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Privacy/FERPA

Student Records Policy

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, better known as the Buckley Amendment or FERPA, generally provides that: students shall have the right of access to their educational records, and with limited exceptions, educational institutions shall not release educational records to third parties without consent of the student unless specifically permitted by law.

Except in certain narrowly defined circumstances, “students” as used in this notice includes former students.

“Education records” as used in this notice are records that are directly related to “students” and maintained by the university. “Education records” do not include peer-graded papers before they are maintained by the university (i.e., collected and recorded by a teacher).

Right of Access

With a few exceptions provided by law, students at Azusa Pacific University may see any of their educational records upon request. In general, access will be granted immediately upon request to the record custodian, but if a delay is necessary, access must be granted no later than 45 days after the request.

A student also has the right, under established procedures, to insert a statement in the file if he or she believes that the record is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of his or her privacy rights.

Students may waive their right of access to recommendations and evaluations in the cases of admissions, application for employment, and nomination for awards. Azusa Pacific University may not require students to sign a waiver of their right of access to these records, but students should be aware that recommendations and evaluations may not be helpful or candid without a signed waiver.

Disclosure of Student Records

With certain exceptions provided by law, Azusa Pacific University cannot release information concerning students, other than directory information, from their education records to anyone other than university officials without the written consent of the student. Students and alumni applying for jobs, credit, graduate school, etc., can expedite their applications by providing the university with written permission to release specific records and to which parties the releases should be made.

The student’s written consent is not required for the disclosure of grades, disciplinary action, or other information to parents of students who are dependents for federal income tax purposes. Unless a student has submitted credible evidence of nondependency, parents requesting information may generally be grated access upon submission to the university of an affidavit or other evidence of federal income dependency, such as a recent federal income tax return.

In addition, the university may disclose to the parents of a student the student’s violation of any federal, state, or local law or any rule adopted by APU governing the possession or use of alcohol or a controlled substance if the student is under age 21.

Further, the university may disclose information from the education records of a student to his or her parents in connection with an emergency if knowledge of the information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals.

If the university determines that there is an articulable and significant threat to the health or safety of the student or other individuals, the university may disclose information from the student’s education records to appropriate parties (including parents of the student) whose knowledge of the information is necessary to protect the health and safety of the student or other individuals. The university must keep a record of the threat and the parties to whom the information was disclosed.

Further, the university may disclose information received under a community notification program about a student who is required to register as a sex offender.

Directory Information

Azusa Pacific University has designated the following categories as directory information, which may, at the university’s discretion, be released to the public without consent of the student: student’s name and maiden name, address, email address, telephone number, fax number, date and place of birth, major field of study and courses taken, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height (of members of athletic teams), dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, all previous educational agencies or institutions attended, current class schedule, employer, church membership, photographs, and parents’ names, addresses, and telephone listings.

The university will not, however, disclose or confirm directory information to the public without written consent of the student if a student’s social security number or other non-directory information is used alone or combined with other data elements to identify or help identify the student or the student’s records.

It is the general policy of the university not to release directory information regarding its students unless, in the judgment of the appropriate record custodian or other officials with record access, such release either serves a legitimate educational purpose or is not adverse to the interests and privacy of the student. However, the student may request that certain categories of directory information not be released to the public without his/her written consent. Such requests should be submitted in accordance with the student records policy of the university.

Notification of Rights Under FERPA

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. These rights include:

1. The right to inspect and review his or her own education records within 45 days of the day the university receives a request for access.

Students should submit to the registrar, dean, head of the academic department, or other appropriate official written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The university 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 university official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.

Students may waive their right of access to recommendations and evaluations in the cases of admissions, application for employment, and nomination for awards. The university may not require students to sign a waiver of their right of access to these records, but students should be aware that recommendations and evaluations may not be very helpful or candid without a signed waiver.

2. The right to request the amendment of his or her education records that he or she believes are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of his or her privacy rights under FERPA.

Students should write the university official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it should be changed. If the university decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the university will notify the student in writing of the decision and advise the student of his or her 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.

3. The right to provide written consent before the university discloses personally identifiable information contained in his or her education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.

One exception which permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A “school official” is

  1. a person employed by the university in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position (including law enforcement personnel and health staff),
  2. a person or company with whom the university has contracted as its agent to provide a service instead of using university employees or officials (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent),
  3. a person serving on the Board of Trustees, or
  4. a student serving on an official commitment, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his/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 responsibility whenever he or she is:

  1. performing a task that is specified in his or her job description or contract agreement,
  2. performing a task related to a student’s education,
  3. performing a task related to the discipline of a student,
  4. providing a service or benefit relating to the student or student’s family, such as health care, counseling, job placement, or financial aid, or
  5. disclosing information in response to a judicial order or legally issued subpoena.

Another exception is that the university discloses education records without consent to officials of another school in which a student seeks enrollment or intends to enroll, upon request of officials of that other school.

4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the university 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 20202-4605

This notice is not intended to fully explain students’ rights under FERPA. The Graduate and Professional Center Registrar maintains copies of the official Azusa Pacific University Student Records Policy, which contains detailed information and procedures with regard to these rights. Students may obtain a copy of the written policy upon request to the Graduate and Professional Center Registrar, Azusa Pacific University, PO Box 7000, Azusa, California 91702-7000.