FERPA Reminder for Indiana State University Faculty and Advisors

FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) was passed by Congress and signed into law in 1974. It grants certain rights to a post-secondary student.  For example, students are entitled to:

  • review the education records that the institution maintains on the student.
  • seek amendment to those records, and in certain cases append a statement to the record.
  • know what the institution has designated as directory information that may be available to the public upon request.
  • request directory information exclusion, which must be honored by the institution.
  • know that school officials may access records if they have a legitimate educational interest in obtaining the information.
  • file a complaint with the Family Policy Compliance Office in Washington D.C. if they believe the college has violated FERPA.

It’s Your Responsibility

You may not disclose non-directory, personally identifiable information from education records without an authorized release to persons other than the student in question or a college official who has a legitimate educational interest. The authorized release must specify the records that will be released, state the reason for releasing the records, and identify the groups or individuals who will receive the records. Note: You may not release directory information if the student has “opted out” (requested directory exclusion) unless you have an authorized release.

What is meant by the term “directory information?”

The university may disclose directory information unless the student has affirmatively submitted a written request to the Office of the Registrar that the university withhold the information. Directory information is defined at Indiana State University as:

  • Full name
  • Address - campus and home
  • Telephone listing
  • E-mail address
  • Major fields of study, including teacher licensure, majors and minors
  • Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
  • Weight, height, and position of members of athletic teams
  • Dates of attendance (including current classification, matriculation, and withdrawal date
  • Degrees, awards, honors, and dates received, including honor roll designations and merit-based scholarships
  • The most recent previous educational institution attended
  • Full or part-time status
  • Photograph, but limited to the student identification photograph

Minimize the use of email to transmit FERPA-protected data, since email is not secure. While emailing FERPA-protected data is permissible, the Department of Education has ruled that an institution will be held responsible for a violation if any unauthorized individual sees the protected data via your electronic transmission.

  • Have students keep their University ID numbers (991#’s) out of their email signatures.
  • Share information using OneDrive instead of via email.
  • Please take care when forwarding or replying to emails which are sent to you containing sensitive data—remove such data prior to transmission.
  • Make sure Outlook does not auto-populate incorrect addresses.
  • Use only official Indiana State University managed systems for storage of student data or communications with students. Do not use Gmail, Google Docs, Dropbox, Yahoo, etc.
  • Send encrypted/secure messages by adding [sendsecure] to the subject line in your email. (To be able to do this, you must first contact OIT’s help desk to enable your account for email encryption.)

Indiana State University's complete policy on Student Educational Records is available here.  

Any requests for information and questions concerning the release of information should be referred to the Office of the Registrar. (812) 237-2020 ISU-ORR@mail.indstate.edu.