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Privacy of Student Records and FERPA

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law which affords applicants and students certain rights with respect to their educational records. The intent of this law is to protect the privacy of students and their records.

U.S. Dept. of Education FERPA website 

FERPA provides students the right to:

  • Inspect and review their education records
  • Request an amendment to their education records if they believe there is an inaccuracy
  • Restrict any or all information from public access
  • File a complaint with the Family Policy Compliance Office if they feel the University has failed to follow FERPA guidelines

Please note, certain records may be removed from student files pursuant to the State of Florida Retention Schedule for Public Universities and Colleges (GS5).

FERPA Glossary FERPA Policies UNF FERPA Video FERPA and Virtual Learning during COVID-19

 

FERPA for Students

Many of the commonly asked questions concerning FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) are listed below. Visit the FERPA glossary for definitions of italicized terms. For additional questions, contact One-Stop Student Services.

After reading about FERPA and considering examples of directory information, if you wish to set your account to restrict directory information, log in to myWings:

  • Click on the Student Records box
  • Select Student Self-Service
  • Choose Student Records
  • Select Non-Disclosure Request
  • What is FERPA?

    The 1974 Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, also known as the Buckley Amendment, is a federal law (20 U.S.C. 1232g) that protects the privacy of a student's education record. FERPA applies to all educational institutions receiving funds from the United States Department of Education, from kindergarten through university level.

    At the University of North Florida, the privacy of academic records is also protected by Florida Statute, Section 1002.221 (2009) and University Policy 2.0620P.

    The U.S. Department of Education summarizes the rights afforded to students by FERPA as follows:

    • The right to inspect and review their educational records.
    • The right to request an amendment to educational records due to inaccuracies
    • The right to restrict any or all information from public access
    • The right to file a complaint with the Family Policy Compliance Office if they feel their FERPA rights have been violated.

    FERPA requires universities to provide students with annual notification of these rights. UNF's annual notification is published in the University catalogs, the student handbook, and our Web site. Students also receive a yearly email. Students who suspect that a FERPA violation has occurred may contact the Family Policy Compliance Office within the U.S. Department of Education.

  • What is an Education Record?

    Education records are any records, files, documents and other materials in paper or electronic form that contain information related to a student's education and are maintained by an educational institution.

    Examples of an academic record include, but are not limited to:

    • Biographical information including date and place of birth, gender, nationality, information about race and ethnicity, and identification photographs
    • Grades, test scores, evaluations, courses taken, academic specialization and activities, and official communications regarding your status
    • Coursework including papers and exams, class schedules, as well as written email or recorded communications that are part of the academic process
    • Disciplinary records
    • Financial aid and financial aid records
    • Internship program records

    Education records do not include:

    • Sole possession records that are used only as memory aids and not shared with others
    • Law enforcement unit records
    • Employment records, unless the employment is dependent on the employee's status as a student (such as evaluations of graduate assistants)
    • Medical records
    • Records that only contain information about an individual after he or she is no longer a student at that agency or institution
  • What is Personally Identifiable Information?
    Personally identifiable information is any information (directory and non-directory information) easily traced to the student, and may include name, name of parents or family members, address, social security or UNF N number, grades, GPA, class schedules, transcripts, a list of personal characteristics, or any other information that clearly distinguishes the student's identity.
  • What is Directory Information?

    Directory information is the information available about a student that is not considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. While FERPA and state law protect the privacy of education records, directory information is not treated as confidential and may be disclosed by the university without student consent unless the student requests non-disclosure. At UNF, the following has been designated as directory information:

    • Name
    • Mailing Address
    • Telephone number
    • Dates of attendance
    • Admitted College / Majors
    • Degrees Awarded
    • Status (Full or Part-Time)
    • Classification (freshman, sophomore, etc)
    • Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
    • Honors
    • Weight/ Height of athletes
    • Student images, including photographs, videos, or any other media containing a student's image or likeness

    Requests for student directory information should be submitted to the University Registrar. The cost is $75.

