FERPA for Faculty

Can I access student information?

As a member of the faculty, you are permitted to access student information if you have “a legitimate educational interest,” as defined by the Department of Education. The information must be necessary for you to perform your normal job duties. If it is not, there is no legitimate educational interest.

Can I post student grades publicly?

Student grades cannot be posted publicly either by the student’s name, the NMU IN, or social security number. The only way student grades can be posted publicly is if the student is given a temporary identifier which only applies to the current class they are enrolled in, is not tied in any way to their academic record, and is issued to them in a confidential manner.

Can students see one another’s graded assignment?

Students should not be able to see one another’s assignments if there is any “personally identifiable” information on the assignment. For example, students going through a stack of graded assignments in search of their own is a violation of FERPA.

If a student sends me an e-mail asking what their grade is, can I provide this information via e-mail?

You can, as long as it is to the student’s NMU e-mail address. If the student e-mails you from a different e-mail address, you can let them know that you sent the information to them through their NMU e-mail and they should check that.

What if a parent contacts me and wants to know how their son or daughter is doing?

Such things as progress in a course, deficiencies in a subject area, scores and grades on papers or exams, and missing work are all part of the student’s educational record. You cannot share this information with a parent unless you have written authorization from the student to do so. Even then, the authorization must specifically state what information may be released to the parent(s). It is recommended that you tell the parent that although you are unable to share that information with them due to federal regulations, you would be happy to discuss it with their son/daughter.

What if another faculty or staff member asks for information regarding one of my students?

In general, you may share information internally with other faculty and staff if the person you are sharing the information with has an educational need to know (they need the information to perform their normal job duties). If the information does not relate to the person’s job duties, it should not be shared. Examples of people who may need such information from you and have an “educational need to know” are staff from the Dean of Students office, the athletic department, Student Support Services staff, etc.

What if I’m concerned that a student might harm him/herself or others?

If there is any perceived threat to the health or safety of the student or others, you may (and should) express your concern to the appropriate person(s) at the University. That may include your academic dean, the Dean of Students, or Public Safety, depending on the situation and the immediacy of it. If you are in a situation where you are unsure as to whether or not to disclose such information, it is better to let someone know than to “wait and see.”

What kind of information can I include in a letter of recommendation?

If you are writing a recommendation that includes anything from the student’s educational record (grades, attendance, etc.) you need written permission from the student to do so. If you are just writing general observations about the person (things that can’t be found in a file or on a computer system), you do not need written permission.

Who should I contact with specific questions or concerns?

For more information, review the University’s FERPA policy. General questions regarding FERPA or the release of information may be directed to the Office of the Registrar (krotundo@nmu.edu; 227-2278).