Registrar’s Office Issues FERPA Reminder To Faculty and Staff
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as Amended is the federal law protecting the educational records of all students.
Commonly referred to as FERPA, it is important every person who works with student educational records understand what an educational record is, what information within that record may be disclosed and to whom it may be disclosed.
Directory information refers to items of information contained in the educational record which may be released without the student’s prior, written consent. Texas A&M University defines the following items as directory information:
- Address (Local)
- Address (Permanent)
- Telephone Number (Local)
- Telephone Number (Permanent)
- E-mail Address
- Program of Study (College, Major, Campus)
- Dates of Attendance
- Previous Educational Agencies/Institutions Attended
- Participation in Officially Recognized Activities and Sports
- Degrees, Honors, and Awards Received
Students may place a directory hold on any or all of this information at https://myrecord.tamu.edu. Once the student has placed a hold on his or her directory information, this information may not be released without the prior, written consent of the student.
Securing Student Confidential and Sensitive Personal Information (Standard Administrative Procedure 24.99.99.M1.24)
Since 2003, there have been eight separate incidents reported to Computing and Information Services (CIS) in which confidential student information was accidentally released. In one incident, a spreadsheet containing confidential student information was inadvertently mailed electronically to over 1,300 undergraduate students in an email attachment. In four other incidents, grading spreadsheets containing randomly assigned IDs were posted on the Internet that also included personal information within either hidden columns or additional worksheets tabs. Anyone with access to the spreadsheets could unhide the columns or view the confidential student information on the extra worksheets. Year 2007 incidents in which potential release of confidential or Sensitive Personal Information and grades included the loss or theft of thumb drives and laptop computers.
Encrypting student information on all computing devices is highly recommended. Ask your department computing specialist for assistance or go to http://itim.tamu.edu/encryption/ for more information about this technology.
In addition, a university Standard Administrative Procedure (SAP) concerning notification of unauthorized disclosure of sensitive personal information was approved July 27, 2006, and is posted on the TAMU Rules Web site: http://rules-saps.tamu.edu/PDFs/24.99.99.M1.24.pdf
Posting of Grades by Faculty
FERPA requires student grades be accessible only to individual students and other authorized personnel. Posting grades in a secure course management system like Blackboard Vista (Bb Vista, formerly WebCT
Vista) is the preferred method for distributing grades online at Texas A&M University. Instructional Technology Services (ITS) would like to remind faculty of the secure, online technologies available on campus for delivering student grades.
ITS is available to support faculty in adhering to university regulations, especially in terms of incorporating new technologies. If you would like more information about using the Bb Vista Grade Book, contact ITS at 862-3977 or email email@example.com.
Additional Information and Questions
Please go to http://admissions.tamu.edu/Registrar/FacultyStaff/Default.aspx and select “Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)” from the menu on the left. There you will find general information and an online tutorial. If you have any questions, please contact the Office of the Registrar, Records Section at 979-845-1003 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
Office of the Registrar
College Station, TX 77843-0100
Enclosure – Quick Checklist for FERPA and Security
Texas A&M University
Quick Checklist for FERPA and SECURITY Reminders for FACULTY
DO NOT link the name of a student with that student’s social security number or institutional identification number (UIN) in any public manner including posting of grades or printed attendance rosters.
DO NOT leave graded tests or papers in a stack for students to pick-up by sorting through the tests or papers of all students.
DO NOT discuss the progress of any student with anyone other than the student (including parents/guardians) without the consent of the student.
DO NOT provide anyone with lists of students enrolled in classes for any commercial purpose.
DO NOT provide anyone with student schedules or assist anyone other than professional university employees in finding a student on campus.
DO post grades using secure technology (http://itsinfo.tamu.edu/ or email@example.com or 862-3977)
DO encrypt all student sensitive personal and confidential information http://itim.tamu.edu/encryption/.