Student Data Privacy Concerns

Faculty and staff regularly create, maintain and review student data in their daily work as instructors, advisors and support professionals.

If accessing student data is part of your position, it’s important that you understand your responsibilities to protect students’ privacy.

Data Privacy & FERPA

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student educational records. These same rights are reinforced in Minnesota by several state laws, including the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act.

In general, FERPA prohibits sharing educational records or personally identifiable information without the student’s prior consent.

Faculty need to be especially careful about protecting students’ grades. You may not:

  • publicly post grades
  • leave graded student work out where others might see it
  • have another student return graded work to a student
  • have students look through a stack of graded work to find their assignment
  • respond to requests about a student’s grades from parents, employers, clubs, researchers, reporters or social organizations

Learn more about FERPA and student data privacy at WSU.