University Policy on Confidentiality of Student Records

Introduction

The federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 identifies the rights of students and their families with respect to student educational records kept by the institutions. The act provides students with the right to inspect and review their record, to restrict the disclosure of their record, and to seek to amend their record. Students have the right to expect that information in their educational records will be kept confidential, disclosed only with their permission or under provisions of the law.

Directory Information

Eastern Illinois University has designated some information about students as directory information. Directory information may be publicly shared by the institution unless the student has placed a formal restriction on its release.

Directory information includes: name, E-number, local and home telephone numbers, local and home addresses, dates of attendance, degrees earned, honors and awards, major(s) and photographs for internal University use, including the University Police Department.

A student must file a petition with the University's Registrar to prevent disclosure of directory information.

General Guidelines

Directory information on individual students may be made available to the public by the appropriate educational record custodian.

Information about a student's educational record should be released to a third party outside the University only by the appropriate educational record custodian. A written and dated request signed by the student is required before releasing information.

Definition of School Officials

Information from a student's educational record should be shared within the University only among appropriate "school officials".
A school official is a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the University has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, National Student Clearinghouse, Credentials, Inc. or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks.

Legitimate educational interests are interests essential to the general process of higher education including teaching, research, public service, and directly supportive activities such as academic advising, general counseling, therapeutic counseling, discipline, vocational counseling and job placement, financial assistance and advisement, medical services, academic assistance activities, and co-curricular activities including varsity and intramural sports, social fraternities, specific interest clubs and student government.

Access to a student's educational record by school officials is restricted to that portion of the record necessary for the discharge of assigned duties.

Guidelines for Faculty and Staff

Faculty and staff members should maintain, report and make available information included in student educational records in compliance with the requirements of FERPA and the University's Policy. 

 1. DO refer requests for information from the ducation record of a student to the proper educational record custodian.

 2. DO NOT display student scores or grades publicly in association with names, social security numbers or other personally identifiable information.  If scores or grades are posted, post them in random order and use some code known only to you and the individual student.

 3. DO keep only those individual student records necessary for the fulfillment of your teaching or advising responsibilities.  Private notes of a professor/staff member's own use are not part of the student's educational record.

 4. DO keep any personal professional records relating to individual students separate from their educational records.  Private records of instructional, supervisory and administrative personnel and ancillary educational personnel are to be kept in the sole possession of the maker and are not to be accessible or revealed to any other person except a substitute.

 5. DO correct factual information regarding grades and performance in an educational recored when a student presents valid documentation that the record is inaccurate.  The substantive judgment of a faculty member about a student's work, expressed in grades and/or evaluations is not within the purview of student's rights to challenge their educational records.

 6. DO NOT put papers or lab reports containing student names, social security numbers and grades in publicly accessible places.  Students are not to have access to the scores and grades of others in the class.

 7. DO NOT request information from the educational record custodian without a legitimate educational interest and the appropriate authority to do so.

 8. DO NOT share student educational record information, including grades or grade point averages, with other faculty or staff members of the University unless their official responsibilities identify their "legitimate educational interest" in that information for that student.

 9. DO NOT share by phone, correspondence, or in person information from student educational records, including grades or grade point averages, with parents or others outside the institution, including letters of recommendation, without written permission from the student.

10. DO NOT include a student's educational records or make available to him/her, or to a third party, information from medical, psychiatric, or psychological reports; records from law enforcement officials on or off the campus; or notes of a professional or staff person which are intended for that individual alone.

11. DO refer to IGP 182 if you need information on the release of lists or labels.

12. DO notify all staff and student employees of their responsibility to maintain the confidentiality of student records.

13. Do shred all materials that contain confidential, personally identifiable information on students.

Adapted from The Pennsylvania State University, University Policy on Confidentiality of Student Records, Compliance Guidelines for Faculty and Staff, 1994.