A FERPA Guide for Faculty & Staff
- What is FERPA?
- Directory Information
- Parental Access to Student’s Educational Record
- What is an Educational Record?
- Violations of Confidentiality
- Legitimate Educational Interest
- The Media
- Penalties for Violating FERPA Regulations
What is FERPA?
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, (FERPA) as amended establishes requirements regarding the privacy of student records. FERPA governs:
- the release of educational records maintained by the College
- access to educational records
The College must notify students annually of their rights to:
- inspect and review their education records
- request to amend their education records
- limit disclosure of personally identifiable information contained in education records
- file a complaint with the Department of Education concerning an alleged failure by the College to comply with FERPA
The following is considered public “Directory Information” at Keene State College unless the student notifies the Registrar’s Office in writing (Privacy Hold Request form).
- Mailing, local, and campus addresses and telephone numbers
- KSC e-mail address
- Place & Date of birth
- Dates of attendance
- Degree(s) and Awards conferred
Parental Access to Student’s Educational Record
When a student reaches the age of 18 or is attending a postsecondary institution, regardless of age, FERPA rights transfer from the parent to the student. Parents of Keene State College students may not receive non-directory information. However, parents of dependent (Internal Revenue Code) students may receive a copy of the student’s semester grade report by completing and submitting a Parental Grade Report form available at the Registrar’s Office. The Registrar’s Office keeps that consent on file and it remains in effect until the Office is notified, the student leaves the College or graduates from the College.
In general, you must not discuss the student with his or her parent and advise the parent that the student is responsible for providing appropriate information to the parent(s). Direct related questions to the Registrar’s Office.
The Student Accounts Office has a release form for specific financial information. Parents and students should be directed to the Student Accounts Office for information related to finance.
What is an Educational Record?
Any record, with certain exceptions, maintained by the College in any medium that is directly related to a student, or information from which an individual student can be personally identified is considered an education record. Examples include personal (non-Directory information), social security number, grades, and GPA and class rosters/semester schedules.
Violations of Confidentiality
Potential violations of confidentiality can be avoided if you DO NOT:
- use the Social Security Number or DID of a student in a public posting of grades
- link the name of a student with that student’s social security number or DID in any public manner
- leave graded tests or other graded papers in a stack for students to pick up by sorting through the papers of all students
- circulate a printed class list with student name and social security number/DID or grades as an attendance roster
- discuss the progress of any student with anyone other than the student (including parents) without the consent of the student
- provide anyone with lists of students enrolled in your classes for any commercial purpose
- provide anyone with student schedules or assist anyone other than College employees in finding a student on campus
Keene State College provides secure web applications for students (BlackBoard and MyKSC) to view course specific information, semester grades and full academic record. Students should be routinely advised to use these tools to view personal information.
Notification of grades via e-mail is not recommended as there can be no guarantee of confidentiality.
Legitimate Educational Interest
In accordance with FERPA, a school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official requires access to an education record in order to fulfill his/her professional responsibility. This includes such purposes as:
- performing appropriate tasks that are specified in her/his position description or by a contract agreement
- performing a task related to a student’s education;
- performing a task related to the discipline of a student;
- providing services for the student or the student’s family, such as health care, counseling, job placement, or financial aid.
Legitimate educational interest does not convey inherent rights to any and all student information. The law discriminates between educational interest, and personal or private interest; determinations are made on a case-by-case basis. Educational interest does not constitute authority to disclose information to a third party without the student’s written permission.
FERPA does not allow the College to discuss a student’s educational record publicly - even if a lawsuit has made the information a matter of public record. The official spokesperson for the College is the Campus Spokesperson in the College and Media Relations Office.
Penalties for Violating FERPA Regulations
The Family Policy Compliance Office reviews and investigates complaints of violations of FERPA. If the Office finds that there has been a failure to comply with FERPA, it will notify the institution about the corrections that need to be made to bring the institution into compliance. The Office will establish a reasonable period of time for the institution to voluntarily accomplish the specified changes.
If the Secretary of Education finds, after this reasonable period of time that an institution has failed to comply with FERPA and determines that compliance cannot be secured by any means, he or she can, among other options direct that no federal funds under his or her administrative control (financial aid, education grants, etc.) be made available to that institution.
Updated: February 15, 2010 by Tom Richard, Registrar
Resource: The AACRAO 2006 FERPA Guide