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FERPA for Faculty and Staff

Why should I care about FERPA?

It is important as faculty/staff to know and understand what you can and cannot share with others about your students.

What does FERPA mean to me as Faculty/Staff?

Never release any non-directory information or non-public directory information* to a third party by posting it publicly (internet or printed) or any form of communication (verbal, email, forum, etc.). Non-directory information includes grades, class schedule, and academic standing to name a few.

*Students can request that directory information be confidential. In this case, you may not even acknowledge that the student attends the University.

What are the consequences of violating FERPA?

FERPA violations may result in the loss of federal funding for the University. Any breach of confidentiality could lead to disciplinary action, including the possibility of termination of employment.

Does Doane offering training on FERPA?

Yes.  United Educators has online training available for Faculty/Staff plus Workstudy Students.  The web based training only take about 10 minutes and provides a great overview of the FERPA basics.  The links provide directions on how to log into UE to complete the training.

What information is public?

The University is allowed to select some information about a student to make accessible to the public. This information is called "Directory Information." This allows individuals such as employers or insurance agents to verify enrollment. 

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Addresses: permanent, campus, local (off-campus), and email
  • Associated telephone numbers (home and cell)
  • Hometown and high school attended
  • Major and/or minor fields of study
  • Degree sought
  • Expected date of completion of degree requirements and graduation
  • Degrees conferred
  • Awards and Honors (e.g. Dean’s list)
  • Full or part time enrollment status
  • Dates of attendance
  • Previous institutions attended
  • Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
  • Weight and height of athletic team members
  • Photograph

Is Doane required to release a student's directory information?

No. The only required disclosure of educational records under FERPA is to the student. All other disclosures, including those with student consent and disclosures of directory information are at the discretion of the institution.

Can students have their directory information withheld from the public?

Yes. Non-disclosure means the University may not release any directory information about the student, except as permitted under the provisions of FERPA. The University may not even acknowledge to third parties that the person is a student.

Even though a student may have placed a FERPA restriction, the University has the right to share the student’s information, without the student’s authorization, with school officials who have a legitimate educational interest or in response to a judicial order or legally issued subpoena.

Is student information always classified?

No. Doane may disclose educational records under certain requirements and exceptions. These include:

  • The written consent of the student
  • School officials that have a legitimate educational interest
  • When there is an articulable and significant threat to the health or safety of a student or other individuals
  • When confirming information provided by a third party. 
  • Educational institutions where the student plans to enroll or transfer
  • Judicial orders or lawfully issued subpoena
  • Any records included under the directory information unless they have been restricted by the student
  • Parents if the students are Federal IRS dependents; proof of dependency is required
  • Third parties with written agreement in conjunction with the evaluation of federal or state supported educational programs

Can students give permission for others to see their academic records?

Yes.  In self-service students can designate others to have proxy access to their academic, financial aid, student accounts, and tax information.  Staff with access to Colleague can view these permissions.  Faculty/Staff that don't have access to Colleague can contact the Registrar's Office to see who has been granted permissions.

Who are University officials?

"University officials" are Doane employees or third parties under contract with Doane to achieve educational missions of the University. This includes but is not limited to faculty, staff, advisors, counselors, employment placement personnel, deans, department chairpersons, directors, safety office, health staff and development officers.

What is Legitimate Educational Interest?

A Doane employee has a legitimate educational interest if the person needs to review an educational record in order to fulfill their job responsibilities for Doane.

Can I share information over the phone?

  • Avoid discussing sensitive issues over the phone. Try to speak in person if possible.
  • Never leave a message with sensitive information.
  • For co-workers who are deemed University officials, use caution and reasonable effort to verify the identity of the caller.

Can I share information about the student in an email?

  • Do not put sensitive information in the subject line such as name or ID. Hackers can easily scan subject lines as well as anyone in close proximity.
  • Always blind copy (BCC) students when emailing a group of students.
  • Do not communicate grades or other sensitive information in an email. Instead, use Canvas, or self-service.
  • Always use appropriate and professional language in the message.

Can I share information on social media?

  • Picture and name are Directory information, however it is a best practice to ask the students permission prior to posting any information about them.

What can I share in a reference letter for a student?

The individual writing a letter or recommendation is permitted to include details about the student as long as the information falls is considered directory information and does not qualify as educational records.  For example, the writer can state, “Exceptional Student,” but cannot say, “Earned an A in my class.” However, the author may include non-directory information or non-public directory information in his letter if written consent from the student is first obtained.