The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
Information for Faculty
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their educational records. There have been numerous suits and issues raised on the question of students' records and privacy in the past year, so I wanted to provide some guidelines.
As faculty, you have the educational right to view and access student information (academic history, grades, transfer records and advising notes). This access comes with responsibilities to protect those students' records and information.
Shippensburg University does not make directory information generally available to the public. Shippensburg University limits its release of directory information for official University purposes, e.g., (1) identifying athletic team members; (2) publishing names of scholarship recipients, graduation lists and Dean’s Lists; (3) issuing academic awards; (4) verifying enrollment or degree status; and (5) providing such information to organizations that are officially affiliated with the University or with whom the University has a contractual relationship. See 34 C.F.R §99.37(d). The word "Confidential" appears on many screens within Banner and is used to identify students who have requested that their directory information is not to be released. Directory information includes name, home/local addresses and phone numbers, e-mail address, enrollment status, major, degree and honors. Any information other than directory information cannot be released to anyone.
As instructors, you have access to students' grades. Grades are private information and only the student is able to view this information. This includes parents and spouses. It is Shippensburg's policy that we do not discuss a student's record with anyone over the phone. If a parent wants information concerning a student, they must first prove they claimed the student on their income taxes and then the request must be in writing and your response should be in writing. The student must give written permission to allow you to share grades with anyone who is not part of the student's educational interest.
Social Security numbers are private information. You may not use this number or a portion of this number to post grades in public view. Graded papers should be given to students in class or left with staff to keep in the building office for pick up. Leaving papers outside your office for students to go through is not protecting our students' privacy.
As advisors, you have access to student's transcripts and transfer evaluations. These are to be kept private as well. Whether the files are in your administrative office or your own private office, please keep these files from view when you aren't working with the student.
If you have any questions, please contact the Registrar's Office for clarification.