  • What is non-directory Information?

    Non-directory information refers to information that generally cannot be released without the student's consent. This includes:

    • Birth date
    • Religion
    • Social Security Number
    • Citizenship
    • Disciplinary status
    • Ethnicity
    • Gender
    • GPA (grade point average)
    • Marital status
    • Grades/exam scores
    • Standardized test scores
  • When do a student's rights under FERPA end?

    A student's privacy rights expire upon death. Because FERPA rights are no longer extended to deceased students, Federal law allows the institution to exercise its own discretion in deciding whether or not, and under what circumstances, a student's education records should be disclosed to family members or other third parties. Requests for education records of a deceased student should be made to the Office of the Registrar and be for either business purposes or at the request of the estate.

FERPA for Parents

Privacy rights afforded under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) change significantly once a student enters a post-secondary institution. The same laws that give parents access to and control over a child’s education records during elementary and high school transfer ownership of the records to the student at the college level.
  • How do FERPA rights change as a student enters a post-secondary institution?
    According to FERPA, when a student reaches 18 years old or enrolls at a post-secondary institution (such as a university or college), the rights previously afforded to the parents of a student transfer to the student. Education record information (including financial information) is only shared with the student, not the parent. Third party access is permitted with an authorization from the student.
  • How do I access my student's academic record?

    Parents are encouraged to ask their students for academic information if it's needed. A student can also authorize faculty and staff to provide parents with protected information on a case-by-case basis or grant access through the Parent Portal.

    Instructions for Students

    1. Log in to myWings
    2. Select Student Records box
    3. Select Student Self-Service
    4. Select Student Records, then Parent Access.
    5. Read the information contained on the page and then click on the Add Parent link toward the bottom of the page.
    6. If you know your parent's UNF ID (N-number), enter it in the field titled UNF ID and select the best match for the relationship between you and this person. When you have finished, click Add.
    7. An on-screen confirmation message will be seen. Select the appropriate response.
      • If you do not know your parent's UNF ID (N-number) or if your parent does not have an N-number, click on the Create Account Invitation link.
      • On the Parent Account Invitation screen, enter all of the information requested and click Submit.
       
    8. If a parent already has a myWings account due to a prior history with UNF (i.e. s/he is a former employee or student) skip to Instructions for Parents below. If not, an email will be sent to you with important information. Forward the email to the person you identified in the system. That person will need to complete the registration process.

    Notes

    • After the parent has been established in the system, you may edit what your parent can see. If you need to change the default values, click the Edit link and indicate your selections. Click on the HELP link in the upper right-hand corner for more information regarding what details are contained in each category.
    • You may not delete a person from your parent list, but you may restrict access to your information through the edit function.
    • The permission to access student's information will expire at the end of December each year, as noted on the screen. Students will need to follow these same instructions each year to renew their permissions.
  • What is the Parent Portal?

    The Parent Portal is a tool that permits students to provide secure online access to several components of their education record. If your student elects to provide you with access to the records, s/he may do so through the myWings portal on the Student Records menu.

    For more information regarding the Parent Portal, including how to sign up, please refer to the Parent Portal Guide.

  • Are there any exceptions that would allow me to gain access to my student's information?

    Parents are strongly encouraged to contact their student regarding an education record.

    Education record information is only shared with the student and may not be shared with the parent, except in the following circumstances:

    1. The student elects to give parent access through the Parent Portal or authorizes the release of information on a case-by-case basis by submitting a release form available in One-Stop Student Services.
    2. The only requested information is directory information, and the student has not selected non-disclosure.
    3. The information is released in response to a lawful subpoena.
  • How do I obtain information regarding my student's education record if I qualify for one of these exceptions?
    Education record information can be shared only with an authorized third party, in person, with photo ID presented. Information cannot be shared via email or telephone.
  • What is directory information?

