How FERPA Applies to Faculty and Staff
In accordance with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (known as FERPA), the student educational records are made available to staff and faculty who have a need to know when fulfilling their official responsibilities at Idaho State University. Such educational records are released on the condition that they will be used for a specified educational purpose and officials will not permit any other access to the information without the written consent of the student involved.
FERPA authorizes the release of “Directory Information” without the student’s prior consent under certain conditions which are set forth in the Act. Idaho State University has defined its "Directory Information" as follows:
- Student name
- Address listings
- Telephone listings
- E-mail address
- Dates of attendance
- Enrollment status
- Class level
- Full-Time/Part-Time status
- Major field of study
- Degree types and dates
- Club and athletic participation records
“Personally–Identifiable Information” is information contained in any record which makes a student's identity easily traceable. You must take care to protect this information from third parties outside the University and you must work within the confines of legitimate educational interest within the institution.
Almost any student-related piece of paper is part of that student's educational record. Also, student-related information displayed on a computer screen is considered part of the student's educational record.
Students’ scores or grades should not be displayed publicly. Even with names obscured, numeric student identifiers are considered personally-identifiable information and must not be used. Grades, transcripts or degree audits distributed for purposes of advisement should not be placed in plain view in open mail boxes located in public places.
Graded papers or tests should not be left unattended on a desk in plain view in a public area nor should students sort through them in order to retrieve their own work.
The education records of student athletes are covered by FERPA. Without a signed consent form, personally-identifiable information may not be disclosed from the education records of student athletes.
Class rosters/grades sheets:
These and other reports should be handled in a confidential manner and the information contained on them should not be re-disclosed to third parties.
Parents, spouses and other relatives do not have a right to information contained in a student's education record.
Electronic Data Storage:
Access to the Student Information System is not tantamount to authorization to view the data. Faculty and staff are deemed to be “school officials” and can access data in the student system if they have a “legitimate educational interest.” A legitimate educational interest exists if the faculty or staff member needs to view the education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility. Neither curiosity nor personal interest are a legitimate educational “need to know.”
The consequences for not following the law are as follows:
- Loss of federal funding
- Conviction of a misdemeanor under the Public Information Act may include confinement in the county jail not to exceed 6 month, fine not to exceed $1,000.00, or both.
Important note: The above information is intended to give general information and to acquaint faculty and staff with some of the privacy issues surrounding students’ educational records. It is not intended as nor is it a substitute for legal advice on any particular issue.