As Faculty and Staff members, we need to be cognisant of the FERPA guidelines and understand our limiations on the information we share about students. In the process of formulating a letter of recommendation, there are a few tips our office have put together to help stay in compliance with FERPA.
Writing a letter of recommendation may require express, written permission from the student to allow you
1) to access the student's educational records and
2) to disclose confidential information about the student to a third party.
A faculty or staff member may access a student's educational records without the student's express written permission only if specific job duties, such as the duties of an academic advisor, require access to those records. However, a faculty member, or any other appropriate University official, may not disclose confidential information from a student's educational records to a third party without express, written permission from the student. It is recommended that before writing a letter of recommendation that contains confidential information i.e. (grades, QPA, class rank, etc,) that you receive the student’s written permission to specifically release this information to a third party.