FERPA Guidelines for Faculty & Staff
Faculty and staff members play a key role in the protection and integrity of student records. It is incumbent upon them to maintain, report and make available information included in student educational records in compliance with the requirements of FERPA and the Student Records Policy.
Knowledge of FERPA is required for all faculty, staff, and student employees accessing student data as part of their work duties. This Self-Assessment will employ a broad range of real life situations that have been and can still be encountered by faculty and staff in the course of their duties. An answer/explanation will be provided for each question. Questions may be directed to the Office of the Registrar (firstname.lastname@example.org). The completion of the FERPA Self-Assessment will be recorded in HRIS.
Faculty and staff with access to confidential student data will be contacted via e-mail to complete a FERPA Self-Assessment using the Qualtrix survey tool.
Guidelines for Faculty & Staff
- Requests for information from the educational record of a student should be referred to the proper educational record custodian.
- Private notes of a faculty/staff member concerning a student and intended for the faculty/staff member's own use are not part of the student's educational record, provided they are kept separate from the student's educational records. Only those individual student records that are necessary to fulfill professional responsibilities should be kept. Private records of faculty/staff and ancillary educational personnel are to be kept in the sole possession of the maker and are not to be accessible or revealed to any other person, except a substitute.
- Requests for information from the educational record custodian must not be made without a legitimate educational interest and the appropriate authority to do so.
- Student scores or grades may not be displayed publicly in association with names, social security numbers or other personal identifiers. Some other code known only to the instructor and the individual student may be used to post grades/scores.
- All papers or lab reports containing student names and grades should be secured. Students should not have access to the scores and grades of others in the class.
- Factual information regarding grades and performance in an educational record may be amended when the student is able to provide valid documentation that information is inaccurate or misleading. See Review and Challenge of Records.
- Student educational record information is not to be shared, including grades or grade point averages, with other faculty or staff members of the University unless their official responsibilities identify their "legitimate educational interest" in that information for that student.
- Information from student educational records, including grades, grade point averages, and letters of recommendation should not be shared by phone or correspondence with parents or other parties outside the institution, without written permission from the student.
- Information from medical, psychiatric, or psychological reports; records from law enforcement officials on or off the campus; or notes of a professional or staff person which are intended for that individual alone are not to be included in a student's educational records or made available to him/her, or to a third party.
- FERPA enforcement may include sanctions as severe as the withholding of federal funding.
Guidelines for Requesting Student Data for Use in a Research Project
As the steward of student data, the Office of the Registrar is tasked with determining whether requests for student data are compliant with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) and thus, whether such data requests shall be fulfilled or not.
The Office of the Registrar will only disclose information from a student's educational record upon receipt of prior written consent of the student or if one of the exceptions to 34CFR99.31 has been invoked.
University officials include academic and research personnel of Kansas State University and research is held to be a legitimate educational interest of the institution, generally sufficient to satisfy the exception to 34CFR99.31, when supported by an approved University Institutional Review Board application.
However, disclosure of student data is still the institutional prerogative and IRB approval does not overrule the decision of the Registrar when the two are in conflict.
In order to request student data for Research purposes, it is necessary to complete the Request for Student Data for Use in Research Project form and submit to the Office of the Registrar, along with an approved IRB form. An IRB should be submitted if there is any potential for the research to be submitted for publication, even when the data were originally requested for non-research purposes.
Under no circumstances will data be released from a student record wherein the student has placed a request for "FERPA Non-disclosure Hold" to create a denial of disclosure of personally identifiable information.
All publication of findings must assure the anonymity of the data cohort by publishing only aggregate data and not publishing any data derived from a cell size of less than five.
Personally identifiable data should not be distributed via unencrypted email and must be stored in a manner to ensure its protection and confidentiality.