3.1: Academic Records Privacy of Student Information and Consent to Use of Photographic Images


The notations used on official University transcripts for required MD program courses are pass (+), incomplete (I), continuing (N), exempt (EX) and grade not reported (GNR). Students may order transcripts through Axess. Courses taken outside of the MD program will follow grading guidelines applicable to those courses.

Note: Beginning in Clerkship Period 1, 2010-11, all students taking required clerkships will be evaluated using the Criterion Based Evaluation System (CBES) model. From Period 1, 2010-11 to Period 8, 2019-20, students were eligible for a Pass With Distinction (PWD) notation on the Medical School Performance Evaluation (MSPE). The PWD notation applied only to required clerkships; it did not apply to elective clerkships or pre-clerkship courses. PWD notations have not been offered since Period 9, 2019-20 and will not be offered during academic years 2022-23 and 2023-24.

Education Records

The School of Medicine Registrar’s Office establishes a file for each student to collect data and to provide assistance to Advising Deans in counseling and in preparing the Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE). The file contains confidential information, which is available to the following parties with legitimate educational interests without prior permission from the student:

  1. Dean of the School of Medicine, Senior Associate Dean for Medical Student Education, Associate and Assistant Deans for Medical Education, Associate and Assistant Deans for Advising;
  2. Committee on Performance, Professionalism and Promotion, whenever the Committee is reviewing a student’s performance;
  3. Chair of the Clerkship Evaluation Committee
  4. Chair of the Committee on Admissions;
  5. Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate when asked by the Dean of the School of Medicine or the Committee on Performance, Professionalism and Promotion to review a case;
  6. A duly appointed grievance or grievance appeal officer, or a duly appointed ad hoc committee on the Suitability for the Practice of Medicine;
  7. Other university officials on a need-to-know basis;
  8. Staff of the Office of Medical Student Affairs; and
  9. Others as permitted or required by law or by University policy.

Procedures for Inspecting Records and Correcting Inaccuracies or Misleading Information

Students wishing to inspect and review their transcripts and academic files should consult with any of the Advising Deans. If a student believes any information in the file is inaccurate or misleading (other than the evaluation of performance in clerkships), they should consult with the person who provided the information. If the matter remains unresolved, the student should contact any of the Advising Deans. If the matter still cannot be resolved, the student may consult the Associate Dean for Medical Student Life Advising or the University Ombudsperson, or may pursue paths as set forth in the Grievances section of the Stanford Bulletin.

Privacy of Students Records

Notification of rights under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), which affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. The following is quoted from the Stanford Bulletin Privacy web page as a courtesy; the content in the Stanford Bulletin is the official policy and supersedes the text below:

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. They are:

  1. The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days of the date the University receives a request for access.
    Current and former students who wish to make a FERPA-related request to view records should submit an online request to the Office of the University Registrar that identifies the record(s) the student wishes to inspect. Under FERPA, a student is an individual who is or has been in attendance at an educational institution. Applicants do not have FERPA rights unless and until they are admitted and are in attendance at the University. Students are advised to provide complete information in order to assist the University in following up on the request. Please note that only the actual student can submit a FERPA request to review their education records. Federal law requires that the University provide access to requested extant records within 45 days. A Registrar's Office official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records requested are not under the control of the Registrar's Office, the Registrar's Office will make arrangements for the relevant office to provide the records within the time frame established under the law.

  2. The right to request the amendment of the student's education records that the student believes are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student's privacy rights under FERPA.

    1. A student may ask the University to amend the record that he or she believes is inaccurate or misleading. The student should write the University official responsible for the record (with a copy to the University Registrar), clearly identify the part of the records he or she wants changed, and specify why it should be changed.

    2. If the University decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the University will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his or her right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment.

    3. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures is provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.

  3. The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
    FERPA contains various exceptions to the general rule that the University should not disclose education records without seeking the prior written consent of the student. The following circumstances are representative of those in which education records (and information drawn from education records) may be disclosed without the student's prior written consent:

    1. Upon request, the University may release Directory Information (see the "Directory Information" section of this policy below).

    2. School officials who have a legitimate educational interest in a student's education record may be permitted to review it. A school official is: a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the University has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student or volunteer serving on an official committee (or representing a recognized student group), such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her responsibility to Stanford or to the student.

    3. The University discloses education records without consent to officials of another school, in which a student seeks or intends to enroll, upon request of officials at that other school.

    4. The University may choose to disclose education records (and information drawn from education records) to either supporting parent(s) or guardian(s) where the student is claimed as a dependent under the Internal Revenue Code.

    5. The University may inform persons including either parent(s) or guardian(s) when disclosure of the information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other persons.

    6. For students under the age of 21, the University may notify either parent(s) or guardian(s) of a violation of any law or policy relating to the use of alcohol or controlled substances.

    7. The University must provide records in response to lawfully issued subpoenas, or as otherwise compelled by legal process.

  4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the University to comply with the requirements of FERPA.

The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is: Student Privacy Policy Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20202-5920. Phone: 1-800-872-5327.

Sharing Information with Parents

Students are encouraged to maintain an ongoing, open dialogue with parents throughout their careers at Stanford about academic progress and personal development. Most student difficulties are resolved at Stanford without involving parents. The University does recognize, however, that there are some exceptional situations where parental involvement may be appropriate to assist a student through a difficult circumstance. Under those circumstances, Stanford may (but is not required to) choose to disclose information to parents if permitted by law.

Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), Stanford is permitted to disclose information drawn from education records to parents if one or more parent claims the student as a dependent for federal tax purposes. Some laws, especially those relating to medical and mental health care, prohibit the disclosure of information without the student's consent, even where the student is a tax dependent.

Directory Information

The University regards the following items of information as "directory information," that is, information that the University may make available to any person upon specific request (and without student consent):

  • Name*
  • Email addresses
  • Specific quarters or semesters of registration at Stanford
  • Stanford degree(s) awarded and date(s)
  • Major(s), minor(s), and field(s)
  • University degree honors
  • Student theses and dissertations
  • Participation in officially recognized sports or activities*
  • Weight and height of members of athletic teams*
  • Institution attended immediately prior to Stanford
  • ID card photographs

For more information, see Stanford's Directory & Privacy Setting web page.

Students may prohibit the release of any of the items listed above (except those with an '*') by designating which items should not be released on the Privacy function of Axess. Students may prohibit the release of all directory information listed above after an appointment with the Office of the University Registrar to discuss the ramifications of this action. Student theses and dissertations can be restricted through the publishing options and embargo settings students select during submission.

Students, faculty, and others with questions regarding student records should contact the Office of the University Registrar.

Consent to Use of Photographic Images

Registration as a student and attendance at or participation in classes and other campus and University activities constitutes an agreement by the student to the University's use and distribution (both now and in the future) of the student's image or voice in photographs, video or audio capture, or electronic reproductions of such classes and other campus and University activities.

If any student in a class where such photographing or recording is to take place does not wish to have his or her image or voice so used, the student should raise the matter in advance with the instructor.

updated August 2023