FERPA for Faculty/Staff

FERPA Defined

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act is a Federal law that applies to educational agencies and institutions that receive funding under a program administered by the U. S. Department of Education. 

The purpose of the act as it pertains to post-secondary institutions is twofold: 

  • to assure students access to their educational records and 
  • to protect an individual’s right to privacy by limiting the sharing of student records without his or her consent.

Compliance

  • Access to Student Records:
    • Faculty members with a "legitimate educational interest" may access relevant student records.  
  • Class Rosters
    • Class rosters containing student names with student IDs or grades must not be circulated as an attendance roster.  This allows students to view information of other students.
  • Grades, Assignments & Tests
    • Grades postings containing student name or ANY portion of the student ID number (or social security number) must never be posted publicly.
    • Graded papers with personally identifiable information (name or any portion of ID/SSN) must never be left unattended for students to view.
    • Grades must never be emailed to students.  There is no guarantee of confidentiality on the Internet. 
  • Letters of Recommendation
    • Letters of recommendation that include any "education records" (grades, GPA, number of units and other non-directory information) must never be sent without a student's signature release. See the university catalog for directory information.
  • Third Party Information Requests (Including Parents)
    • Requests for information regarding education records should be sent to the Registrar's Office.
    • “Personally identifiable information” (e.g. progress in a course, deficiencies in a subject area, scores and grades on papers, exams, etc.) is protected under FERPA.  
    • Third parties, even those whose official responsibilities identify his/her "legitimate educational interest", may NOT have access unless the student has provided written authorization that specifically identifies what information (and to whom) such information may be released.
    • Student schedules or other information that may assist a third party to find a student on campus must never be given to a third party.
    • Lists of students enrolled in any class must never be provided to a third party for any commercial purpose, even if beneficial.
  • Additional Considerations
    • Shred unneeded confidential documents.  Never throw them in the trash.
    • Lock file cabinets and offices where student records are kept.
    • Protect your computer by blocking confidential information on computer screens.  This includes either locking your computer screen (press the Windows key and L simultaneously) or clearing all student data from the screen and logging out of the student records system.  You alone are responsible for all data accessed under your logon.
  • Crisis situations/emergencies
    • If non-directory information is needed to resolve a crisis or emergency situation, an education institution may release that information if the institution determines that the information is "necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals." In the case of an emergency, contact Security and Safety at 315.229.5555. You may also contact the Registrar's Office at 315.229.5267.

Directory Information or Restricted?

Directory information is defined as "information contained in an education record of a student that generally would not be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed.  Directory information, as defined by St. Lawrence University may be found under the "academic regulations" section of the university catalog.

Directory Information Table

Please contact the Registrar’s Office with any questions regarding FERPA or requests for information from the educational record of a student.

TEST your knowledge with the FERPA SELF-QUIZ!