    Directory information is available student information that is not considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. While FERPA and state law protect the privacy of education records, directory information is not treated as confidential and may be disclosed by the university without student consent, unless the student requests non-disclosure. At UNF, the following has been designated as directory information:

    • Name
    • Mailing Address
    • Telephone number
    • Dates of attendance
    • Admitted College / Majors
    • Degrees Awarded
    • Status (Full or Part-Time)
    • Classification (freshman, sophomore, etc)
    • Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
    • Honors
    • Weight / Height of athletes
    • Student images, including photographs, videos, or any other media containing a student's image or likeness
  • How can I contact my student in the event of a family emergency?
    Class schedule information is protected and can only be shared with the student. If there is an emergency, contact the University Police Department. An officer will obtain the student's schedule and notify the student of the emergency situation or ask the student to contact the parent.
  • Will I be contacted if my student is sick or hurt? What about a student facing academic trouble or disciplinary action?

    In most cases, UNF will not contact you or provide medical, academic, or disciplinary information without your student's permission. In the case of an extreme emergency, where the health of your son or daughter is in serious jeopardy, or if there is a concern that s/he poses a threat to him or herself or to someone else, the university may contact you. As a general guideline, if your child is able to communicate about the situation, it is up to him/her to decide whether and how to discuss the issues.

  • Does making tuition payments give me access to my student's academic record?
    No. A student's privacy is protected regardless of who pays tuition.
  • May I contact an instructor on behalf of my student?
    Unless the student has specifically authorized the instructor to speak to a third party, the instructor is prohibited from sharing information regarding the student's performance in a class.
  • May I access my student's medical or counseling records?
    FERPA regulations protect a student's education records and do not include physical or mental health records. Medical and counseling records are protected under other policies, laws, and professional ethics standards. In general, physical and mental health professionals will not share information with a parent except in emergency situations. Students with medical or counseling records can elect to share those records with third parties.
  • How do I find out more information about FERPA?
    Click for additional information about FERPA.
  • When do a student's rights under FERPA end?

    A student's privacy rights expire upon death. Because FERPA rights are no longer extended to deceased students, federal law allows the institution to exercise its own discretion in deciding whether or not, and under what circumstances, a student's education records should be disclosed to family members or other third parties. Requests for education records of a deceased student should be made to the Office of the Registrar and should be for either business purposes or at the request of the estate.

FERPA for Staff

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.

 

  • What are my responsibilities regarding student records?

    All university employees are considered school officials and are required by law to maintain the confidentiality of student records. Any employee who maintains specific records is considered a record custodian. At the University of North Florida, the University Registrar is the records custodian for academic records.

    The release of any non-directory information about a student to any person outside the university community, with specific exceptions, or to any university personnel without a legitimate educational interest violates federal and state law, as well as university regulations.

  • What can be disclosed without a student's consent?

    In certain instances, the law does not require the university to obtain student consent before disclosing information from an academic record. The most common examples of disclosure that do not require your consent include:

    • Disclosures to school officials with a legitimate educational interest
    • Disclosures to other institutions where student is enrolled or is seeking to enroll
    • Disclosures in connection with the receipt of financial aid (validating eligibility)
    • Disclosures to state/local officials in conjunction with legislative requirements
    • Disclosures to organizations conducting studies to improve instruction, or to accrediting organizations
    • Disclosures in compliance with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena (UNF will make a reasonable attempt to notify students of disclosures to their parents or disclosures in response to a subpoena.)
    • Disclosures for a health/safety emergency
    • Disclosures of information from disciplinary proceedings to the alleged victims of violent crimes or sexual offenses
    • Disclosures of name, sanction, and outcome of disciplinary proceedings (public information), when a student has been found in violation of a crime of violence
  • Can parents access their son or daughter's academic record?

    When a student reaches 18 years of age or applies to a post-secondary institution such as the University of North Florida, the rights afforded to the parents of a student automatically transfer to the student. However, parents may have access to the academic record if:

    • the student provides access to certain areas of his/her student account through the Parent Portal.
    • the information requested is directory information and the student has not selected non-disclosure.
    • the information is released in response to a lawful subpoena.

