FERPA Danger Zones

  1. Circulation of printed class lists.  Do not circulate a printed class list with student names, student ID numbers, or grades, as an attendance roster.  You may circulate a list of printed names only for students to sign off for attendance.
  2. Discussing student progress.  Do not discuss the progress of any student with anyone other than the student without the consent of the student (e.g., parents, employers, other students), unless it is with an administrator with a legitimate educational interest.
  3. Class lists.  Do not provide anyone with lists of students enrolled in your classes, especially for commercial purposes.
  4. Student schedules/finding a student's class.  Do not provide anyone with student schedules or assist anyone other than university employees in finding a student on campus. Please contact legal counsel or the chief of security if law enforcement is requesting the information.
  5. Confidential information.  Do not disclose confidential information to a third party without WRITTEN authorization from the student.
  6. Student A and Student B.  Do not include any personally identifiable information about student “A” in student “B’s” record without student "A’s" written permission.
  7. Letters of reference for students.  Do not include FERPA protected information in a letter of reference without the student’s written permission (this includes the student’s GPA or grade in your class).  Obtain an email (can be informal) from the student requesting the reference before providing the information.  When providing a reference, never provide personal information about the student, only provide academic information, and personal observation information related to academics.
  8. Leaving a stack of graded tests.  Do not leave graded tests in a stack for students to pick up by sorting through the papers of all students. You may leave them with an assistant and/or receptionist to give out to the students, and you may place each test in a sealed envelope with the student’s name on it.
  9. Student identifying numbers. Do not require students to use social security numbers, student ID numbers, birthdays, phone numbers, auto tag numbers, or derivatives of those numbers.
  10. Linking names of students.  Do not link the name of a student with that student's ID number in any public manner.
  11. Posting grades.  Do not post grades, even if coded, in alphabetical order or any other recognizable order.
  12. Photographs of students.  Do not circulate or post student photos.  You may post photos of student activity in class with student authorization for special projects, and only for a limited period of time.