Privacy of Records

FERPA – Right to Privacy

What is FERPA? FERPA stands for the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. This legislation protects the privacy of your student records and regulates how information is utilized. Release of student records at Oregon State University is bound by the federal law (FERPA), the Oregon Revised Statutes, and by the Oregon Administrative Rules. Take the FERPA tutorial to learn more.

Review the Student Records - Right to Privacy information in the catalog to learn more about the details of FERPA, the Solomon Amendment, and the use of social security numbers.


Confidentiality

NO information may be released about students who have established confidentiality of their records.

Students may restrict the release of their student information by completing a Confidentiality Request form. The Confidentiality Restriction prevents employees of OSU from providing any information, directory or confidential, to anyone. When a confidentiality restriction is in place we can only discuss a student’s record with the student if they are there in person with picture identification.


Blackboard Access for T.A.'s

Instructors wishing to grant their teaching assistants access to course information in Blackboard should follow the instructions provided in this section.

Clery Act

The university posts campus security statistics in compliance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act.

Guidelines for Release of Information

If you receive a request for information follow these guidelines to determine what, if any, information can be released.

Retention & Statistics

This section provides information about record retention requirements and statistical information available for the university.

Blackboard Access for T.A.s

Instructors can add individuals who have taken the online FERPA and Confidentiality Training course in Blackboard as TAs to their course sites. All would-be TAs (and other course assistants) must complete FERPA Training. Complete the following 3 steps:

Guidelines for Release of Information

What, if anything, can I release?

The following steps provide a simple means to determine what information may be released. Release of any information other than that listed in Step 3 may have serious legal implications. If you receive a request for information other than what is covered in these steps, refer the inquirer to the Registrar's Office. Refer ALL inquiries under the USA PATRIOT Act to the Registrar's Office.

All access and use at Oregon State University of the Social Security Number is prohibited except for meeting federal or state requirements, compliance and reporting.

You may copy these guidelines as needed, or request additional copies from the Registrar's Office. We suggest that you keep a copy by your telephone for ready reference.

Step 1

Check the confidentiality of the student's records. Has the student restricted the release of all information?

  • Look at the grade roster or class roster. If a student's record is confidential you will see a dash before the student's name.
  • Sign on to Banner and go to SGASTDN or SGASTDQ or SPAIDEN. Enter the student's ID number. If this student's information is confidential, Banner will show *CONFIDENTIAL* in the upper left portion of the form. You also can see this on SAAADMS, SFAREGS, SFASRPO, SHATERM, SPAPERS, and other forms that access the student's record.
  • If you do not have access to Banner, ask someone who has access to check the student's record for you, or call the Registrar's Office for help, 541-737-4048.

Step 2

If the student's record is CONFIDENTIAL, you must respond to the inquiry in a way that does not acknowledge the student's existence on campus. Example: "There is no information available on that person." If the person inquiring persists, you might suggest that they ask the student in question to contact the Registrar's Office directly, or refer the caller to the Registrar's Office.

Step 3

If the student's records are NOT confidential, then determine what information about the student is being requested. Oregon State University will provide only the following Directory Information to all inquiries without students' written consent. Non-directory Information may not be released without written consent.

Step 4

If anything other than the above information is requested the request should be denied. Refer all inquiries from law enforcement officials directly to the Registrar's Office. If there are other unusual and extraordinary circumstances, refer the request to:

NO information may be released about students who have established confidentiality of their records.

Directory Information

The following directory information is public record and may be released to any inquiry, unless the record in Banner is marked as confidential.

Student's name

Current mailing address (CM address in Banner) and telephone number 

OSU ONID email address

Campus office address

Class standing (e.g. freshman, sophomore, etc.)

Student level (undergraduate, graduate, etc.)
College

Major field of study 

Honors

Full-time or part-time enrollment status

Status as a graduate teaching assistant or graduate research assistant and hours of service

Participation in officially recognized activities and sports

Dates of attendance

Anticipated graduation date

Degrees and awards received

Date(s) of degree(s)

Most recent previous educational institution attended by student

These policy guidelines are in accordance with Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS 351.065), the Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (PL 93-380) [34 CFR Part 99], and Oregon Administrative Rule 576-020-0005.

Non-Directory Information

This information is protected and MAY NOT BE RELEASED. If there are unusual and extraordinary circumstances refer the request to the Office of the Registrar, B102 Kerr Administration Building, 541-737-4048.

Student's Gender

Current email address (not ONID email address)
Month and day of birth

Transcript: Official or unofficial

Transcript: Student copy

Social Security Number (complete or partial)

Student ID Number (whether SSN or generated ID). All access and use at Oregon State University of the Social Security Number is prohibited except for meeting federal or state requirements, compliance and reporting.

Grades earned

Credits earned

Graduation status; course work yet to be completed (Cannot report whether student has applied for graduation)

Residency status

Fees paid

Class rank

Current academic status (probation; suspension; petitions; readmit status. That a student has applied can be released, but the status of the application cannot be released.)

VA, Social Security Status

GPA (Grade-Point Average)

Class schedule

Parent or guardian name or address

All other information about a student

These policy guidelines are in accordance with Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS 351.065), the Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (PL 93-380) [34 CFR Part 99], and Oregon Administrative Rule 576-020-0005.

Records Release FAQs

Q: Is it legal for me to email my class about class assignments and other work?

