Why Grades Cannot be Sent via Email, Telephone, or to Parents
The The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
of 1974, as amended, sets forth requirements
designed to protect the privacy of student
educational records. The law governs access to
records maintained by educational institutions
and the release of information from those
Email has two problems:
- First, the instructor cannot know who has sent
email. Because email can be spoofed (sent as though from one person,
but really sent by another, it is not possible to verify who has
sent a request for a grade when it is sent via Email.
- Second, Email is not private. That means that other people can
read Email in transit. Thus, even if an instructor could verify that the
request for information came from the appropriate person, there is no way
to guarantee that it is private once it is sent via email.
Grades Cannot be given by Telephone for the same reasons.
Solution 1: Send requests for grades via Postal Mail or deliver them to the
university office of the professor. Include Student
record number, a SIGNED REQUEST for release of the information, and a SELF-ADDRESSED, STAMPED ENVELOPE. It is a federal
crime to forge the signature of another person or to deliver mail to the wrong person; therefore, postal
mail is considered a secure way to send information regarding grades and other private
information relating to a student. Be sure to include FULL NAME, Campus Wide ID,
YEAR and SEMESTER you took the course, and DAY and TIME the class met.
Solution 2: Use the campus secure system for reviewing grades.
Solution 3: Write your congressman and request that the FERPA law be changed.
For more information on the Act and its implementation by universities,
see the following Web sites:
Grades are based on the procedures set forth in the syllabus for the class. If the syllabus does not
provide for grading of excuses and other explanations for poor performance, then these factors cannot be
evaluated for the purpose of grading. Once submitted, grades are final and will not be changed,
except in case that the instructor made an error in computing the grade based on the policy stated
in the Syllabus. Attempts to be graded by procedures not stated in the syllabus constitute
attempts to cheat, and will be reported to the appropriate administrators.