Freedom of Information Act - Title

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)


Freedom of Information Act - Content

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. Section 552, is a statute that provides a process by which every person may request access to federal agency records or information. Federal agencies, such as the Naval Postgraduate School, are required to disclose records upon receiving a written request for them unless those records are protected from disclosure by any of the nine exemptions and three exclusions of the FOIA. The FOIA applies only to federal agencies and the records in its custody. The FOIA does not create an access to records held by Congress, the courts or by state and local governments. Any requests for state or local government records should be directed to the appropriate state or local government agency.

FOIA Highlights

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a federal statute. FOIA generally provides that any person has a right to request access to federal agency records, except to the extent the records are protected from disclosure by any of nine exemptions contained in the law or by one of three special law enforcement record exclusions. There are several points to keep in mind regarding the FOIA.

  • Your request must be made in writing and you must provide a "reasonable description" of the records you are seeking.
  • Agencies have 20 working days to provide an initial response.
  • Agencies and requesters are encouraged to work together to define the scope of the request and the timing of the response.
  • Agencies may establish "multi-track" response systems to facilitate the processing of simpler requests, rather than putting all requests in a single "queue."

Making a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) Request

  • FOIA requests must be made in writing and submitted through FOIA online at
  • Fees may apply - please state willingness to pay applicable fees or provide justification to support a fee waiver
  • Questions?  Please call (831) 656-3610 or email
  • Describe the records you are seeking as clearly and precisely as you can. If your request is vague or too broad, we may ask you to be more specific, and this can delay the processing of your request.
  • State your willingness to pay the applicable fees or provide a justification to support a fee waiver.

FOIA Requesters who have questions concerning the processing of their requests with the Naval Postgraduate School should contact (831) 656-3610. If you are not satisfied with the information given, you may contact the DON FOIA Public Liaison at (202) 685-0412 and

Naval Postgraduate School FOIA Electronic Reading Room - Link

Additional Information

The following links provide helpful and detailed information on the Freedom of Information Act: