The Catholic University of America

Of Counsel - A Bulletin on Legal Issues at CUA - November 1997

Student Records

Tips on Managing Student Records

DO review a copy of the CUA student records policy before responding to a request for education records.

DO NOT release directory information on a student without checking to see whether the information has been flagged for non-release.

DO refer all subpoenas or IRS summons or other legal process requests for education records to the Office of General Counsel.

DO obtain written permission from the student before sharing educational record information, including grades and grade point averages, with parents or others outside the institution. (Exception: a parent who provides a copy of their most recent federal income tax return or other evidence of the dependent status of the student may be given access to student record information.)

DO NOT request information from the education record custodian, or access the student's file by computer, unless you have a legitimate educational interest and are authorized under the CUA student records policy to access the information.

DO follow the confidentiality provisions of FERPA by not sharing education records information with your colleagues unless a legitimate educational interest exists

DO keep only those records pertaining to a student that are necessary for the fulfillment of your teaching or advising responsibilities. If these records are kept in your file for your own use and are not shared with anyone else (other than a substitute) they are not considered educational records and will not be subject to the release provisions of FERPA.

DO NOT put purely personal notes (for example, from a committee meeting recommending students for a particular program) in the student's file, as they will become accessible to the student. Such records can be kept confidential only if they are kept in the sole possession of the maker and are not accessible or revealed to any other person. Official committee minutes are likely to be considered accessible.

DO NOT display student scores or grades publicly in association with names, Social Security numbers or other personal identifiers. If scores are posted, use a code known only to you and the student.

DO remember that medical, mental health and law enforcement records should not be put in the student's file with the student's education records. Medical and mental health records supporting an accommodation for a disability should be forwarded to the Office of Disability Support Services in an envelope marked confidential, and law enforcement records should be kept in the Office of Public Safety.

DO NOT release information about a student disciplinary matter without conferring with the Office of General Counsel or the Dean of Students.

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