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Cornell University

FERPA and Online Privacy Concerns (Policy 4.5)

This article applies to: Qualtrics (Survey Tool)

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The Family Educational Rights Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. It is the policy of Cornell University to comply with FERPA as outlined in Policy 4.5)

What is an education record?

Content that identifies students, or content that students create, constitutes an education record and thus FERPA regulations apply; those regulations require that the university protect the content from disclosure. One exception to the regulations is student consent.

FERPA and Technology

Many instructors are aware of FERPA but may not think of it when it comes to technology. Be mindful that Cornell has contracts with a number of vendors whose services are approved for the use of education records. Canvas, Turnitin, and LabArchives are all examples of approved services.

Some common examples of technology use that violates FERPA include:

  • Uploading a class roster to a non-approved cloud service, for example SurveyMonkey.
  • Uploading student information or student work to a non-approved cloud service such as Office 365.
  • Recording students in the classroom, and keeping the video online and open to the public, without their permission.

It is OK to post original student work openly on the Internet if you have students’ consent, and if you provide an opt-out opportunity for individual students.

What to do if you aren’t sure

  • Cornell’s Regulated Data Chart contains a list of cloud services that are approved for FERPA-regulated data.



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At Cornell we value your privacy. To view
our university's privacy practices, including
information use and third parties, visit University Privacy.