Dear Colleagues,

This is a reminder about how we should treat student information within the FERPA boundaries. Violations of FERPA can have severe consequences, both for you as a faculty member and for your department, so we all need to pay attention.

Please review these examples of student records.

Review this quick overview of FERPA policy online.

Familiarize yourself with these guidelines for releasing information.

Tips from the guidelines

Keep student ID numbers, social security numbers, and student names from being displayed publicly.

If you leave graded assignments for student pick up, have a system in place to protect students from seeing each other’s work (e.g. have an office staff member check a student’s ID card before giving them back an assignment).

Make sure attendance rosters do not list anything except students’ names and be sure these rosters are kept in a safe, secure place after each class. Keep your class roster private.

Only discuss student progress with the student or another OSU employee who has a legitimate educational interest in the student unless you have written consent from the student.

Refrain from helping anyone other than an OSU employee locate a student on campus.

Only email using OSU-issued email addresses because they verify identity and have been vetted by OSU information security.


There is tension between complying with FERPA and the need to return work fast and easily to all students. In general, the more complex the return of graded work, the less graded work is picked up by students. Nevertheless, FERPA is the guiding law and must be followed.

Below is some helpful advice based on previous experience. This is not a complete list, so if you have questions that are not covered, always ask.

Some students have protected all of their information by adding a confidentiality flag to their record. We are required to protect these students. We are not allowed to identify publicly that these students attend OSU. This is why CANVAS is really helpful. For example, all class material that relates to students, such as lists of assigned projects, should be posted on CANVAS.

When you discard class material that could connect a student’s name with a course, shred it. Shredding can be done by using the confidential recycling bins. Recycle only general handouts that were given to all students and are unmarked.

A good practice to follow for exams is to organize material so that after all grading is done and recorded and scantrons and so on are removed, the cover sheet only shows the name of the student and no other course information.

Never leave students’ work, graded or not, unattended in a public space.

When grading in a public place, try to ensure that student information is not readily visible others.

If you store student grades on your computer, be sure to lock your computer when not in use.

Do not send a photo roster to the whole class so students can identify each other.

In class do not talk about the performance of a student by name or in a manner that would make the student recognizable unless the student has given permission.

If you use a list of student names to collect signatures after exams, do not put any other information on that list, even in the header (things like course identifier).


As always, it is better to be safe than sorry. If you are not sure what is correct, please ask!

Kind regards,



Henri Jansen

Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs

College of Science

FERPA Policy
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