Tuesday, September 8, 2015 - Almanac Vol. 62, No. 4
Begin the "Year of Discovery" By Knowing the Rules for Protecting Student Record Information
As you embark on your road to discovery, it's important to know about FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. FERPA is a federal law that provides certain rights to students and imposes certain obligations on University faculty and staff regarding the privacy of "education records," or student record information.
At Penn, FERPA's requirements are incorporated in our Policy on the Confidentiality of Student Records: http://www.upenn.edu/almanac/volumes/v56/n25/confidentiality.html The policy states in general that University faculty and staff may not disclose personally identifiable information from a student's records except with the student's written consent.
Some common "do's" and "don'ts"
1. In general, you may not share student records with parents or guardians. There are some exceptions, such as where the student has provided written or electronic consent. Consult the Student Records System (SRS) or Advisor in Touch to determine if a student has consented to sharing his or her information.
2. You may share student records with school officials with "legitimate educational interests"— i.e., where the information would be helpful in the performance of official duties. This important provision allows Penn faculty and staff to access student information they need to perform their jobs.
3. You may not post grades or leave graded exams or papers in a public place. The "Grades" function in Canvas is a secure way to communicate with students directly about their grades.
For more information, visit the FERPA page of Penn's Privacy website (www.upenn.edu/privacy) and check out the FAQs for Faculty & Staff. Questions about student privacy can be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org