle in addressing emergencies and protecting the safety of students.

Privacy Rights and Responsibilities

In compliance with the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) and the California Public Information Act, students at KGI are assigned the following four rights in regard to maintained education records:

  • Students have the right to inspect and review education records. Education records are defined as records in any format that directly identify the student and are maintained by the various offices of KGI. Some records may be administered by additional privacy laws and regulations that supersede FERPA, and, therefore, may not be available under this policy. Requests for the inspection and review of education records must be submitted directly to the custodian of the record, following policy and procedure of the office in whose custody the record is maintained.
  • Students have the right to seek to amend education records. In compliance with KGI’s policy, individual offices have established procedures for challenging the content of education records. Students may also submit a written request for review of a particular education record to the appropriate office. Under FERPA, grades are exempted from this provision. Students with concerns about individual grades should contact the VP of Academic Affairs.
  • Students have the right to have some control over the disclosure of information from education records. Students may request that KGI restrict the release of directory information by submitting a written request to the Registrar’s Office. Such restrictions remain in effect until cancelled in writing by the student. Students may declare themselves to be tax dependents of their parents and authorize KGI to release non- directory information to parents. Such authorizations remain in effect until cancelled in writing by the student.
  • Students have the right to file a complaint with the Federal Policy Compliance Office, a division of the US Department of Education, for any alleged violation of their rights under FERPA. Complaints must be submitted in writing to:

    Family Policy Compliance Office, US Department of Education
    400 Maryland Avenue SW
    Washington DC 20202-5920

Annual Notice

Keck Graduate Institute will notify all registered students annually of their FERPA rights through the publication of the student handbook which is available online at the KGI website and in this handbook.

In compliance with FERPA, KGI has designated the following items of information as directory information: name and student user name; local and permanent address; local, cellular, and permanent phone number; e-mail address; date and place of birth; major field of study; dates of attendance; enrollment status; degrees and awards received; most recent previous institution attended; photographs; participation in officially recognized activities. Directory information is defined as information that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if released. Unless restricted by the written request of a student, KGI may release directory information without the prior consent of a student. Directory information required for course or classroom participation in courses may not be withheld from faculty and students connected with the particular course. Information that is not directory information is non-directory information and, unless accepted by FERPA, requires the prior written consent of the student for release.

As permitted by FERPA, KGI allows access to student directory and non-directory information by education officials when a legitimate educational interest exists for specific education records. A legitimate educational interest exists when an education official demonstrates a need to know specific information to accomplish instructional, advisory, administrative, research, supervisorial, or other administrative responsibilities assigned by KGI. Education officials may include employees faculty, and staff, designated representatives of KGI, and contracted agents and agencies of KGI. KGI may outsource some operations requiring the disclosure of information from education records. Providers of such services include the National Student Clearinghouse. Education officials, including contracted providers, who receive education records must comply with all FERPA regulations regarding re-disclosure and the privacy of such education records.

Under FERPA, and in compliance with other federal and local regulations, privacy rights in the post-secondary environment are reassigned from parents to students. Nevertheless, FERPA permits institutions to disclose information from education records to parents and to other third-party entities in specific situations and under certain conditions. Among these situations are the following: to schools where the student seeks, intends, or has enrolled; in connection with financial aid; to certain government authorities, including US military recruiters; to certain entities conducting studies or audits on behalf of KGI, by federal, state, or local education authorities, or by professional and other educational organizations; in compliance with court orders and subpoena where health and safety are at risk or in the event of student status changes; when violations to federal, state, or local regulations have occurred and violations to institutional policy have been determined in regard to crimes of violence or non- forcible sex acts and, for students under the age of 21, the use or possession of alcohol or other controlled substances; and per additional contingencies set forth in FERPA.

For further information from the United States Department of Education, please visit their website.

You can find detailed FERPA information here.