    The university is required to keep a record of each request for access to and disclosure from student records.

  • What are the consequences for violating FERPA?

    Under federal law, FERPA violations may result in the loss of federal funding for UNF. Under state law, both UNF and you personally may be sued. Any breach of confidentiality could lead to disciplinary action, including the possibility of termination of employment.

  • Must I formally acknowledge that I understand FERPA?

    All Enrollment Services employees must sign the Confidentiality of Student Records statement. This document explains that student records may only be disclosed to or discussed with individuals with legitimate educational interest. After signing this statement, it becomes part of the employee's file.

    All UNF offices should consider developing a procedure for handling confidential student 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.

  • What should I do if I receive a call about a student with a confidentiality hold?

    If a caller requests information about a student who has a confidentiality hold, you cannot provide any information about that student; in fact, you cannot even acknowledge that the individual is a UNF student. Any student who has placed a privacy hold on their record must conduct all business in person after presenting photo identification. A staff member may communicate with a student via the UNF email account if non-disclosure has been requested, but confidential disclosures should be kept to a minimum as part of general email protocol. If there is any question regarding whether or not specific information can, or should, be provided, always err on the side of caution and consult your supervisor.

  • Do student employees have to maintain the confidentiality of student records?

    Student employees have the same obligations to maintain the confidentiality of student records as any other employee. Enrollment Services student employees are required to sign the Confidentiality of Student Records statement before they can access student records. Student employees receive FERPA training in their student employee handbook and from their supervisors. When working with student records, a student assistant should work cooperatively with the supervisor to ensure FERPA compliance. It is always best for students to ask questions and err on the side of caution when dealing with the release of any information.

    All UNF offices who hire student assistants should consider developing a procedure for handling confidential student records and ensuring that all staff are educated in these procedures. In addition, we strongly encourage you to require student staff to acknowledge their understanding of such protocol in writing.

  • What standard security practices must I follow?

    All staff must utilize reasonable measures to preserve the confidentiality, security, and integrity of University of North Florida information systems and the information contained therein. All UNF staff should practice appropriate security measures:

    • Never disclose, share, or loan your username(s) and password(s) to anyone (e.g., another employee, faculty member, supervisor, student assistant, etc.)
    • Never use generic/group IDs when accessing confidential academic record information.
    • Ensure that remote access to and retrieval and transmission of confidential academic record information is accomplished through a secure and encrypted connection.

    In addition, staff should take reasonable measures to restrict unauthorized persons from viewing confidential academic record information. For example, you should:

    • Never leave your computer workstation unattended while signed on without appropriate screen locking (e.g., a password-protected screen saver).
    • Never leave personal logon information (e.g., username, password, network mapping, etc.) in view of unauthorized persons.
    • Never program (or "hot-key") automatic access to confidential academic record systems.
  • Are electronic records and data protected by FERPA?

    FERPA protects the privacy of all education records, regardless of the medium in which those records are maintained.

    The increasing use of computerized record-keeping systems, and the resulting replacement of paper documents with electronic data, is likely to increase the volume of electronic education records. Therefore, it is important to remember that the same principles of confidentiality apply to paper records and to electronic data.

  • How should I handle a subpoena?
    Please contact the Office of the General Counsel for advice on how to proceed with handling a subpoena. UNF General Counsel is located in J.J. Daniel Hall, Building 1, Room 2100. The phone number is (904) 620-2828.
  • How should I handle a power of attorney?
    If all legal requirements are met, the individual (often a parent) listed on the power of attorney will be treated in the same manner as would the student. For access to academic records, One-Stop Student Services requires a notarized power of attorney that specifically authorizes access to academic records or is a general power of attorney that covers any and all documents. If you have any questions about evaluating a Power of Attorney, please contact the Office of the General Counsel, located in J.J. Daniel Hall, Building 1, Room 2100. The phone number is (904) 620-2828.
  • How should I handle a media request?

    If you are contacted by or are working with the news media, you should seek the assistance of Media Relations.

