FERPA for Faculty and Staff
What is FERPA?
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (also known as the Buckley Amendment) is a Federal Law that helps protect the privacy of student education records. The Act provides students the right to inspect and review education records, the right to seek to amend those records, and the right to limit disclosure of information from the records. The intent of the legislation is to protect the rights of students and to ensure the privacy and accuracy of education records. The Act applies to all institutions that are recipients of federal aid administered by the Secretary of Education
When do FERPA rights begin?
FERPA governs and protects students’ rights to their individual educational records. Their FERPA rights begin when they enroll; that is, when the student has scheduled classes, paid fees and classes have begun.
What information about students may be released to faculty members and other University staff members?
Items defined as directory information may be released without a student’s written permission, provided that the student has not chosen to restrict his or her directory information. All other personally identifiable information in a student’s educational record is confidential and may be disclosed to appropriate University faculty and staff members only if their normal job duties require such access.
What is Directory Information?
Directory information is information contained in an education record of a student that generally would not be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed.
Louisiana State University has established the following as Directory Information and it may be released to those requesting it unless the student specifically requests otherwise by submitting written notification to the Office of the University Registrar.
- Student’s name, local address, and telephone number
- Student’s home address
- Student’s e-mail address
- Student’s major field of study/classification
- Student’s participation in officially recognized activities and sports; weight and height of members of athletic teams
- Dates of student’s attendance
- Degrees, awards, and honors received by student
- The most recent previous educational institution attended by the student
Louisiana State University will not disclose any other information without written consent from the student. Students have the right to refuse the disclosure of personally identifiable information as directory information subject to other overriding provisions of law. To withhold directory information, students must fill out the Request to Prevent Disclosure of Information form located in the Office of the University Registrar, Room 112, Thomas Boyd Hall.
If a student has chosen to restrict the release of directory information, NO information can be released without further written permission of the student. Should someone inquire about an individual who has restricted the release of his/her directory information, the appropriate faculty/staff response is, “I am sorry, I do not have any information on any such person.”
If students have restricted the release of directory information, you will see a special “overlay” screen when you access their records in the SRR data base.
For more information concerning the privacy rights of students, please refer to the official university policy statement, PS-30: Student Privacy Rights.
Do I have to release information from a student’s educations record?
FERPA regulations state that you MAY release directory information about a student, but FERPA does not require or compel you to do so.
What do I do about subpoenas?
If you receive a subpoena regarding a student’s education record, please contact the Office of the University Registrar (225-578-1696 or firstname.lastname@example.org) before you respond. There are FERPA regulations that the University must comply with before responding to subpoenas or court orders.
May I release confidential information to officially registered student groups?
Student groups do NOT have legitimate educational interest and consequently may not be given confidential information about a student or students without each student’s express, written permission.
May I access confidential information about students?
Access to personally identifiable information contained in educational records may be given to appropriate University administrators, faculty members, or staff members who require this access to perform their legitimate educational duties. Faculty members do not have access to student academic records unless their normal job duties specifically require access. This type of access is termed “legitimate educational interest.”
How does FERPA affect letters of recommendation?
Writing a letter of recommendation may require express, written permission from the student to allow you 1) to access the student’s educational records and, 2) to disclose confidential information about the student to a third party. A faculty member may access a student’s educational records without the student’s express written permission only if specific job duties, such as the duties of an academic advisor, require access to those records. However, a faculty member, or any other appropriate University official, may not disclose confidential information from a student’s educational records to a third party without express, written permission from the student. Personal observations about a student may be disclosed without the student’s consent.
What information about students may I disclose to parents?
Without the express, written permission of the student, parents, like all other third parties, including designees, may have access only to the student’s directory information. If a student has restricted his or her directory information, then the directory information is considered confidential and you should respond to any inquiries by by saying “I have no information to provide about that individual.” Confidential information may be released to parents only with the expressed, written permission of the student.
Please refer parents seeking information from their students’ education records to the Office of the University Registrar.
Does FERPA affect the return of assignments?
Personally identifiable information about a student may not be disclosed without the student’s express, written permission. Therefore, extreme care should be used to protect such information (e.g., student ID numbers) when returning assignments, term papers and exams to students.
Does FERPA affect the posting of grades?
University policy prohibits the disclosure of any confidential student information in a personally identifiable manner without the student’s written consent. Faculty members may use student-specific, password-protected systems (such as Moodle) to communicate academic work, grades or other confidential information to students on an individual basis.
How do I properly dispose of confidential information?
Dispose of all material containing confidential information (such as tests, papers, class rosters) by shredding or by placing them in a receptacle intended for the collection of material to be disposed of in a secure manner.
FERPA Questions or Concerns
Office of the University Registrar
Louisiana State University
Room 112, Thomas Boyd Hall
Baton Rouge, LA 70803