Educational Institutions are required to annually notify enrolled students of their rights under the Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), as amended. This website fulfills this obligation and serves as the annual FERPA notification to students at Columbia College.

What is FERPA?

FERPA is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, a Federal law that is administered by the Student Privacy Policy Office (SPPO) in the U.S. Department of Education (Department).  FERPA affords eligible students certain rights with respect to their education records.  An “eligible student” under FERPA is a student who enters a postsecondary institution at any age. 

What are Educational Records?

Student education records are those records that contain personally identifiable information (PII) and are maintained by an education agency or institution or by a party acting for the agency or institution. Examples of student records include academic transcripts, financial aid awards and student judicial files.

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 Information or Public Records?

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

  • Student participation in officially recognized activities and sport including weight, height and high school of graduation of athletic team members
  • Degrees and awards received by students, including honors, scholarship awards, athletic awards and Dean's/President's List recognition
  • Start/end date of enrollment
  • Part time/Full time enrollment (Current and past semesters)
  • Major (Academic program)
  • Units/credits completed (Current and past semesters)
  • Awards received, including type of degree or certificate awarded/date awarded

According to FERPA, a student can request that the institution not release any directory information about him/her. Columbia College students initially give or withhold consent via the admissions application. Students may change their decision by filing a Notice to Deny Disclosure of Directory Information which will be honored by the college until removed by the student.

Who Has Access to Non-Directory Information?

With several exceptions provided by FERPA, Columbia 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.

A 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 had 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.

Student Right to Inspect and Review Records

FERPA grants students the right to inspect and review their education records within 45 days after the day a request for access is submitted.  Students can access their unofficial transcripts through our student information system.  If a student leaves the College and is no longer able to access unofficial transcripts, Admissions and Records staff will print or email them to the student.  A student must prove their identity before any records will be released.  For additional records requests, a student should submit a written request to the Director of Admissions and Records that identifies the record(s) the student wishes to inspect.  The Director of Admissions and Records will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.  If the education records are not maintained by the Admissions and Records Office, the Director shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.

Student Right to File a Complaint with the Department of Education

Columbia College students have the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the District to comply with the requirements of FERPA.

Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC  20202
Phone (800) 872-5327


Military Recruitment and the Solomon Amendment

The Solomon Amendment is a federal law that allows military recruiters to access some address, biographical and academic program information on students age 17 and older.

The Department of Education has determined the Solomon Amendment supersedes most elements of FERPA. The District is therefore obligated to release data included in the list of “student recruiting information,” which may or may not match the Districts FERPA directory definition list.

The following is a list of information that may be released to military recruiters pursuant to the Solomon Amendment:

Name, address, telephone, year of birth, level of education, academic major, degrees received, educational institution in which the student was most recently enrolled.

The request must be submitted in writing on letterhead clearly identifying:

  • The branch of service requesting the student recruitment information
  • Cite the relevant legal authority under the Solomon Amendment and include the scope of the request
  • Request should specify whether the information needed is for the current or previous semester

Military recruiters may request student recruitment information once each term.

Submit requests to  ccadmissions@yosemite.edu  or contact (209) 588-5231.


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