Student Privacy & FERPA for Staff
Indiana University is committed to the protection and confidentiality of student educational records, adhering closely to the guidelines established by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law designed to protect the privacy of education records, to establish the right of students to inspect and review their education records, and to provide guidelines for the correction of inaccurate and misleading data through informal and formal hearings. For information about the campus policies check out the links below:
A FERPA Basics Training class, conducted by the Office of the Registrar, is offered at least once each term. This training includes a presentation and time for addressing questions on specific issues. You can also download the FERPA Basics presentation for more information.
The FERPA Tutorial is designed to give staff a base-level knowledge of the rules governing release of student information. The tutorial must be completed before access to student records is granted. The tutorial will take approximately 10-15 minutes to complete.
In addition, don't miss our Frequently Asked Questions page, which contains a trove of often-asked questions (and answers!) about FERPA that we've compiled over the years.
Email is not secure. While we do have to conduct university business, we need to take precautions in how we communicate within the university community. Restricted information such as grades, GPA, or personally identifiable information such as Social Security number should never be sent through email. When communicating via email about several students, use slashtmp.iu.edu which provides encryption protection.
In addition to these tips, there is a policy in place that restricts sending emails to the entire student population without getting prior approval. The BFC Policy on Mass Email addresses mass email procedures and restrictions as outlined by the Bloomington Faculty Council.
IU Bloomington has specific procedures regarding faculty access to student information and student systems. Details can be discussed with the school dean or the unit's Access Coordinator.
Student Release Forms
In order to release student records information to a third party (including parents), a student must provide written consent. Release forms should include: what records may be disclosed (e.g., admission status, grades), purpose of the disclosure (e.g., supporting job searches), names of party or class of parties to whom the disclosure may be made (e.g., parents), time period or event in which consent applies (e.g., while the student is a University Division student), signature of the student and date. If you would like assistance as you create a release form, please contact the Office of the Registrar.
If non-directory information is needed to resolve a crisis or emergency situation, an education institution may release that information if the institution determines that the information is "necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals." In the case of an emergency, contact the appropriate individuals (e.g., IU Police Department, Dean of Students, the Provost, or IU Health Center) and keep a record of with whom you spoke, when you called, what you spoke about and describe the situation that led you to make this call in the first place.
Letters of recommendation
Written permission of the student is required for a letter of recommendation if any information included in the recommendation is part of the "education record" (grades, GPA and other non-directory information) or pertains to student performance, such as his/her rank in the class. Statements made from personal observation or knowledge do not require a signed release.
The following sources of information regarding FERPA implementation and compliance are also available:
- U.S. Department of Education FERPA Guide
- Indiana University Policy Office-Protecting Sensitive Data Resources
- State of Indiana Data Protection Laws
Questions and comments regarding FERPA may be directed to the Office of the Registrar at firstname.lastname@example.org or (812) 855-9349.