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Office of the Registrar

FERPA Scenario Q&A

Question:  An unauthorized person retrieves personally identifiable information about students from a computer that was left unattended.  Does FERPA apply to information stored on a computer database?

Answer:  Yes. Information on a computer screen should be treated the same as printed records. FERPA applies to information stored on any media, including, but not limited to, print, audio, digital, video, electronic, or photographic.

* General Rule: The medium in which the information is held is unimportant. No information should be left accessible or unattended, including computer displays.

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