Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

Basics for Faculty/Staff

WELCOME to the College of Southern Idaho faculty/staff FERPA tutorial. All faculty and staff must complete this tutorial before accessing any student records. This tutorial is intended to ensure that anyone accessing student records understands the obligations under FERPA to protect those student records. It is the intent to provide a basic knowledge of FERPA and how to stay in compliance. Please read the following information carefully. At the end of the tutorial you will be asked to complete a FERPA quiz.

Student Information Release

The College of Southern Idaho is committed to properly protecting each studentís education privacy as specified by the Federal Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). In order to assure that the college remains in compliance, all requests for information of any nature regarding a student of the College should be referred to the Office of the Registrar; where personnel have been trained in handling these requests.


What is FERPA?

  • Family Education Rights & Privacy Act of 1974.
  • A Federal law also known as the Buckley Act.
  • Protects the privacy of a studentís educational records.
  • Establishes the right of students to inspect and review their educational records.
  • Applies to all educational agencies or institutions that receive funds under applicable programs administered by the U.S. Department of Education.

What student rights are protected?

  • The right to inspect and review their education records within 45 days of the day the college receives a request.
  • The right to request an amendment to the studentís education records that the student believes is inaccurate or misleading.
  • The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the studentís education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.

What are education records?

  • Any record that contains information which is directly related to the student.
  • Personally identifiable information such as student name, student ID number, or personal characteristics, grades, GPA, class schedules, class roster, a computer screen, a computer printout, notes taken during an advising session, or a document in the Office of the Registrar.
  • Education records can exist in any medium including: typed, computer generated (monitor screen), video, microfilm, microfiche, email, notepad, and others.
  • Academic records, financial aid, disciplinary actions.


  • Sole Possession records (records/notes in sole possession of the maker, used only as a personal memory aid and not revealed to any other person except a temporary substitute for the maker of the records which may include notes an instructor makes in regard to career/professional guidance to a student, etc.).
  • Medical records.
  • Employment records when employment is not contingent on being a student provided the record is used only in relation to employment.
  • Records created and maintained by a law enforcement unit used only for that purpose.
  • Post attendance records (information about a person that was obtained when the person was no longer a student).

What is directory information?

Schools may disclose, without consent, directory information. Eligible students may request that the school not disclose directory information about them.
Directory information is defined as the following:

  • Student’s name
  • Student’s address listings
  • Student’s phone number listings
  • Student’s e-mail address
  • Student’s photograph
  • The most recent previous educational agency or institution attended
  • Enrollment status
  • Full-time/part-time status
  • Dates of attendance
  • Major
  • Freshman/sophomore standing
  • Candidacy for degrees/certificates
  • Degrees conferred and dates
  • Awards and honors received
  • Participation records in officially recognized activities and sports
  • Height and weight of members of athletic teams

Information that generally cannot be released without the students' prior written consent:

  • Social Security Number /Student ID Number
  • Student's Date of Birth
  • Class Schedule
  • Academic Standing (Probation or Suspension Status)
  • Grade Point Average/Grades
  • Transcript
  • Parentís Address
  • Gender
  • Exact number of credits the student is enrolled in
  • Nationality/Country
  • Student Disability Status
  • ANY information which is NOT directory information

How does the USA Patriot Act amend FERPA?

President Bush signed the "Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act" on October 26, 2001. Section 507 of the USA PATRIOT Act amends FERPA by permitting institutions to disclose, without the knowledge or consent of the student, personally identifiable information from the student's education records to the Attorney General of the United States or his designee in response to an ex parte order (one filed without notice to the student) in connection with the investigation or prosecution of terrorism crimes. Also, the school is not required to record such disclosures.

What is the Solomon amendment?

Under the 1996 amendment, institutions are required to provide directory information on students at least 17 years of age who are registered for at least one credit, upon request from the Department of Defense for military recruiting purposes.

Protection of Student Records

Student education records are considered confidential and may not be released without written consent of the student, except by provisions outlined in FERPA.

  • Faculty/staff have the responsibility to protect education records in their possession.
  • Student information may be accessed only for legitimate educational use.
  • Use of a student ID number, social security number, or any portion of the number cannot be used in a public posting of grades. Grades may be posted only by written consent of the student and only if the identity of the student is completely disguised.
  • You may not ever link the name of a student with the studentís ID number in any public manner.
  • Graded exams, papers, assignments, etc. may never be left in a stack for students to pick up by sorting through the work of all students.
  • You may not circulate a printed class roster with student names and ID numbers or grades as an attendance roster.
  • You may not provide lists of students enrolled for any commercial purpose.
  • You may not discuss the progress of a student with anyone other that the student (including parents/guardians/spouse) without the written consent of the student; unless there is a legitimate educational interest with another school official. E.g.: advisor, department chair, Office of the Registrar, etc.
  • Do not include the GPA in a letter of recommendation without the written request from the student specifying what records are to be disclosed, stating the purpose of the disclosure, and identifying the party to whom the disclosure may be made.
  • FERPA release/consent form

When do FERPA rights begin at CSI?

  • Once a student has registered for CSI classes FERPA rights transfer to the student.
  • FERPA rights transfer from the parent to the student when a student reaches the age of 18 or begins attending a postsecondary institution regardless of age.

What rights do parents have?

  • Parents may obtain directory information at the discretion of the CSI Office of the Registrar.
  • Students may sign a release form to allow third party access of their education records.
  • Emergency situations should be referred to Campus Security at Ext 6605.
  • The whereabouts of a student (class schedule) may never be released.

Who may have access to student information?

