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FERPA Training. What is FERPA?. FERPA (the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974), also known as the Buckley Amendment, is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records.

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What is ferpa
What is FERPA?

  • FERPA (the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974), also known as the Buckley Amendment, is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records.

  • It was established to guarantee the rights of students to control access to their educational records.

  • Education records are those records directly related to a student and maintained by the university or someone acting on it’s behalf.

Ferpa provides 4 basic rights to a student
FERPA provides 4 basic rights to a student:

  • To view the education records that the institution is maintaining about the student

  • To seek amendment of those records and, in certain cases, append a statement to those records

  • To consent to disclosure of his/her records

  • To file a complaint with the FERPA office in Washington, D.C.

Ferpa training

Information in education records may be of two types as defined by FERPA, directory or non-directory information.

Each has different disclosure protections.

Directory information
Directory Information defined by FERPA, directory or non-directory information.

  • Information contained in the education record of a student that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed.

  • Directory Information may be disclosed without the permission of the student UNLESS the student submits a formal request to restrict the release of directory information.

  • If a student formally requests to suppress directory information, the record in Banner will be classified as confidential.

Directory information1
Directory information defined by FERPA, directory or non-directory information.

The first time you access a confidential record in Banner, you must respond to the pop-up message:

Subsequent forms accessed for the same ID show the confidential indicator above the ID field on the form.

Lehigh s policy defines directory information as
Lehigh’s policy defines directory information as: defined by FERPA, directory or non-directory information.

  • student's name;

  • home and University address;

  • mailbox number;

  • home and University phone numbers;

  • date and place of birth;

  • name of parent or guardian;

  • name of spouse;

  • major field of college student;

  • class;

  • participation in sports and in officially recognized activities listed by the student; weight and height of members of athletic teams;

  • dates of attendance;

  • degrees and awards received;

  • and the most recently attended educational institution.

Non directory information
Non-directory defined by FERPA, directory or non-directory information. Information

Non-directory information is any information in the education record not classified as directory information. This information may not be released to anyone, including parents, without written permission from the student.

Non directory information1
Non-directory Information defined by FERPA, directory or non-directory information.

Under FERPA, each employee with access to student information is personally responsible for the security and confidentiality of these records.

Student information may be a handwritten document, a computer file, a printed report, may appear on a computer screen, or may be a spoken exchange.

Employees may access and use student education information only as necessary to perform their job responsibilities.

When do ferpa rights begin
When do FERPA rights begin? defined by FERPA, directory or non-directory information.

  • They begin for a student when he or she becomes 18 or enrolls in a higher education institution at any age.

  • A student is an individual who is enrolled for a current semester or was enrolled for a previous semester.

When is prior consent not required to distribute educational records
When is prior consent not required to distribute educational records?

The University may release a student’s education record without his or her consent, but is not required to do so. Some of the exceptions to the written release requirement include disclosing educational records:

  • To “School officials” with a “legitimate educational interest” / “need to know;”

  • To organizations conducting studies to improve instruction, or to accrediting organizations;

  • To parents of dependent students (IRS definition); Check to see how your institution expects parents to show IRS dependent status;

  • To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena;

  • In response to a health/safety emergency; and

  • To an individual/entity requesting only directory information

Specific issues for faculty and instructional staff posting grades
Specific Issues for Faculty and Instructional Staff records?POSTING GRADES:

Since grades can never be directory information, it is generally inappropriate to post grades in a public setting. However, it is acceptable for an instructor to post grades in such a manner that only the instructor and the individual student know the posted grade (e.g. with a personal ID, provided that no portion of the personal ID is a social security number or institutional student ID number). It is recommended that the posted list not be in the same order as the class roster or in alphabetical order.

Letters of recommendation
Letters of Recommendation: records?

  • A person who in providing a letter of recommendation makes statements from that person’s personal observation or knowledge does not require a written release from the student who is the subject of the recommendation.

    • However, if the recommendation includes personally identifiable information obtained from a student’s educational record (grades, GPA, etc.), the writer is required to obtain a signed release from the student that,

      • specifies the records to be disclosed,

      • states the purpose of the disclosure, and

      • identifies the party or class of parties to whom the disclosure can be made.

Letters of recommendation1
Letters of Recommendation: records?

If the recommendation is kept on file by the recommender, then it becomes part of the student’s educational record and the student has the right to read it (through the inspection process) unless he or she has waived that right of access. If the letter is used for any purpose other than this recommendation, or shared with a colleague, the waiver is void.

Letters of recommendation2
Letters of Recommendation: records?

Sample request for reference

I give permission for Prof. Joseph Lehigh to write a letter of recommendation to:

MTV Studio’s

1 Park Avenue

New York, NY 10001

Prof. Lehigh has my permission to include my grades, GPA, and class rank in this letter.

I waive/do not waive my right to review a copy of this letter at any time in the future.


Signature Date

Parent access
Parent Access: records?

At the post secondary level, parents have no inherent right to inspect their son’s or daughter’s education records. The right to inspect is limited solely to the student.

If a staff or faculty member receives a request from a parent for access to non-directory and FERPA protected records, that request should be referred to the Associate Dean of Students for Academic Support at ext. 84159 or to the Registrar’s Office at ext. 83191.

Situation examples
Situation Examples records?

Can you release a list of students enrolled in a given class ?

You should not provide anyone with lists of students enrolled in your class(es) to individuals that do not have a legitimate educational interest. Refer any requests for information to the Registrar’s Office.

A medical school admissions office asks to confirm that an LU alum earned a 3.95 GPA in your department and graduated with Highest Honors. Can you confirm both facts?

Honors conferred is designated as directory information and may be released to a third party. Grade point average could not be released without the student’s written consent.

If a former student has applied for a position in my department, may I view his or her account?

No. Accessing a Lehigh University student’s record on-line for non-educational purposes, such as potential employment, is not permissible. Request a transcript from the student as part of an employment process.

More examples
More Examples records?

A student calls on the phone and asks for his/her own GPA or major GPA. Do you tell them?

NO. Even if they give you their name, DOB, LIN, SSN (you can’t ask for SSN). You can never be sure who is on the other end of the line.

A student emails you from his/her PIN protected LU e-mail account and asks for GPA or major GPA, can you send it back?

NO. If they have e-mail access they can look up their own GPA.

A student comes to your office and asks to see his/her folder? Then asks for copies of transcripts you have used for advising purposes, can you give them copies?

NO. Students have the right to view, not the right to a copy. Third party transcripts are a troubled part of the regulations. Refer the student to the Registrar’s Office.

Very important
Very Important! records?

It is your responsibility to protect the student information to which you have access.

NEVER give your User ID and Password to anyone else.

It is a violation of federal and university regulations.

If a co-worker needs to access student information, have them request access and attend the required training.

Ferpa training

If you have additional questions about FERPA or are unsure about disclosing information in a specific situation,

Contact the Registrar’s Office at ext. 83191.

Please refer to the Registrar’s FERPA FAQ for Faculty

for additional information.