In compliance with the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the California Public Information Act, students at Pomona College are assigned the following four rights in regard to education records maintained by the College.
- Students have the right to inspect and review education records. Education records, which are maintained by offices throughout the College, are defined as records in any format that directly identify the student and are maintained by the various offices of the College. 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 direct 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. The full policy is available in the student handbook. In compliance with College 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 Dean of Students. Under FERPA, grades are excepted from this provision. Students with concerns about individual grades are referred to the Policy on Disputed Grades.
- Students have the right to have some control over the disclosure of information from education records. Students may request that the College 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 the College 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.
In compliance with FERPA, Pomona College 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 and sports; and the height and weight of members of athletic teams. 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, the College 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 excepted by FERPA, requires the prior written consent of the student for release.
As permitted by FERPA, Pomona College 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 the College. Education officials may include employees, faculty, staff, designated representatives of the College, and contracted agents and agencies of the College. Pomona College 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 redisclosure and the privacy of such education records.
Under FERPA, and in compliance with other federal and local regulations, privacy rights in the postsecondary 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 officials of another school where the student seeks, intends, or has enrolled;
- In connection with the student's request for or receipt of financial aid;
- To certain federal, state or local government authorities in connection with the audit or evaluation of educational programs (these government authorities may further disclose information to outside entities that are designated by them to conduct any audit, evaluation or enforcement or compliance activity on their behalf);
- To U.S. military recruiters;
- To certain entities conducting studies or audits on behalf of the College, by federal, state, or local education authorities, or by professional and other educational organizations;
- In compliance with court orders and subpoenæ;
- 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.