C.5 Student Education Records

The University of Southern California maintains the privacy of student education records and allows students the right to inspect their education records consistent with the requirements of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (1974). The following is a summary of rights afforded students regarding their own education records. The entire text of the university’s policy concerning student education records is located in the Office of the General Counsel and in the Office of the Vice Provost for Student Affairs.

  1. A student has the right to inspect and review education records pertaining to him/her. Should a student wish to inspect a particular education record, a request to do so should be made in writing to the university office maintaining that record. Certain records (or information contained in records), such as parental financial records and information to which the student has waived access (e.g., confidential letters of recommendation), are excluded from the student’s right to inspection. Excluded categories of records and information are specified in the university’s policy concerning the privacy of student education records.
  2. A student has the right to request amendment of his/her education records. Should a student believe an education record is inaccurate or misleading, a request for amendment or correction should be addressed, in writing, to the university office maintaining the record in question. The custodian of records for that office may correct or amend the record in question or may determine that the record is accurate as it stands. In instances when a dispute cannot be resolved between the student and the office maintaining the record in question, the student may request a formal hearing by the university to resolve the issue. Questions about and requests for formal hearing should be directed to the Office of the General Counsel. This provision for amendment does not apply to disputed grade information on academic transcripts. (See Disputed Academic Evaluation Procedures).
  3. The university will not release personally identifiable information from a student’s education records without the student’s prior written consent or an authenticated electronic signature release. Exceptions are noted in the university’s policy concerning the privacy of student education records and include:

a. disclosure of information to a university official having a legitimate educational interest in the specific education record. A university official is any person employed by the university in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research or support staff position, a person elected to the Board of Trustees, a student serving on an official committee, or a person employed by or under contract to the university to perform a specific task. Such a person has a legitimate educational interest whenever he or she is performing a task that is specified in his or her position description or by a contract agreement, performing a task related to a student’s education, performing a task related to the discipline of a student, or providing a service or benefit relating to the student or student’s family (such as health care, counseling, job placement or financial aid);

b. disclosure of information in connection with financial aid for which the student has applied or which the student has received, when disclosure is necessary for such purposes as determining eligibility for, amount or conditions of the aid;

c. disclosure of information in response to a judicial order or legally issued subpoena;

d. disclosure to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll; or

e. disclosure concerning “directory information.” The university has designated “directory information” to include a student’s address (local and permanent), telephone number (local and permanent), university email address, student identification number, student photo, USC attendance dates, USC degrees earned (with dates), academic honors, major/minor and degree objective, expected date of graduation, previous school attended, enrollment status, whether or not the student currently is enrolled, and participation in officially recognized activities and sports. The university is under no obligation to release directory information upon request. Students wishing to restrict release of “directory information” may do so by completing the appropriate form provided by the Registrar’s Office (Trojan Hall 101). Such requests remain in effect for the academic year. The above exceptions represent a partial listing of those found in the university’s policy concerning the privacy of student education records.

        4. A student has a right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the university to comply with the requirements of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

5. A student has a right to obtain the university’s policy concerning the privacy of student education records. Requests should be directed to the Office of the General Counsel, the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards or the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs.

6. More general questions may be directed to the Office of the General Counsel, the Office of the Vice Provost for Student Affairs, the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards or the Office of the Registrar, as appropriate. Additional information can also be found by visiting the Registrar’s FERPA Website at usc.edu/dept/ARR/ferpa.

Revised July 2014.