  • How should I handle information requests for research studies and surveys?
    UNF often receives requests for student information to include in studies. If you receive such a request, refer the requestor to the Office of Institutional Research.
  • What information can I provide to military recruiters?

    The Solomon Amendment is a federal law that governs the type of student data (defined as recruitment information) that may be released to military recruiters without student consent. Under this law, the following has been designated as recruitment information: student name, addresses, email address provided by the institution, telephone numbers, date and place of birth, level of education, academic major, degrees received, and the most recent previous educational institution attended. 

    No other information should be released to a military recruiter without the student's written permission. In addition, no information, including recruitment information, should be released about a student who has a privacy hold on his or her record. 

    The Solomon Amendment provides a significant exception to FERPA, which typically would prohibit non-consensual release of student data not previously designated as directory information, such as date and place of birth. Under the Solomon Amendment, the university must comply with requests from military recruiters for student recruitment information, even if that information has not been designated directory information under FERPA. Please note, however, that the university is required to respond to requests to each branch of the armed services only once a term. For questions regarding requests for release of student information to military recruiters, please contact the University Registrar.

  • Should I add anything to my email signature about student confidentiality?

    It is recommended for faculty and staff to add this confidentiality statement to their email 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 email. 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.

  • What are the guidelines regarding communicating with faculty, staff, and students via their personal email addresses rather than UNF email addresses?

    Communicating with faculty, staff, and students via personal email addresses is strongly discouraged although not prohibited. For security and accountability purposes, it is recommended that someone communicate via email with others using UNF email addresses only. Staff may communicate with students who have requested non-disclosure only if the UNF email address is used. The staff member should always err on the side of caution and may opt to not provide information via email if s/he believes the information should not be released via that method and that the student should come into the office instead.

  • Privacy Holds

    Example: A student who has a privacy hold calls and wishes to speak with you about his record. Can you discuss his record over the phone?

    Answer: A student with a privacy hold must conduct all business in person after presenting photo identification.

  • Directory vs Non-Directory Information

    Example: You receive a call from parents who inform you that they have been paying for their son to attend UNF every term for the last three years. They are concerned because they don’t hear much from him about school. They tell you that they suspect their son may no longer be enrolled. You look up his record and learn that he was dismissed more than a year ago. How do you respond to the parents?

    Answer: As a general rule, the University must obtain the student's written consent before releasing information that is a part of his education record. However, there is an exception for directory information, which can be released to third parties without the student's consent. Because dates of attendance are considered directory information, you can release the student's dates of attendance; however, you cannot disclose that he was dismissed from the university since that information is non-directory information and, therefore, confidential. If the parents want additional information, you must explain that you can release directory information only.

  • Admission Decision

    Example: Your neighbor's daughter has not received word on her admission to UNF. As a personal favor, your neighbor asks you to look up her admissions status in the student records system. Is this appropriate?

    Answer: No. You can access only those academic records for which you have a legitimate educational interest during the performance of your official university duties. You should never access confidential information for personal reasons; doing so can put your employment at risk.

  • Academic Records

    Example: Mr. and Mrs. Smith have just enrolled their 17-year-old son, Tom, as a full-time student at UNF. Without his knowledge, Mr. and Mrs. Smith contact One-Stop Student Services and demand to see Tom's academic record. Should One-Stop Student Services disclose these records to his parents?

    Answer: No. FERPA protects the records of students attending the university. Even though Tom is a minor, only Tom, not his parents, has the right to inspect and review his academic record.

  • Family Emergencies

    Example: You get a frantic phone call from an individual who says that he is a student's father and must get in touch with her immediately because of a family emergency. Can you tell him when and where her next class is?

    Answer: No. Student schedules are not directory information at UNF. If he needs to reach the student right away, refer him to the University Police Department or One-Stop Student Services and they will contact the student if deemed necessary.

  • Lawyer Requesting Information

    Example: Laura Lawyer calls you to request information about a student for a case. Should you answer her questions? 

