FERPA FAQs - Faculty & Staff

The Office of the Registrar serves as the steward of student education data. Part of responsible stewardship is ensuring that those to whom the stewards provide access to student education data demonstrate proficiency in understanding their responsibilities under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974. To ensure we are in compliance with federal law, the institution must have documentation that employees with access to student education data have successfully passed FERPA training. If someone completed FERPA training prior to January 2005, we will not have record of their proficiency and the employee or designated agent will be asked to take the training and quiz, as the law has changed since 2005. Additionally, we highly encourage parties to reengage in FERPA training biannually to remain current with one's FERPA knowledge.

Use of students' email addresses is acceptable for academic and educational purposes; the students' oregonstate.edu addresses are the only officially recognized OSU email addresses and are available on Banner and Canvas rosters. Further, OSU-issued email addresses for faculty and staff are the only officially recognized email addresses and should be used for all university-related business. Email addresses other than OSU-issued email addresses are not directory information and cannot be released. Use of students' OSU-issued email addresses is acceptable for academic and educational purposes, and they must only be distributed to people who have an educational need to know.

Yes, it does. When you send email to a list of students in the To: line, then everyone can see all of the members on the list. It is important to exclude confidential students from the list. Then, you can send an individual email, with the same content as for all the other students.

Unfortunately, this does not display in Canvas. To check if a student is confidential, you will need to go to Online Services -> Faculty & Advisors -> Summary Class List. There you will see if a student is confidential, as displayed in the image below:



image showing how to see that a student is confidential

You cannot add the other instructor as a CanvasTA, as that instructor can see student education data to which they do not have an educational interest. However, you can still allow the instructor to see the course content by adding the instructor as a Designer. For more information on this, please contact the Canvas Support team.

You may post grades as long as only you and the individual student know who the grade is for. That is, you cannot use the students' names or their Student ID numbers. You can create a unique identifier (such as a number, NOT part of the Student ID number) for each of your students and post grades by that identifier. Be sure NOT to arrange the list in alphabetical order, even though the names are not printed.

Confidential status is not the same as anonymity. If a student fills out a confidentiality request at OSU, that means that OSU will not release any information, non-directory or directory, to anyone outside of OSU and/or anyone that does not have a legitimate educational interest. For example, if a confidential student does an internship for credit with a local school district, the internship supervisor would know that the person was a student at OSU because that supervisor has a legitimate educational interest since the supervisor would be providing input on the grade for credit. However, if that same school district asked for a list of graduating Education majors from which to recruit, we would not release that student's name.

Distributing students' exams and papers in this way violates their confidentiality by making confidential records available to the public. This is not an acceptable practice.

Yes, you can. However, there are some guidelines to consider. Please see this resource guide on how to do so while maintaining students' FERPA rights.

Yes, you can. You may ask to see documentation of a medical visit or other visit to justify the excuse. We, however, advocate that you do not keep the documentation, as then you become responsible for the proper and secure storage of the documentation.

You cannot discuss any specifics about the student's grades. Use a conditional response: "If a student in my class earned a D-, I would suggest…" You also can advise the parent on how the student can see their grades: Web or student transcript from the Office of the Registrar.

When someone becomes an OSU student, regardless of their age, they must consent to the release of their records. The K-12 FERPA rules do not apply to a student under the age of 18 who enrolls in an institution of higher education. The student must provide consent to release information, even to their parents.

While federal law authorizes the release of records to parents of dependent students, it does not require it. Oregon statute does not include release to parents as an authorized disclosure; since state law is more restrictive than the federal law, the university is bound by the state law. Without explicit student consent, only directory information may be released to parents of dependent or independent students. This includes those students who are under age 18.

Only the same information as if the person were still enrolled as a student. Be sure to check whether the student had requested record confidentiality before leaving the university; if so, the confidentiality remains in effect.

No. A student, whether current or former, remains confidential until they revoke the confidentiality request.

When a student dies, FERPA no longer applies, but since there may be other issues related to disclosure, the inquiry should be referred to the Office of the Registrar.

A student's permission is required to release their records to these representatives. Refer the caller to the Office of the Registrar.

The USA PATRIOT Act (2001) and other legislation specify guidelines for release of information. Refer all such inquiries to the Office of the Registrar so that we can assure appropriate compliance.

You can discuss information provided to you by the student, such as information from their resume, and information that you have gained in your academic relationship with the student. You cannot discuss any non-directory information (e.g. their grade in a course you taught) without the student's specific written consent.

It is best practice to have a clause about FERPA on your scholarship application to expedite this process. This phrase may read something like: "The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) protects students' privacy over their education records. With some scholarships, the donor wishes to know who received the scholarship, as well as information about the recipient. Additionally, our College wishes to publicly celebrate our recipients on our various media. Do you consent to the release of your scholarship application information for these purposes?"

Yes, major is directory information as are student name and current address. The current address is maintained by the student, and may be the student's address in Corvallis or at some other location. Other addresses are not releasable. You should address your request for this information to the Office of the Registrar. For more information on requesting information, see our Data Requests page.

Recognized Student Organizations should work with the Student Organizations and Activities Office (SOA) on submitting requests for this data. Information about submitting a request is available at https://clubs.oregonstate.edu/manage/data-requests or reach out to [email protected] for support.

Refer all such requests to the Office of the Registrar.

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