A: Use of students' email addresses is acceptable for academic and educational purposes; the students' ONID addresses are the only officially recognized OSU email addresses and are available on Banner. Email addresses other than ONID are not directory information and cannot be released. If you plan to make electronic communication a part of class requirements, be sure to include that information in the course syllabus that every student receives. Students who do not want to use email for their class work need to be aware of the requirement so that they can adjust their schedule accordingly. Many professors find it useful to set up a list serve for their class. Network Engineering has a useful site for list serves, see OSU List Support. Use of students' ONID email addresses is acceptable for academic and educational purposes, and they must only be distributed to people who have an educational need to know. When in doubt, contact the Registrar's Office.

Q: Doesn’t it violate FERPA if I include confidential students (students who have established confidentiality of their records) in a mass email to all of my students?

A: Yes, it does. When you send email to a list of students in the To: line, then everyone can see all of the members on the list. It is important to exclude confidential students from the list. Then, you can send an individual email, with the same content as for all the other students, but addressed only to the confidential student. If you have more than one confidential student, you should send an individual email to each one of them.

Q: May I post grades?

A: You may post grades as long as only you and the individual student know who the grade is for. That is, you cannot use the students' names or their Student ID numbers. You can create a unique identifier (such as a number, NOT part of the Student ID number) for each of your students and post grades by that identifier. Be sure NOT to arrange the list in alphabetical order, even though the names are not printed. (NOTE: Do not pass a sign up sheet around the class asking students to write down their unique identifier. All of the students who see the list will have access to the identifiers of other students.)

Q: May I distribute students' graded exams and papers by putting them in a self-serve box so that students can easily pick up their papers?

A: Distributing students' exams and papers in this way violates their confidentiality by making confidential records available to the public. This is not an acceptable practice.

Q: What information may I give to a parent who wants to know how their student is doing—what their grade is in a particular class, or what their overall GPA is? What if the parent says they know their student got a D- and wants to know what can be done.

A: You cannot discuss any specifics about the student's grades. Use a conditional response: "If a student in my class earned a D-, I would suggest…" You also can advise the parent on how the student can get their grades if they don't have them: Web or student transcript from the Registrar's Office.

Q: What information may I give if the student is a dependent and the parent can prove it with tax records?

A: While federal law authorizes the release of records to parents of dependent students, it does not require it. The Oregon statute does not include release to parents as an authorized disclosure; since state law is more restrictive than the federal law, the university is bound by the state law. Only directory information may be released to parents of dependent or independent students.

Q: What information may be given if the student is no longer enrolled?

A: Only the same information as if the person were still enrolled as a student. Be sure to check whether the student had imposed confidentiality before leaving the university; if so, the confidentiality remains in effect.

Q: What information may be given if the student is deceased?

A: When a student dies, FERPA no longer applies, but since there may be other issues related to disclosure, the inquiry should be referred to the Registrar's Office.

Q: What if the caller is the Corvallis police, the FBI, or a representative of a government agency?

A: A student's permission is required to release their records to these representatives. Refer the caller to the Registrar's Office.

Q: What if the Corvallis police, the FBI, or a representative of a government agency only want the student's class schedule?

A: Class schedules are not directory information and may not be released. FERPA restrictions apply equally to law enforcement officials. Do not release the class schedule; refer the caller to the Registrar's Office.

Q: What if the FBI or federal agent says they need information about a student under the new anti-terrorism legislation?

A: The USA PATRIOT Act (2001) and other legislation specify guidelines for release of information. Refer all such inquiries to the Registrar's Office so that we can assure appropriate compliance.

Q: What information may I write in a letter of recommendation?

A: You can discuss information provided to you by the student, such as information from their resume, and information that you have gained in your academic relationship with the student. You cannot discuss any non-directory information without the student's specific written consent.

Q: The student organization I advise wants to invite all of the students in our major to their meeting. May they get a list of all students in our major along with their addresses?

A: Yes, major is directory information as are student name and current address. The current address is maintained by the student, and may be the student's address in Corvallis or at some other location. Other addresses are not releasable. You should address your request for this information to the Registrar's Office.

Q: What if a student organization wants a list of X ethnicity students to invite them to their function. May they get a list of all X ethnicity students?

A: Requests for student names by ethnicity, or for international students' names, must be referred to the Registrar's Office.

Q: What if someone requests a list of all of the students from X country?

A: Refer all such requests to the Registrar's Office.

Q: My advisee is at home ill with a bad cold, so her sister stopped by to pick up her PIN. Is it OK to give it to her so that my advisee can register?

A: The PIN is not directory information and may not be released to anyone but the student.

Q: A community organization that I belong to wants to sell exam week care packets to parents; our organization will then deliver them to the students. May we get a list of parents' names and addresses?

A: Parents' names and addresses are not directory information and may not be released.

Retention & Statistics

Information Online

Learn more about information, such as alert notification, directory information, registration information, and more. Read more in the Student Information Online section of the General Catalog.

Record Retention (OAR ‘s)

What records do we retain? How long do we keep them? Refer to the Oregon Administrative Rules, Division 20, which governs the maintenance of Student Records. [Note: This link may not work in IE. Try Firefox and Google Chrome.]

Statistical & Historical Data (Institutional Research)

Do you need to know more information about OSU? Perhaps you’re curious about enrollment rates or graduation rates. Check out the statistics made available by the Office of Institutional Research.

Student Records - Right to Privacy

Review the Student Records—Right to Privacy information in the catalog to learn more about the details of FERPA, the Solomon Amendment, and the use of social security numbers.