When an ISU faculty or staff member is asked to provide a reference for a student, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) requires written authorization from the student prior to providing information. The employer may have obtained this authorization from the student for references. Once permission has been obtained, provide only information that is based on facts, not conjecture, and relevant to the student’s qualifications for the job opportunity. A student’s right to privacy must always be protected and personal information unrelated to employment qualifications should never be disclosed.

Suggested Action

When asked to provide a written or verbal reference for a student, first obtain written permission from the student or a copy of such permission from the employer. Provide only reference information that is based on firsthand, factual knowledge.  Avoid personal matters and information that fall outside of job requirements (e.g., race, age, marital status, health, disabilities, religion, and more).

  • Additional Information

    Faculty and staff should not select or appear to make a selection on behalf of an employer. Only provide an honest reference. Also take care to provide unbiased counsel to students.