About the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA)

A Clarification for Instructors

As a faculty member at New York University, you may have access to certain student information which is protected by the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), as well as by the University’s Policy on Personal Identification Numbers.  Below is some key information you should know about these University policies:

  1. A student’s personally identifiable information is not to be disclosed or displayed publicly, nor to be posted  on University electronic information or data systems.
  2. Personally identifiable information includes, but is not limited to:
  • University identification (UID) numbers
  • Email addresses
  • Contact information (telephone and address)

3. The following documents which you might acquire contain personally identifiable information:

  • Class lists
  • University/School forms
  • Other University documents

In more specific terms, these policies mean:

  1. As a course instructor, you are not entitled to access your student’s academic records (transcript, degree progress, etc.).  This information may be accessed by the student’s adviser, but not by instructors;
  2. You should not pass around a single sheet of paper in class where all the students have written their contact information (phone, email address, etc.); collect the contact information on individual sheets or cards; students should share their personal information with each other only voluntarily and on their own;
  3. You may discuss a student’s personal information only with (a) the student, or (b) University officials who have a legitimate educational interest in having that information; do not discuss the student’s performance or other information with parents or other outsiders, unless the student has given you express permission;
  4. Don’t leave papers, tests, or other assignments in a pile to be picked up.  Instead, they must be put in individual envelopes or in a secure place where the secretary has to retrieve the specific paper for a student (who, if not known, should show an ID);
  5. When sending a mass email to all students in your class, use the blind copy (bcc) function rather than the carbon copy (cc) function, since student emails are directory information for limited purposes only;
  6. If using an anti-plagiarism service, you must remove the student’s name, ID number, or any other personally identifiable information before submitting the paper.  For further guidance on creating student-submitted TurnItIn assignments, visit this page:  https://wp.nyu.edu/connect/.
  7. Don’t post grades by name, social security number, or University ID number;
  8. When you are no longer a student’s instructor, you should destroy the personal information you have about him or her.
  9. Official business with students or with other University faculty, administrators or staff about students should be conducted only through an NYU email account.  If conducted through a personal email account, it will also be subject to FERPA review by students.

For the complete FERPA guidelines, please visit New York University Guidelines for Compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

For the complete Policy on Personal Identification Numbers, see http://www.nyu.edu/registrar/university-policies/pin.html.