Instructional Video/Audio/Photography & Student FERPA Protections

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (otherwise known as FERPA), is a federal law regarding the privacy of student records and the obligation of the institution, primarily in the areas of release of the records and the access provided to these records. In some cases, FERPA protections may extend to digital media such as instructional video/audio and/or photography. The guidelines below are provided to help instructors determine when FERPA applies and request a signed release from students in such cases.

FERPA Guidelines and Student Consent

Video and audio recordings and photographs of students taken by the University and/or its agents or employees may be considered educational records under FERPA. Such recordings/photographs may also implicate other privacy interests. Faculty who decide to video or audio record or photograph students must obtain appropriate releases from students for the University to use these images and recordings. Students must be informed when class meetings will be recorded/ photographed by the faculty or other University personnel and given the option of not being recorded/photographed. Such notice may be included in the syllabus and announced during class meetings. If a release is required but not obtained, the student must be edited out of the recording prior to distribution. A release is required even if the student appears accidentally. For example, a student who leaves a class early may be inadvertently caught on video. Students who do not wish to appear on a video or be audio recorded/photographed and/or refuse to sign a release may not be penalized in any way and must be afforded the same educational experience as students who are willing to be recorded and sign a release. Asking students to change seats or refrain from asking questions is not appropriate. The release enables the University to use the recordings/photographs for educational purposes.


Recordings and/or photographs that only include faculty audio and/or video do not fall within FERPA and do not otherwise require a release. The individual faculty member may share with any appropriate audience.

If a student cannot be heard or viewed on the recording, no release is required.  When the student is not being recorded, faculty may want to repeat student questions to ensure that the question can be heard on the recording.

FERPA Release Form

In cases where FERPA applies, a FERPA Release From is required from any students who do not object to being recorded. These forms should be collected and retained by the instructor as proof of FERPA compliance.