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Faculty Compliance Module V: FERPA

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) guarantees students access to their educational records and restricts access by others.

"Education Records" include information related directly to a student that an institution maintains. These records need not be related to an educational purpose.

The university may disclose information from a student's education records if it is directory information, if the student provides written consent to the release, or in other limited instances.

No consent is required if the information is disclosed to other school officials with legitimate educational interests. "Other school officials" include university employees, faculty members, and contractors providing services to the university.

The university may disclose education information to a student's parents if the parents carry the student as a dependent on either parent's federal income tax return, in which case both parents may have access to their child's records.

Directory information consists of a student's name, address, telephone number, honors and awards received, and other information not generally considered private information.  A student may elect to have directory information withheld from public disclosure. The student's election is binding until the student rescinds it.

In a health or safety emergency, the university may disclose a student's education records to anyone who needs to know.

Especially important is the requirement that faculty not post student grades in places where others might see them and easily trace the student's identity. Faculty should never post grades using the student's name, social security number, university identity number, or any parts of these, or any other number that makes the student's identity easily traceable.

At Texas State, UPPS 01.04.31 contains the university's FERPA policy.  It contains a notice to students of their rights under the FERPA law and a detailed listing of information that the university considers directory information.