  • The student and any outside party who has the studentís written request.
  • School officials (as defined by the College) who have ďlegitimate educational interests
  • Parents of a dependent student as defined by the Internal Revenue Code and if proof is provided to the Office of the Registrar.
  • A person in response to a lawfully issued subpoena or court order, as long as the College makes a reasonable attempt to notify the student first.

To whom, and under what conditions, can colleges disclose personally identifiable information?

Generally, schools must have written permission from the eligible student in order to release any information from the student's education record. However, FERPA allows schools to disclose those records, without prior written consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions:

  • The student;
  • Parents of a dependent student (as defined by the Internal Revenue Code and only after appropriate proof is provided to the Office of the Registrar);
  • Parents/legal guardians of non-dependent students when their children (under 21) are charged with violating alcohol/drug law or College policy;
  • School officials with legitimate educational interest;
  • Other schools to which a student is transferring;
  • Appropriate parties in cases of health and safety emergencies;  
  • When releasing directory information;
  • Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student (financial aid for which the student has applied or received, if the information is necessary to determine eligibility for aid, its amount or conditions, and when the information is necessary to enforce the terms and conditions of the aid);
  • Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes;
  • Appropriate agents acting on behalf of the institution (e.g., Clearinghouses, degree/enrollment verifiers);
  • Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school;
  • To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena;
  • State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific State law;
  • Attorney General of the United States or his designee in response to an ex parte order (one filed without notice to the student) in connection with the investigation or prosecution of terrorism crimes;
  • The Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Military recruiters, the Internal Revenue Service, and authorized representatives of the Department of Veterans Affairs;
  • Appropriate parties when the student has taken an adversarial position against the institution and the student has involved a third party;
  • The alleged victim of any crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense the final results of a disciplinary proceeding conducted by the institution against the alleged perpetrator of that crime, regardless of whether the institution concluded a violation was committed;
  • Anyone - not just the victim - the final results of a disciplinary proceeding, if the College determines that the student is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense, and with respect to the allegation made against him or her, the student has committed a violation of the institution’s rules or policies.

School Official

A school official is a person employed by the College in an administrative, supervisory, counseling, faculty, or support staff position; a person or company with whom the College has contracted as its agent to provide a service instead of using College employees or officials (such as an attorney, auditor, external evaluator, medical service provider, law enforcement or security personnel, or collection agent); a person serving on the CSI 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 Interest

A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to access/review an education record in order to fulfill his or her responsibilities for the College. Any school official who needs information about a student in the course of performing instructional, supervisory, advisory, or administrative duties for the College has a legitimate educational interest. The information must not be used for personal or other purposes extraneous to the official’s areas of responsibility. Having access to education records does not constitute authority to share this information with anyone who does not have legitimate educational interest.

How does technology impact FERPA?

The same principles of confidentiality that apply to paper records also apply to electronic data. Students, faculty, and staff must abide by the CSI Computer Use Policy. It is very important that students protect the confidentiality of their CSI Student ID number, as well as their usernames and passwords.

  • Students must not share their CSI Student ID numbers with other CSI students, friends, family members, etc.
  • Students must not let anyone borrow their CSI Student ID cards.
  • As soon as students first log in, they should change their default login passwords (e-mail/network and Blackboard) to a secret password that they only know, can easily remember, but others cannot guess.
  • Students must notify the Office of the Registrar immediately if they suspect unauthorized access to their educational records.

CSI Faculty and staff are expected to adhere to the following:

  • Must protect their usernames and passwords from unauthorized use (they are responsible for all activities on their user ID and that originate from their systems).
  • Can only use computer systems for authorized purposes.
  • Can only access information to which they have been given authorized access.
  • Must not use another personís system/user ID/password/data without permission.
  • May not make or permit unauthorized use of information contained within any CSI system.
  • Are not permitted to seek personal benefit, or allow others to benefit personally from information to which they have access by virtue of their position.
  • May not knowingly include or cause to be included in any records a false or misleading entry.
  • May not knowingly change or delete or cause to be changed or deleted an entry in any record, unless in accordance with College policies and procedures.
  • May not remove any official records or copy thereof from the office where it is maintained, copied, or printed via electronic means except in the performance of a personís duties, and in accordance with established policies and procedures.

Violations may lead to disciplinary action including but not limited to reprimand, suspension, or dismissal. Violation can also lead to action under applicable State or Federal statutes.

Before divulging information about a studentís record, staff should ask the student for picture ID (e.g. Student ID card or drivers license) and verify the studentís identity. Special care must be taken when information is requested over the phone or online. Positive identification must be made before releasing information about a studentís record. Several pieces of information should be used to help identify a student, and may include: Social Security Number, birth date, phone number, and/or address, a grade received in a class, number of credits signed up for, current GPA, etc.


Key Resources for Additional Information:


Thank you for reading through our FERPA tutorial. Now you are ready to take the FERPA quiz.

Please log in and answer the questions. The quiz has 17 questions. This quiz is a learning tool. After you log in, you will see the first question on the screen. Read the question carefully and select what you believe to be the correct answer. You will get immediate feedback: you will know whether your answer was correct or not and if it wasn't, what the correct answer was and why. After you completed the quiz, it will give you a score. If your score will be above 70%, you successfully passed the quiz. CONGRATULATIONS! If your score will be lower than 70%, you can retake the quiz as many times as you need until your score will be above 70%.

The Office of the Registrar will keep records of who has and has not successfully completed the quiz.

Thank you very much for helping us safeguard the privacy of our students' education records!

If you have any questions about the quiz, please contact Lena Paxton or Dr. Michele McFarlane. If you run into any technical difficulties while taking the quiz, please call or E-mail Helpdesk staff at ext. 6311 or

To login use the same username and password that you use to log on the CSI network and CSI e-mail.


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