WSU Cougar Head Logo Washington State University

Faculty & Staff Guidelines

The release of non-directory information to parties outside of the University is restricted to the appropriate educational record custodian and only if the custodian has a signed and dated authorization to release statement from the student. The Consent for Access To Education Records form is available to facilitate the collection of written consent from the student for release of his/her educational record.

  • Information from a student's educational record may be shared among School Officials who have legitimate educations interests.
  • Access to a student's educational records by School Officials is restricted to that portion of the record necessary for the discharge of assigned duties.
  • Directory information on individual students may be made available publicly by the appropriate educational record custodian, unless the student has blocked disclosure of directory information. Please refer to Restrict Directory Information for additional information on the topic. 
  • The University does not provide mailing lists to any third party for either commercial use or for solicitation of any product or service.

FERPA Training Requirements

To access FERPA protected information in the WSU student information systems (myWSU, OBIEE, etc.), WSU faculty and staff must complete the FERPA training certification test.

Good practice guidelines

Good practice by faculty and staff members requires that they maintain, use, and report student data in compliance with the requirements of FERPA. The following statements provide practical guidelines to follow:

  1. Do refer requests for student record information to the proper educational record custodian.
  2. Do not display personally identifiable photographs of students where they can be viewed by others without a signed release from the student. 
  3. Do keep only those individual student records necessary for the fulfillment of your teaching or advising responsibilities.
  4. Do keep any personal records relating to individual students separate from their educational records. Private notes of a professor/staff member concerning a student that are intended for professor's/staff member's own use are not part of the student's educational record.
  5. Do insure privacy when asking for student WSU ID. When on the telephone, be aware that the student may not be in a private environment.
  6. Do ask for only the last four digits of the WSU ID on exams and other documents, when needed, to identify different students with the same name.
  7. Do properly dispose of all papers and documents that contain the WSU ID.
  8. Do use blind copies when emailing groups of students.
  9. Do Not include the WSU ID in the subject line of an email message.
  10. Do Not include the WSU ID on any document mailed by surface mail where the WSU ID is visible on the document or in a window envelope.
  11. Do Not display student scores or grades publicly in association with the student name, WSU ID, Social Security number, or other personal identifier. Scores or grades may be posted using a code known only to you and the student.
  12. Do Not put papers or lab reports containing student names and grades in publicly accessible places. Students must not have access to the scores and grades of others in the class.
  13. Do Not circulate printed class lists containing non-directory information such as, WSU IDs for purposes of taking attendance. Instead, use a blank "sign in" sheet.
  14. Do Not upload a class list or any information about a student to a vendor's website without first checking with WSU Purchasing to see if WSU has a FERPA-compliant contract with the vendor.
  15. Do Not conduct research using student information without first receiving approval from the Office of Research Protections/Institutional Review Board and ensuring compliance with FERPA requirements.
  16. Do Not make value judgments or use inappropriate language in any comments or notes that are entered into myWSU or stored in shared student files, since these comments and notes are considered part of the education record and are subject to the student's right to review.
  17. Do Not request information from the educational record custodian without a legitimate educational interest and the appropriate authority to do so.
  18. Do Not share student educational record information with other faculty or staff members of the University unless their official responsibilities provide for a legitimate educational interest.
  19. Do Not ask for the WSU ID on any document that will be viewed by anyone other than a University employee with an educational need to know. Examples:
    • On exams, homework assignments and attendance rosters, especially if other students may view these documents.
    • On questionnaires, surveys and other documents soliciting additional personal information.
    • On checks payable to the University or to the student.
    • On non-academic documents such as a Fitness Pass or an appointment sign-in sheet.
  20. Do Not share, by phone or correspondence, information from student educational records, including grades or grade-point averages, with parents or others outside the University, including within letters of recommendation, without written consent from the student.

    A Consent to Access Education Records form is available to facilitate the collection of written consent from the student for release of his/her educational record.

    A Request for Letter of Recommendation form is available to allow students to request letters of recommendation and to authorize inclusion of information from their education records.

Other Resources

Guidelines for Faculty and Staff
FERPA Rights and Privacy