    Answer: No. You should not disclose confidential information to anyone without the student's consent. You should refer this call to the Office of the General Counsel.

FERPA for Faculty

Many of the commonly asked questions concerning FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) are listed below. Visit the FERPA glossary for definitions of italicized terms. For additional questions, contact One-Stop Student Services.

 

  • What are my responsibilities regarding student records?

    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.

  • What are the consequences for violating FERPA?
    Under federal law, FERPA violations may result in the loss of federal funding for UNF. Under state law, both UNF and you personally may be sued. Any breach of confidentiality could lead to disciplinary action, including the possibility of termination of employment.
  • Must I formally acknowledge that I understand FERPA?

    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 the Employee Resources box, then 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.

  • Can I access student academic records?
    Faculty must have a legitimate educational interest in order to access a student's academic record.
  • What are appropriate ways to notify students of their grades?
    • Please assign or allow students to choose a unique and confidential identifier (e.g., a 4-digit number). This unique identifier cannot be part of the student's name, UNFID, or social security number.
    • Grade lists must be posted in random, not alphabetical, order.
    • Web-based course management systems such as Canvas can be used to post grades if the system is secured by username and password. For assistance with Canvas grade posting, please contact CIRT.
    • The Registrar's Office does not recommend sending grades by email because there is no guarantee of confidentiality with electronic transmission.
    • You can send grades via fax or by telephone only if you are certain that the student is the one receiving the information. To verify the student's identity, you should confirm personally identifiable information with the student.
    • You may also mail students their final grades. Have students provide self-addressed, stamped envelopes. You may not send grade notification using a postcard.
  • What standard security practices must I follow?

    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:

    • Never disclose, share, or loan your username(s) and password(s) to anyone (e.g., another employee, faculty member, supervisor, student assistant, etc.). Department staff or supervising faculty should obtain individual log-on information for graduate/teaching assistants. Security access for the student records system is available from Enrollment Services.
    • Never use generic/group IDs when accessing confidential academic record information.

    In addition, faculty should take reasonable measures to restrict unauthorized persons from viewing confidential academic record information. For example, you should:

    • Never leave your computer workstation unattended while signed on without appropriate screen locking (e.g., a password-protected screen saver)
    • Never leave personal logon information (e.g., username, password, network mapping, etc.) in view of unauthorized persons
    • Never program (or ‘hot-key’) automatic access to confidential academic record systems
  • What are acceptable methods for returning papers or exams?

    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.

  • Can I circulate a class attendance roster?

    You can circulate an attendance roster, but it should not contain confidential information such as social security number, UNF ID number, and/or grades.

  • Can I discuss my students with other faculty?
    Faculty should discuss a student’s academic record only with that student or with University employees in the performance of official duties.
  • Can I post my students’ email addresses?
    Faculty who utilize electronic teaching tools such as Canvas may wish to share students' email addresses or other personally identifiable information with others in the same class. This is permissible as long as students have an opportunity to decline. No information should be posted or disclosed for students with non-disclosure.
  • Am I required to obtain a release prior to writing a letter of recommendation for a student?

    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.  

    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.

  • How can I work at home while adhering to FERPA?
    Documents containing non-directory information should be returned to the office as soon as possible for proper storage or destruction. Electronic files containing non-directory information stored on a flash drive should be password-protected, in case the drive is lost or stolen.
  • Are comments stored on Canvas protected under FERPA?
    Instructor comments stored on Canvas are considered sole possession records. However, if a teaching assistant is assigned to the course and is able to view the comments, they become education records and are protected under FERPA.
  • Should I add anything to my email signature about student confidentiality?

    It is recommended for faculty and staff to add this confidentiality statement to their email 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 email. 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.

  • What are the guidelines regarding communicating with faculty, staff, and students via their personal email addresses rather than UNF email addresses?

    Communicating with faculty, staff, and students via personal email addresses is discouraged although not prohibited. For security and accountability purposes, it is recommended that someone communicate via email with others using UNF email addresses only.


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