University of California, San Diego

October 25, 1996
FROM: Richard L. Backer
Assistant Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management/Registrar
RE: Posting Student Grades
This memo is intended as a reminder to all faculty that, absent
student written permission, public posting of student grades is a
violation of the federal Family Education Rights and Privacy Act,
known as "The Buckley Amendment" or "FERPA". This law also disallows
posting grades by use of a "personal identifier" (Social Security or
other student identification number) in lieu of a student's name.
As an alternative to posting final grades faculty are encouraged to
refer students to the TeSS (Telephone Student Service system) or
StudentLink (http://studentlink.ucsd.edu). Students may learn their
grades soon after grades are submitted to the Registrar's Office
through either. An alternative, if department policy permits, would
be for students to obtain their grade from the department office. A
specific day or time of day could be established when this service is
available. Another alternative is for students to provide the
instructor with a stamped, self-addressed envelope (or postcard, if
that is acceptable to the student).
Likewise, the law requires that absent written permission from the
student, papers and examinations be returned to students in a way that
protects their privacy. When the instructor is unable to personally
return materials to students, they must be distributed so that scores
or grades remain confidential. Some alternatives might be to arrange
for students to pick up papers or exams at the department's office for
individual distribution, or to have students provide the instructor
with a stamped, self-addressed envelope.
The law referred to in this memo, FERPA, governs access to records or
data maintained by an educational institution and the release of such
records or data. Information, such as student grades, is considered
confidential and cannot be released to a third party without written
consent of the student. The Department of Health, Education and
Welfare has issued guidelines and interpretations of the law which are
pertinent to the release of information, or the public posting of
grades. These are:
Education Records - those records, files, documents, and other
materials which contain information directly related to a student.
Record - information or data recorded in any medium, including, but
not limited to handwriting, print, tapes, film, microfilm, and
Personally Identifiable - that data or information that includes the
name of a student, a personal identifier such as Social Security
Number or student number, a list of personal characteristics which
would make it possible to identify the student with reasonable
certainty or other information which make it possible to identify the
Consent - educational institutions shall not permit access to or the
release of education records or personal information of students to
any party without the written consent of the student. While there are
exceptions to this, none are applicable to this situation.
Failure to comply with this law could ultimately result in the loss of
federal funds and exposure to civil liability under California law.
Questions about this policy should be referred to the Director of
Student Policies and Judicial Affairs, extension 4-6225.