FAQs for Faculty and Staff: Privacy of Student Records

Q: Where can I find more information pertaining to the confidentiality of student records? [show]

A: See Privacy of Student Records for information about your responsibility to maintain the privacy of student records in accordance with the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as Amended. At this location, you'll also find a link to an online FERPA training.

Q: Can I post a list of grades with student ID numbers? [show]

A: Under no circumstance should a list of student ID numbers and grades be posted. The student ID number and grades are confidential information, and posting them is a violation of FERPA. Posting of partially masked student ID numbers is not acceptable. Grades should not be posted using partially masked digits of a student number or social security number because even such a truncated number may constitute personally identifiable information.

Q: Can I distribute exams in a bin outside my office? [show]

A: No. Exams are considered confidential student records. You may not place graded, identifiable student work in the hallway or an unmonitored area for students to pick up.

Q: Can I share a student’s grades and evaluations with her parents? You receive a telephone call from the parent of a student. “My daughter is majoring in biology. I want to know what courses she took, the grades and evaluations she received, her GPA, and her current academic status. Can you please help me?” You have access to the student’s academic records. How would you respond to the parent? [show]

A: Under no circumstance should you release to inquisitive parents, or any other third party, a student’s course work, grades, evaluations, GPA, or academic standing. This information is confidential and requires a written authorization from the student to release.

Q: A parent telephones your office in desperation. “I need to contact my son. His sister was seriously injured in an accident. Can you please give me his class schedule?” You have access to the student’s schedule. How would you respond in this instance? [show]

A: While from a humanitarian standpoint you will be tempted to provide the student’s schedule; class schedules are not public information and cannot be released to a third party. You can release the student’s local telephone number (unless they’ve requested a non-release of public information). You could also attempt to contact the student yourself via a note in their mailbox, or on their residence hall door if they live on campus.

Q: You’ve assigned students to sections. To convey this information to students, you decide to post a list with student ID numbers and section assignments outside your office and/or on the web. Is this acceptable? [show]

A: As with the scenario above, posting student ID numbers is not acceptable. Furthermore, the enrollment of a student in a class or section is not public information. The specifics of a student’s schedule would make a student’s location easily traceable. Rather than posting section lists, notify students of their section assignments via email using a suppressed e-mail alias.

Q: Are the student ID photos on the class roster considered public information? [show]

A: No. The student ID photo on the class roster is defined by UC Santa Cruz as confidential. This photo is intended to assist instructors and authorized staff in identifying students and is to be used for no further purpose.

Q: How do I take the FERPA training and access my certificate of completion? [show]

A: A link to the FERPA tutorial can be found on the Privacy of Student Records page, or you can navigate to the training as follows:

1. Go to http://learningcenter.ucsc.edu. Please read the information regarding supported browsers and disabling pop-up blockers.

2. Click Employee Login.

3. Log in with your CruzID and Gold password.

4. Click the Catalog button.

5. Click the UC Essentials heading.

6. Click on the e-course FERPA.

7. Click Start to begin the course. If you are requesting access to student records, please follow these instructions to save your certificate of completion.


Revised: 01/22/14

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