The purpose of this message is to share privacy reminders and tips that may be helpful while you provide advising services remotely to students.
Please remember that information from student education records is protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). You may continue to advise students as you normally would, even when through remote or other virtual means. It is important to remember that except in certain, prescribed circumstances, you need a student’s written consent before disclosing contents of their education records to anyone other than the student (e.g. parents, roommates, spouses). Therefore, if your student wants another individual to participate in the advising session, you should seek written consent from the student (a quick email would suffice) to share information from their education records with that individual before sharing the information.
Easy Ways to Obtain Prior Written Consent
- Offices that utilize the FERPA Designee Pin Page may continue to do so. A FERPA Designee should verbally provide you with their pin code. Per usual, names and pin codes must match what is listed on the FERPA Designee Pin Page in order for University faculty and staff advisors to discuss information specific to a student’s education record.
- If you do not have access to the FERPA Designee Pin Page, your student may send you an e-mail from their official @uconn.edu address with the following information:
- What information from their education records may be shared (e.g. grades, GPA, academic standing, plan of study)
- With whom the information may be shared
- For what purpose
Keep in mind that FERPA only requires prior written consent when disclosing information from a student’s record. For example, you may share information with a parent about an academic policy or process, without ever needing to disclose a student’s specific information. This is no different than our normal course of business. However, you should defer to guidance from your department and/or school before sharing any unique processes or plans related to the current state of affairs.
Also, know it is not your responsibility to ensure the student is in a private setting. If you sense that a student is uncomfortable speaking with you due to privacy concerns, please offer to reschedule. If privacy concerns persist as student circumstances will vary, please contact the University’s Privacy Officer at email@example.com to discuss possible solutions.
Finally, here are a few best practice reminders to safeguard student information while working remotely.
- When not at your computer, use CTRL ALT DEL to lock your screen
- Log out of University systems when not in use
- When speaking with students remotely, please do so in a private setting on your end
Questions and concerns regarding student privacy may be directed to:
Laurie Neal, University Privacy Officer