Disclaimers & Notices
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While Caltech believes that these pages are accurate and factual, this information has not been reviewed or approved by the U.S. Department of Education or the California Student Aid Commission.
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Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law designed to protect the privacy of a student’s education records. Information contained in financial aid applications as well as conversations with the student and family are considered confidential and will not be released to the public.
The majority of the student’s information is stored electronically in the financial aid system’s database. To insure that only authorized personnel can access this database, a username (assigned code) and personalized password are required to log on to the computer. Staff are instructed to not write their passwords down, and to change their passwords frequently to maintain security. User accounts and usernames are tightly controlled by the system administrator. Student employees who must have access to the computer records are closely supervised and can only access the system with the assistance of an authorized staff member.
Students have the right to inspect and review their personal financial aid application records maintained by Caltech. In the case of dependent students, schools may provide parents access to inspect and review the student’s financial aid application records maintained by the Institute. We are not required to provide photocopies of information in the student’s financial aid records unless it is impossible for the student and/or parent to inspect the records personally. (Although allowed by law) the Institute will not charge a fee for photocopies.
Students have the right to request that a school correct records believed to be inaccurate or misleading. In the case of dependent students, schools may allow parents to see records believed to be inaccurate or misleading. If we decide not to amend the records, the student then has the right to a formal hearing. If the record is still not changed in response to the hearing, the student has the right to place a statement in the record commenting on the contested information.
Generally, we must have written permission from the student before releasing any information from the student’s financial aid record. However, the law allows us to disclose records, without consent, to the following:
- Employees of the Institute, the U.S. Department of Education, the California Student Aid Commission, other school’s financial aid offices, scholarship donors, or lenders and guarantors who have a “need-to-know.”
- An auditor designated to audit the college/university Financial Aid Office.
- Individuals or agencies who have obtained court orders or subpoenas.
- Persons who need to know in cases of health and safety emergencies.
- State and local authorities to whom disclosure is required by State Laws adopted before November 19, 1974.
Statistical information, that does not personally identify a student, will be released to any Caltech department, government agency, or scholarship service which has a “need-to-know.”
To insure that information is not released to the public before discussing ANY information concerning a student’s application, awards, etc., positive identification must be provided by the person requesting the information (e.g., driver’s license number, school photo ID, or “personal knowledge”). Students’ cooperation in abiding by this policy is appreciated.
Confidentiality and Security of Records
Information contained in financial aid applications (as well as conversations with the student and family) is considered confidential and will not be released to the public.
- No information concerning the student’s application, award, eligibility, etc. (which identifies the student) will be made public except as follows:
- (a) Information may be released to specific parties with the student’s written permission.
- (b) Information may be released to an Institute office, the U.S. Department of Education, and the California Student Aid Commission, on a “need to know” basis, without the student’s permission.
- (c) Information may be released to an auditor designated to audit the Financial Aid Office, without the student’s permission.
- (d) Information may be released to any other agency (e.g., the Justice Department) without the student’s permission, if we are so ordered by a court.
Procedures for Releasing Information
The following will be used in releasing information to third parties:
- DISCLOSURE INFORMATION – are exceptions where disclosures (other than “directory information”) in connection with financial aid can be made without the applicant’s permission to any third party having a valid “need to know”. The Financial Aid Office will only consider requests from departments within the Institute, other Financial Aid Offices, or lenders and guarantors (in regards to student loan applicants/recipients). All others will be referred to the Vice President for Student Affairs’ Office.
- STATISTICAL INFORMATION – that does not personally identify the applicant(s), will be released to any Institute department, governmental agencies, scholarship service, publisher, which has a valid “need to know”.
- CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION – that personally identifies the applicant(s) will be released:
- (a) If the applicant has given written permission to release the information to a third party.
- (b) If requested by another college/university office which has responsibility in determining financial need before awarding their funds, or which must complete applications for funding or related reports requiring information contained in the financial aid applicant’s records.
- (c) If requested by an authorized representative of the Secretary of Education.
- (d) To enforce the terms or conditions of applications for or receipt of financial aid (e.g., to assist in an investigation, prosecution, or administrative discipline).
- (e) If release of the information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the applicant or other persons.
- (f) To comply with a judicial order or a lawfully issued subpoena.
- (g) For any other allowable reason stated in the Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, the regulations adopted thereunder.
The California Institute of Technology is committed to the concept of equal educational opportunity for all. Individuals are considered for admission to student status, and all services, facilities, programs, and activities are administered in a nondiscriminatory manner without regard to (a) race, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation, parental or family or marital status, national or ethnic origin, or nondisqualifying handicap; or (b) any other factor which is, in fact, irrelevant to student status or to the rendering of services, facilities, programs, or activities. In addition, the many Federal and State laws, and regulations issued thereunder, which bar discrimination in educational programs and related activities, are also applicable.
Caltech is committed to equal opportunity for all persons without regard to sex, race, creed, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, pregnancy, gender, gender expression, gender identity, sexual orientation, genetic information, status as disabled veteran, or other eligible veteran, for otherwise qualified individuals with a disability, or any other condition protected by the state and federal law. It is the policy of Caltech to provide a work and academic environment free of discrimination as required by federal and state law, including Title IX which prohibits discrimination based on sex in Caltech’s educational programs and activities. Caltech will take all reasonable steps to eliminate discrimination, harassment, and sexual violence in its work and academic environment. Inquiries concerning the application of Title IX may be referred to Caltech’s Title IX Coordinator who can be reached at TitleIXCoordinator@caltech.edu.