Students should not be concerned about the privacy of their academic records because the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 protects them.
The act, also known as FERPA, was updated to not only bar the release of educational records of students without the students' permission, but also the type of information the school can disclose, according to a news release from SJSU.
Examples of disclosable information include the student's name, address, phone number, e-mail address, birth date, major field of study and participation in officially recognized activities and sports, according to the news release.
According to the Office of the Registrar's Web site, students have the right to prevent disclosure of their educational records if their consent was not given and have the right to inspect their personal educational records under the FERPA law.
Marian Sofish, the FERPA officer for SJSU, said the campus has never been in trouble with the U.S. Department of Education for failure to comply with FERPA regulations.
"The campus policy on student information disclosure is more restrictive than what FERPA provides," Sofish said. "We only provide enrollment and degree completion information without a student's written consent."
According to the Department of Education, student academic records must be kept confidential and the campus must provide a student with an opportunity for a hearing to challenge any claims that its records are misleading, inaccurate or inappropriate.
"It already seems like our privacy is insured by FERPA because the only ones who have access to our academic record is ourselves, our parents and people with a legal reasoning," said Kathy Van, a junior business management major.
According to the FERPA section of the Department of Education's Web site, student records are protected under the act, but there are circumstances when this information may be disclosed without the student's consent.
According to the FERPA law, in an event that a student is involved in a crime, such as physical violence or a sexual offense, the campus may disclose personal information to the parents of dependent students because the student is in violation of university policies.
The privacy regulation in FERPA is that parents do not have access to their child's records once they are of legal age or start attending college, but if students are in violation of university policy, the campus is able to release information to their parents, according to Department of Education Web site.
"I think that anything my parents need to or should know, I can personally tell them," said Andrea Do, a junior child development major. "I don't think they need to have access to anything without my consent, because we're all adults now and anything I do is my responsibility."
According to the Registrar's Web site, the university could share information with parents without the student's consent only if the student is still a dependent, if a health or safety emergency occurs or if the student is under 21 years old and has violated any law concerning alcohol or controlled substances.
"I wouldn't like it that my parents needed to be notified even under the age of 21," Do said. "After the age of 18, you're legally an adult, so I don't understand why the parents of an adult needs to be notified of anything that they do."
FERPA also lists regulations on the types of information that professors may access and save for their own records.
Faculty and staff with a legitimate reason to access student information may download identification numbers, names and grades onto their personal laptops, and it would not fall under violation of FERPA, according to the SJSU Web site.
According to an SJSU news release, information such as social security numbers, addresses and phone numbers, would compromise a student's privacy and should not be saved to instructors' computers.
SJSU policy is that a professor is able to post grades without student consent only if the student's identity is disguised, according to the news release.
"I personally don't care whether or not my peers know what grade I got in the class." said Sophia Barriga, a sophomore international business major. "I feel that as college students we should be able to maintain a certain level of maturity and not badger someone for their grade."
According to the SJSU Web site, universities are required to advise students of their rights under FERPA and students should be able to locate privacy notifications and privacy policies in the course catalogs and on the university's Web site.