Ask the FERPA Professor

May 3, 2021
  • FERPA
  • FERPA Training & Review
  • Student Academic Records and Academic Policy
  • FERPA
  • FERPA Professor
  • Student Records Management

Dear FERPA Professor:

The Director of Testing and Assessment reached out to me with a few FERPA questions regarding their practices in the office.  I was hoping you could help me with her questions or point me in the right direction to find the answers. 

Traditionally, our college policy has been to offer placement testing to potential Dual Enrollment students BEFORE they submit an application for admission IF they provide a complete name, dob, HS attending & grade level, and social security number to test on campus.  When requested by the HS Guidance Counselor, we send a copy of the score report via email.  That rationale was that the record is being communicated on a need-to-know basis.  It was done, on occasion based upon a specific request.  Additionally, parents of the students will call the Testing Office to get scores for their students.  I would like some guidance on when FERPA at the college applies in situations with DE students.  

Our remote placement testing option requires an email address for communication. After testing has been completed we send the test score report to the same email address.  The lack of application submission equates to a lack of an EFSC Titan email account, which equates to sending confidential student data via unsecured email to a non-student account. We are not comfortable with this practice.  Is this a violation of FERPA?

Thanks so much,

Ms. Williams

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Dear Ms. Williams,

It appears that the placement testing you describe below is done prior to the high school student(s) even applying for dual enrollment at the College.  If this is the situation, then these assessments would not be education records subject to FERPA prior to the student attending the College.  This is because individuals applying to attend the College do not meet the definition of a "student," and thus their records are not subject to FERPA while part of the application process. See §99.3 "Student" on page 155 of the 2012 AACRAO FERPA Guide.

I hope this is helpful in answering your questions.

The FERPA Professor

Interested in FERPA? AACRAO's On-demand FERPA course is coming soon. This course is designed to provide an in-depth understanding of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).