Ask the FERPA Professor

July 10, 2023
  • FERPA Professor
cartoon figure reminiscent of Einstein stands in front of a chalkboard with the board "FERPA" written on it

Dear FERPA Professor, 

I hope this email finds you well. 
I am looking for some guidance, as this is my first time with such a request from an out-of-state prior student.
A student who is no longer attending the University would like to request a copy of her education records. I know that we cannot submit copies, but she lives out of state. In addition, she is requesting information from Canva which is similar to Blackboard, which I do not have access to. 
My question is, regarding the education records that the Registrar’s Office has access to, can we meet with the student online (zoom, Microsoft Teams) and share a screen and show copies of her records? The problem with that is, the student can screenshot it. I want to assist the student, but want to ensure I am following the FERPA guidelines.
Thank you for your time and any advice you can provide,
Ms. Dawn

Dear Dawn,

FERPA does not preclude an institution from providing a student copies of that student's education records. In fact, an institution may be required to provide copies of the records if the student does not live within commuting distance of the institution and there is no other way to provide the opportunity for the student to inspect and review the records. See §99.10(d) of the FERPA regulations. Providing the student access to the records via an online method, as you suggest, would generally meet this requirement. Also, you note that the student is requesting to view information from Canva but that you do not have access to this information. If records concerning the student are being maintained on/by Canva, then the University would be required to provide the student the opportunity to view those records. You would want to check with whatever staff at the institution can provide this access and let them know of the request.

I hope this is helpful in answering your questions. You can find the above-cited regulation on page 157 of the 2012 AACRAO FERPA Guide.

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