Faculty members and staff are considered "school officials." Under FERPA, school officials may obtain access to only those education records in which they have legitimate educational interests. "Legitimate educational interest" is defined as an interest which results from the duties officially assigned to a school official and which are related to such a school official's responsibility for facilitating the student's development. In other words, a faculty member or staff should only access those student education records that are needed to perform his or her job as an official of the college. Any other access is a violation of FERPA.
FERPA FOR FACULTY AND STAFF
FERPA FOR FACULTY AND STAFF
Student education records are considered confidential and should not be released to any person without the written consent of the student. However, there are a number of exceptions to FERPA's prohibition against non-consensual disclosure of personally identifiable information from education records. Prior consent is not required to disclose personally identifiable information:
- To "school officials" who have a "legitimate educational interest" in the student." In general, a school official has a "legitimate educational interest" if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility to the College. Records should be used only in the context of official educational business.
- To another institution to which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
- To federal, state, and local authorities involving an audit or evaluation of compliance with education programs.
- In connection with financial aid (such as the administration or continuation of aid).
- To individuals or organizations conducting studies for or on behalf of an educational institution.
- To regional or professional accreditation organizations.
- To parents of a dependent student, if the parent has provided to the Registrar's Office evidence that they declare the student as a dependent on their most recent Federal Income Tax form (Form 1040).
- In response to a lawfully issued court order or subpoena (normally handled by the Registrar, Bursar, other official record custodian and/or Legal Counsel)
- In the event that the release of information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals.
- If the disclosure is the result of a disciplinary hearing where the student is the perpetrator of a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense. Under this exception, information may be released to anyone, including the media. No information on the victim or witnesses may be released.
- To parents of a student under the age of 21 who has committed a drug or alcohol related offense.
What happens during crisis situations and emergencies?
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. Factors considered in making this assessment are: the severity of the threat to the health or safety of those involved; the need for the information; the time required to deal with the emergency; and the ability of the parties to whom the information is to be given to address the emergency. If the information is released in this type of situation, a record must be placed in the student's file describing the articulable and significant threat that formed the basis for the disclosure (the circumstances of the emergency).