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Faculty Teaching Handbook 2013-14


Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

FERPA is a federal law designed to protect the privacy of students' education records. Education records include any information or documentation that is recorded in any way, such as records produced by handwriting, computer, email, audio, and video, among others. Educational records contain information directly related to a student and are maintained by Bainbridge College or any party acting on its behalf.

FERPA protects the privacy of students' education records by setting forth strict instructions and limitations governing the release of information about students. Although FERPA contains exceptions for the release of ''directory information'' without a student's prior written consent, students have the right to request that even such directory information be withheld from disclosure to third parties. Such requests are marked CONFIDENTIAL on the students' Banner Information Sheet.

Given the restrictions of FERPA, you should assume that all of your students must provide written consent that follows the format specified in FERPA before any education records may be released to anyone other than the student. Even if a student is taking classes as part of his or her high school program and is not yet 18, you still cannot talk with his or her parents.

Information cannot be released to any third party, including the students' parents, relatives, and friends.  Particularly sensitive information includes students' social security numbers, race or ethnicity, gender, nationality, academic performance, disciplinary records, and grades. Contact the Registrar's Office at 248-2504 to check on third party permissions.

See more below.


Academic Dishonesty
Academic Freedom
Classroom Standards
Copyright and Fair Use
Deans, Chairs, Directors
Learning Support

Notifying Students About Grades Under FERPA

The only acceptable method to post grades publicly is to assign students in your class unique, confidential numbers or codes for the purpose of posting grades, and further, to ensure that such codes and posting are not alphabetic. Publicly posting grades using names, social security numbers, or BC identification numbers are all violations of FERPA. Mailing grades to students is acceptable only if the information is enclosed in a sealed envelope. Mailing grades via postcards violates a student's right to privacy.

Discussing a Student's Academic Performance Under FERPA

A student's academic performance is part of his/her education record, and discussing the student's performance with anyone other than the student (or another school official with a ''legitimate educational interest'') is a violation of FERPA. Please refrain from discussing the academic performance, grades, or other parts of a student's education record with anyone other than the student.

Handling a Parent's Request for Information Under FERPA

Although parents often are paying for their child's education, unless the student is a dependent student as defined under the Internal Revenue Code, parents are not entitled to review the student's records without the student's permission. Therefore, faculty who give parents updates about their child's academic performance without express written permission of the student/child may be in violation of FERPA.

If parents do request such information, you should assume that the student is not a dependent student and explain that you cannot discuss the student's academic performance without written permission of the student. Grades, classroom performance, and quiz and test scores are all part of the student's education record and require written permission to divulge to parents. Student authorization must detail exactly what information can be released to the parents and should be in writing signed by the student.

Writing Student Recommendation Letters Under FERPA

Recommendation letters on behalf of a student that contain specific information from the student's educational record, such as grades or a student's grade point average, are in violation of FERPA unless the faculty member has received prior written permission from the student to disclose that information. When you receive requests for letters of recommendation from the student, you should have the student sign a written authorization enabling you to disclose such relevant information in the letter. As an alternative, the content of the letter should not contain information from the student's education record as described above.

Returning Assignments, Papers, or Exams Under FERPA

It is a violation of FERPA to leave any graded assignments, papers, or exams unattended for students to pick up where students could view the work of other students. Such work can be returned to students in such a manner if it is in sealed envelopes with the student's name on the envelope. Further, it is appropriate for a staff member to keep such student work and return it to the students upon verification of the student's identity. Please ensure that any staff member who is responsible for keeping graded assignments for return to the students is apprised fully of his ie her obligations under FERPA to prevent the unauthorized release of that work to someone other than the student.

Accessing Student Records Under FERPA

Faculty members should not have access to student's education records absent a ''legitimate educational interest.'' As school officials, faculty members have legitimate educational interests when they are advising the student, working on student attrition, or other similar educational interests. Casual conversations among faculty members discussing students' grades, performance, or other aspects of their education records violate FERPA absent a legitimate educational interest.

Record Keeping Under FERPA

In addition, FERPA obligates the college to maintain records concerning certain requests and disclosures involving educational records. Before disclosing any information from a student's education record to anyone other than a parent, a student, another school official, or a party with the written permission of a student, faculty members should contact the Registrar's Office at 248-2504 to check on third party permissions..

--adapted from



Office of Academic Affairs
Dr. Tonya Strickland, VPAA