Frequently Asked Questions
How does FERPA apply to faculty and staff?
The law requires faculty and staff to treat students' education records in a legally specified manner.
Grades: Students' scores or grades should not be displayed publicly. Even with names obscured, numeric student identifiers such as student ID numbers and SSNs are considered personally identifiable information and must not be posted publicly. Using directory information, such as birth date, to post grades, is not permissible because a student's grade would be linked to information that could reasonably be known by others. Grades, transcripts or degree audits reviewed for purposes of advisement should not be placed in plain view in open mail boxes located in public places.
Papers: Graded papers or tests should not be left unattended on a desk in plain view in a public area nor should students sort through them in order to retrieve their own work. This includes graded items left outside of offices that the public can access.
Athletes: The education records of student athletes are protected by FERPA. Without a signed consent form, educational records may not be publicly disclosed such as on a published team roster. Members of the athletic staff including coaches are named as school officials and have the right to access their athletes' educational records that pertain to athletic eligibility.
Class Rosters/Grades Sheets: These and other reports should be handled in a confidential manner and the information contained on them should not be redisclosed to third parties. The "class roster" link on your Workday Teaching dashboard indicates when a student has electronically signed a FERPA waiver inside of Workday to grant access to "Allowed Third-Party Users". Drilling through the name of the third-party gives you more inofrmation about them such as their relationship to the student, contact information, and what type of records the student granted permission for them to access.
Parents: The University may disclose information contained in a student's education record if the parent claims the student as “dependent” as defined by the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, Section 152. Students can authorize any individual to have access to their educational record by signing a FERPA release to parents.
Workday: Access to Workday is not tantamount to authorization to view the data. Faculty are deemed to be "school officials" and can access data if they have a "legitimate educational interest." A legitimate educational interest exists if the faculty member needs to view the education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility. Neither curiosity nor personal interest constitute a legitimate educational "need to know."
How will I know if a student has requested that "Directory Information" not be disclosed?
If the student has requested privacy, their name in Workday will have “(Private)” next to it.
Where can I get general information about FERPA?
General information about students privacy rights can be found at http://www.ut.edu/registrar/ferpa/ and in the UT Catalog Appendix.
Who should I contact with questions?
Michelle Pelaez, University Registrar
Important Note: The above information is intended to give general information about FERPA and to acquaint faculty and staff with some of the privacy issues surrounding students' educational records. It is not intended as nor is it a substitute for legal advice on any particular issue.