What are the basic rules?
Student educational records are considered confidential and may not be released without the written consent of the student. As a faculty or staff member you have a responsibility to protect educational records in your possession or those you encounter in your work.
There are a few exceptions to the rule stated above.
- Directory Information – FERPA allows institutions to define a set of information that would not generally be considered harmful if released publically as “Directory Information.” This information can be released without the student’s written permission, however, students may opt to consider this information confidential as well and it will be flagged as such in the student’s Banner record if the option is elected. If a student selects to block their directory information no information can be released at all.
Bates lists our defined “Directory Information” items each year in the Catalog: name; Bates identification (ID) number; class; address (campus, home, and e-mail); telephone listings; major and minor fields of study; participation in officially recognized sports, extracurricular activities, and off-campus study programs; dates of attendance; degrees, honors, and awards received from the College; and individually identifiable photographs and electronic images of the student solicited or maintained directly by Bates as part of the educational record.
Therefore, you may (but are not required to) release this “Directory Information” without consent provided you check to be a student who has opted-out of Directory Information is not included in your release.
- Legitimate Educational Interest – You have access to non-directory information educational records only for legitimate use to discharge your responsibilities as a College employee. Access is granted only to that information you “need to know” to do your job.
- Parents – Parents of students do not have automatic rights (as they did in elementary and secondary school); however, if the student is a dependent we may release records information unless the student has indicated otherwise. In general, it is a good idea to check with the Registrar’s office before releasing information to parents or any third party unless you have obtained permission of the student. If you see the word “Confidential” next to a name in Banner or Garnet Gateway there is some restriction in place and you must contact the Registrar and Academic Systems Services office before releasing any information.
- Health and Safety – Recent amendments to FERPA also allow the release of information in the event of a health or safety emergency. The release is authorized if it is, “necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals.” A record must be kept of the disclosure so contact Security or the Dean of Students Office in the event of an emergency and contact the Registrar’s Office following the disclosure to make a report.
If you are ever in doubt, do not release any information until you contact the Office of the Registrar at 207-755-5949 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next: FERPA Violations