Many of the commonly asked questions concerning FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) are listed below. Visit the FERPA glossary for definition of italicized terms. For additional questions, contact One-Stop Student Services.
All University faculty are considered school officials and are required by law to maintain the confidentiality of student records. Any school official who maintains specific records is considered a record custodian. At the University of North Florida, the University Registrar is the official custodian for academic records.
The release of any non-directory information about a student to any person outside the University community or to any University personnel without a legitimate educational interest violates federal and state law, as well as University regulations.
All Enrollment Services employees who work with student records must sign the FERPA Agreement. This document explains that academic records may only be disclosed to or discussed with individuals with legitimate educational interest. Other staff and faculty on campus may be asked to complete the FERPA agreement prior to obtaining authorization to access student information. To complete the agreement, log on to myWings and click on Employee Self-Service. Select the Personal Information tab at the top and click on "FERPA Agreement" in the menu. Carefully review the document and acknowledge your agreement at the bottom.
All UNF offices should consider developing a procedure for handling confidential academic records and ensuring that all staff are educated in these procedures. In addition, we strongly encourage you to require staff to acknowledge their understanding of such protocol in writing.
All faculty must utilize reasonable measures to preserve the confidentiality, security and integrity of University of North Florida information systems and the information contained therein. All teaching staff should practice appropriate security measures:
In addition, faculty should take reasonable measures to restrict unauthorized persons from viewing confidential academic record information. For example, you should:
You may share graded papers and exams only with the student, with others upon receiving the student's consent or with University officials in performance of official duties. Student papers or exams should not be left outside an office door where students must look through all the papers to find their own; students should not have access to other students' grades. While you may return papers and/or examinations by mail, the safest practice is to return papers personally to the student.
You can circulate an attendance roster, but it should not contain confidential information such as social security number, UNF ID number, and/or grades.
It depends. In general, a written release is recommended, not required, for letters sent to other educational institutions to which the student is applying and to professional school admission services. The release is required, however, when the recommendation is sent to an employer or to an individual for another purpose. (A release form is provided for your use; refer to the PDF at top of this page.)
Faculty may include information from personal observation or knowledge without the student's consent, but it is not acceptable for faculty to access a student's record to view grades/information from other classes and terms. If the recommendation will include non-directory/personally identifiable information (grades, GPA, class rank, etc.) obtained from the student’s academic record, you should obtain a signed release from the student. Releases should specify the information that may be disclosed, the identity of the party(ies) to whom the disclosure can be made, the student's signature and the date.
It is recommended for faculty and staff to add this confidentiality statement to their e-mail signature:
CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This electronic mail transmission and any documents accompanying it may contain confidential information, protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Please protect the privacy of this information and do not forward this e-mail. If you have received this transmission in error, please immediately notify the sender to arrange for the return of the message and any attached documents.
Communicating with faculty, staff, and students via personal e-mail addresses is discouraged although not prohibited. For security and accountability purposes, it is recommended that someone communicate via e-mail with others using UNF e-mail addresses only.
This does not qualify as legitimate educational interest. Faculty cannot review a student’s previous academic history before assigning a final grade.
If you keep attendance records, check with One-Stop Student Services to determine whether the parent has provided the student's written consent or appropriate IRS documentation indicating the student's dependency status. If so, you may release the information; if not, refer the parent to One-Stop Student Services.
You should not discuss the progress or performance of a student with anyone, including parents and other faculty, without the student's consent. Inquiries to faculty regarding previous student performance do not constitute a legitimate educational interest. In this case, you can contact One-Stop Students Services to determine if the student has a prior academic honesty violation.
You should not provide anyone with lists of students enrolled in your class(es) for any commercial purpose. Such requests should be forwarded to the Registrar's Office for review and response.
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