Ask the FERPA Professor

October 16, 2023
  • FERPA Professor
  • FERPATop
cartoon figure reminiscent of Einstein stands in front of a chalkboard with the board "FERPA" written on it

Dear FERPA Professor, 

I have a FERPA question that has risen on our campus and hope to have your expert opinion.

I have a campus tutoring office that would like for the students who are listed as tutors to be able to attend a section of the class they are tutoring for.  Some of these tutors are paid by the university and some are paid by a 3rd party whom we have contracted with.  So an example is if the student tutor is tutoring for Calc 1, would they be allowed to sit in that class to gain knowledge even though they are not enrolled in that Calc 1 class.     

 I appreciate any guidance you can shed on this.

Thank you,

Ms. Dee

Dear Ms. Dee,

It depends on your institution's definition of a "school official" and "legitimate educational interest" in your annual notice to students.  If the definition covers these positions, which it should, then there would be no problem with allowing the activity you describe. 

See § 99.7(a)(3) and § 99.31(a)(1)(i) in the FERPA regulations.

I hope this is helpful in answering your questions.  You find the above cited regulations on pages 156 and 159 of the 2012 AACRAO FERPA Guide.

The FERPA Professor

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