FERPA and Appropriate Use of SSN


FERPA stands for Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (sometimes called the Buckley Amendment), passed by Congress in 1974. FERPA grants students the right to inspect their educational record and also requires that colleges protect the privacy of student information, including the Social Security Number or Student Identification Number. FERPA grants four specific rights to the student:

  • the right to see the information that the institution is keeping on the student
  • the right to seek amendment to those records and in certain cases append a statement to the record
  • the right to consent to disclosure of his/her records
  • the right to file a complaint with the FERPA Office in Washington

Under FERPA guidelines schools MUST have a student's written consent prior to disclosure of education records and MUST ensure confidentiality of information, including the student's identification and/or Social Security Number.

To avoid violations of FERPA rules, DO NOT

  • at any time use the entire Student ID number of a student in a public posting of grades
  • ever link the name of the student with that student's ID number in any public manner
  • require that students use their Student ID to sign-in to a class or lab on a roster that will be viewed by other students
  • leave graded tests in a stack for students to pick up sorting through the papers of all students
  • circulate a printed class list with the student name and Student ID number or grades as an attendance roster
  • discuss the progress of any student with anyone other than the student (including parents) without the consent of the student
  • provide anyone with lists of students enrolled in your class for any commercial purpose
  • provide anyone with student schedules or assist anyone other than college employees in finding a student on campus

For more information go to the FERPA web site: