Midsummer this year, UAB began a dedicated effort to ensure that faculty and staff were familiar with federal regulations enacted to protect the privacy of student records, known as FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974.

“Many UAB faculty and staff have access to student records in order to fulfill their job responsibilities,” said Provost Eli Capilouto, D.M.D. “Through regular review of these regulations we can protect the privacy of students and avoid the institutional and individual consequences that can be caused by electronic mishaps or misunderstanding or lack of knowledge of FERPA guidelines.”

Test your FERPA knowledge
Q: A local police officer is enrolled as a student in the course. A project belonging to this student is missing from a classroom. The next day, this on-duty, uniformed officer comes to the department office to investigate the theft.  He asks for a copy of the class list for the course so he can complete his investigation. Can you provide one?

A: No. Class lists contain confidential student information and cannot be given to fellow classmates under any circumstances. In this case, the fact that the student is also a police officer is irrelevant.

Faculty and staff who have access to student education records need to review the FERPA guidelines and test their knowledge of how FERPA governs their day-to-day decisions and actions. Division such as Student Affairs and Information Technology required all staff to complete the course, which they have done.

Figures available as of mid-October indicated that 822 people have successfully completed the training, said University Registrar Stella Cocoris. The result is more faculty and staff are calling her to ask questions and clarify their understanding of these privacy regulations.

Cocoris said there are four UAB policies directly related to the access and use of student records, all of which can be accessed at www.uab.edu/ferpa as needed:

• Electronic Data Processing Security Policy
• Grade Posting and Grade Distribution Policy
• Information Disclosure Policy
• Student Records Policy, especially Sections IV and IX

For those who have not yet completed the training, a tutorial has been posted online at www.uab.edu/ferpa, and a FERPA training course is available in WebCT Vista at www.uab.edu/ferpacourse.

Any unit head who would like to require completion can track participation of their employees by coordinating with User Services at 934-3540 or UserServices@uab.edu. Direct questions, comments or suggestions to ferpa@uab.edu.